Thursday 9 July 2015

Forget Black Holes, Bindweed is the real threat to life on Earth

If anybody has any spare water can we please have some in Hampshire. There are a few furrowed brows in this valley over the state of play come the end of September. Of course it hasn't made the media yet, the slightest shower of rain at this time of year causes hyperbolic hysteria on the breakfast show and the lunchtime presenter last week declared that we had experienced a wet winter. When did our empathy towards the four seasons start to dwindle? The advent of the silicon chip or the industrial revolution when we all started working indoors? It's beyond me but it would be refreshing to hear a radio presenter, when faced with a day of rain, put a positive spin on the event and say that it is most welcome in certain corners of England, and at this point I would like to make my biennial appeal for Danny Baker to be given the Breakfast show, since Old Tel shuffled off, Prodnose is the most entertaining broadcaster we have, which is how I like to start the day, not uninformed preaching ( The new Top Gear presenter - and good luck with that) or the oily delivery of Nicholas Andrew Argyll Campbell, the Today Programme just makes me cross, and classical music sends me back to sleep so it's a Danny Baker (and Lynsey) Saturday Show Podcast for me of a morning to put a little bounce in my step,

Who needs the real world, with all its' insane and inhuman horror?

Oh yes, the fishing,

Fishing has been hard work if not infuriating. Fish have been feeding both sub surface and also off the top, water clarity is not what one would expect for the current flow and the river retains a certain tint, however the fish have their eye in and in cricketing terms are seeing it like a football. Only perfectly presented flies on fined down tackle are catching fish, several fish are preoccupied with nymphing but anything splashy or flashy has sent them scuttling, to date only one fish has been taken on a nymph. Several anglers have got stuck on fish that rise regularly giving the impression that the rod is in with a chance, only to go through their fly box having each offering inspected sometimes nudged sometimes nosed, sometimes drowned. Conditions are right for camping on a fish and going through the fly box, but it's the fish's prerogative to decline, which is all too often the case at the moment at which point I'd like to take this opportunity to apologise for our fussy fish. A big fish of four pounds or more was lost on the top shallows, falling for a sedge it ploughed about in some deeper water above a hatch pool before diving through the hatch, forcing the angler to lie prone on the bank with his rod under the bridge playing the fish in the pool below, the leader gave way a foot from the point as he was drawing it to the net, which confirms the trout fishing gods have taken a dim view of proceedings on this stretch of river of late so a sacrifice was made and I went out and shot an Otter.

I didn't, I didn't, just joking, it would be a life in gaol if I had, which wouldn't suit as the only time I ever donned the gloves my team lost nineteen nil to Mouldsworth (yes it's a real place and not a place invented by Charles Dickens), I let in ten in the first half and was switched to my usual duties on the left wing at half time.

Returning to the radio, our breakfast show presenter, today raised the question of whether some rain would be welcome in this corner of England, his pots were drying out and staff were spending an inordinate time bustling about with watering cans. His mind was set at ease by a call from our man at Command Centre Central who assured our presenter that groundwater levels are absolutely fine in the south east of England.

That may be the case in some areas, but in others they are not. Now I'm no conspiracy theorist,

Sorry, let me rephrase that,

I am fast becoming a conspiracy theorist,

But with the race to Frack once more underway, any light shone on a diminishing resource that Freddie The Fracker would like to use could cause complications.

Oh yes I almost forgot, the Government's secret Shale gas rural impacts paper has been published after a request to the Information Commissioner. (Thanks Mr Mole) The author/authors names have been redacted, but it makes interesting reading. One bit jumps out under the heading of "Likely Significant effects of Shale gas drilling for the UK"

"The potential impacts are on water resource availability,aquatic habitats and ecosystems and water quality"

If you would like to read the report for yourself, you can do so at

Removing my cap of conspiracy to don my footwear of fact. The river is very low, springs that should have broken last winter didn't, the river that Otis and I ford every day, often with great care because wellingtons are only so tall we can currently do in muck boots. The outfield of our local cricket pitch has turned brown and crispy and a hole in the ground that I can look down to shine a light on the groundwater, reveals a water level a very long way down indeed
Has the "normal" range been reassessed and over what period of time is the "normal" range now calculated? While we are on what is now considered to be "normal" this stretch of the Dever still froths with foam and the water continues to retain a faint milky hue. Nobody seems too worried about it, which may be the first few steps of these conditions now being considered the "norm"

Chronic decline of the chalk streams anyone?

