Thursday 22 October 2015

Popping Bubbles to a Well-Puffed Panpipe

I completely forgot to mention, but we had a small flurry of Mayflies in the middle of September. Fish wouldn't touch them, and I have seen the odd one in previous Septembers, but there were definitely more this year. It's not that unusual over on the Avon, and I have caught trout in a hatch of mayflies in the third week of September while listening to Europe reclaim the Ryder Cup, which serves as chronological confirmation that it was indeed September.
The first grayling fishermen have turned up, and after remarking on the colour of the water, caught fish, although nothing huge. Olives and sedge continue to hatch throughout the day and it is still possible to take a fish off the top. The Trout show no sign of gearing up for spawning and there are no fish on the shallows, which is just as well as we are inundated with herons.

I was
kindly invited down to the middle river last week for some fishing and food with a bunch of other keepers. I hadn't seen several for quite a while, and there were concerns that the hair on my face was the early onset of radicalisation, would we be Christmasing in Syria and was I now cutting weed in a Salwar Kameez? I explained that I had never grown such a thing before, it happened on holiday, and I had read somewhere that a touch of swarthiness can make a maiden swoon, ( I'm still waiting for this bit so I may need to acquire an eye patch or some other piratical adornment)
It's always tremendous fun with top nosh, beer, fishing and spirited verbal sparring which belies a bunch who often work alone.

I may have made mention of the house next door, which used to be two cottages, one of which was inhabited by an elderly supporter of our cricket club when as a young lad his father passed the day banging out cartwheels, a 1920's Kwikfit if you will. More recently it was occupied by Mary Gunn, who was particularly fond of Child A and Child B in their primary school years and remained a great friend even after she shuffled off to Overton, and then on to Bullington Churchyard.
It is now owned by people in Fulham, Cottagers in name only, and is a Holiday Let, along with many of the sheds, garages and outbuildings. It's an investment and must make money. This week, "the venue" for this is what it has now become and we are told we have farmers markets and opera to look forward to, is hosting a "Boot Camp" exercise programme.

There is a charge of course, the place was purchased to generate income, and to quote Sir Geoffrey,

"good luck with that love" but......

Hang on, we're missing a trick here. We have the bits of a two hundred year old Ash tree to chop and move on the other side of the fence from their "Boot Camp" If we undercut next door by a few guineas and call the axe, log and stacking process "Boot camp" its bookoo bank brother (urban parlance I believe, although perhaps not Fulham).
Market forces I think this kind of thing is called and a sign will be placed by the road presently, reading thus:

Boot Camp Exercise
£5 per session
Free gloves and chopper
no leotards or lycra

Yup, We're going into the Boot Camp Business!

News just in:

A water company in the south with a recently perceived surplus which was duly allocated to new development in other parts of the region has now informed the government that it will not have enough water for said supply.

An Environment agency report has stated that river flows in the region will decline by between fifteen and twenty percent in the next few decades.

A Government statement released a month ago detailed changes to the planning process for shale gas extraction allowing the Secretary of State to personally intervene in cases where a decision may be delayed/not quite the desired outcome.

Chalk rivers are fast plummeting down the list of things we ought to be looking after while we fill the South East of England up.

I don't mean to continue the dark theme to this guff,

Let me put that another way,

More bad news folks.

Cutting weed all week it is apparent just how much muck there is in the Dever this year. A quick shuffle of the feet is all it takes to turn the river to cocoa, and there is far more blanket weed in among the good weed on the shallows than there should be. It's much better on the Itchen where I have also been cutting weed and not causing anywhere near as much colour, and there is also far less blanket weed, and then there was all that foam through the summer and if someone comes at me stating that our rivers have never had it so good a personal tipping point may have been reached.

I'd report it to someone if I could, but who,

Nigel in Sheffield, Miriam in Lowestoft,

Hang on, I did,

The EA, Southern Water, National Pollution Incident line (which doesn't work), Wessex Chalk Streams Trust all were contacted, and then I wrote about it at length in a national magazine as well as getting cross about it on here.

and while we're in such a fine bate, who let Richard Madeley back on the radio?

Poor Judy.

It may be best, if I disappear for a few minutes to undertake a more soothing task such as filling the bird feeders.

But even that is not soothing, as I struggle to come to grips with the mixed messages sent out by various environmental trusts.
Brown Trout "experts" espouse genetic purity, natural selection and only the strong shall survive and eschew the release of fertile farm raised fish, yet our ornithological friends don't mind the release of fertile stock raised through breeding programmes and encourage feeding the birds, allowing some that wouldn't otherwise make it through a harsh winter to go on and breed the following year,.....Nuts-literally.

Sorry, something soothing,

Ah yes bubble wrap, that'll do it.

A few hours in your own company popping bubbles to the accompaniment of a well-puffed panpipe is surprisingly soothing.

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