I have just finished cutting the weed over on the short stretch of the Itchen that I fall in and out of, and there is no foam over there, and the water is clear for a river of its size. Mid-summer fishing is similar to the Dever with one fish in this month worth four in May and squadrons of swallows, swifts and martins betray some healthy hatches of fly.

I drift along the oceans,
Dead Lifeboats in the sun
and come undone
Pleasantly caving in
I come undone,

QOTSA - 2002

Last week I climbed back into bed with Lucifer.

Child A and Child B are back and broadband has once again become an issue for this house.

Understandably their spell of urbanity has inferred an acceptance that broadband works properly and many things are possible over the ether in town than is the case in this rural spot.They have much to do on the internet regarding their studies, and Madam and myself seem to run an increasing part of our life through the broadband connection.

It seems difficult to function without broadband.

There are substantial parts of the third world that enjoy a better service than we do at home through the poles and lines that form the ancient telegraphic spur that serves these four houses.

As a result we are forced to rely on mobile internet for our house supply, which Madam and myself can just about get by on, and is a reasonable price at £15 a month, but watching any moving pictures or Skype are the stuff of dreams. Once we exceed our mobile limit for the month, swingeing financial penalties are applied. The cost of the first month of four people using this 3G mobile supply ran into three figures - which we fully understand and completely agree with Mr Mobile broadband provider.

So this month we have had to reconnect to Britain's leading telecommunications provider whose poles and lines deliver half a MB supply, albeit for a third of the price of the mobile provider.

It was half a MB when we cut our ties with the company five or more years ago, and today's devices suck up a lot more bytes than they used to. After a five year battle, over the quality of the broadband to these four houses (the remainder of the surrounding houses connect to a different exchange that provides an excellent broadband service) that resulted in a stress related eye condition and a lengthy exchange of personal emails with the CEO's office over the matter, I vowed never to ride their line again.

But with the only alternative to pay a hundred pound a month to a mobile company, and no other internet provider willing to offer a contract on such a weak signal, we have no choice but to return to our nemesis.

Hence this rather tetchy post.

The forty minute phone call to reconnect wasn't the greatest start to our rekindled relationship, and we were required to sever our telephone calls contract with the provider whose service had been both adequate and cheap.The experience of returning to this company may trim several years from my life, and the vein on my temple has already begun to pulse ominously at the recollection of the company replacing thirty two poles and a mile and a bit of line by way of maintenance, rather than connect to a pole in a neighbouring garden fifty yards away that links to a different exchange that provides an excellent broadband connection.

I dread twelve months of dealing with BT Broadband and it may prove to be the tipping point that finally sees me enter the cave, bearded, clad in a loin cloth shaking my fist angrily at the outside world. In order to make preparation for that day I have now buried my razor and ceased shaving, donning the loin cloth will serve as the rubicon.

Apologies for the downbeat tone of this post, but there do seem to have been a lot of things to shake a head at of late, Oh yes and rather hot too (did I mention the lack of water) normal service will be resumed as soon as it starts raining in this valley.

Matters I meant to attend to before the EA and BT got in the way:

1: Greece
2: The Budget - George O "I want people to be richer" Avarice anyone? how about kinder, or more human?
3: Inhuman and barbaric behavior in North Africa
4: Winning ways with scallops on the barbecue.
5: Forget Black holes and Colliding particles, Bindweed is the real threat to life on earth.

At least the cricket started well, and Andy's made a semi, married life seems to suit him, I reckon he'll be a Dad within the year.

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