Monday, 17 October 2016
Can we all agree that this kind of thing has had its day and sign up to a campaign for more virtual hedges (sorry Packham and Oddie et al) donations can be made at www.justgiving/hedgesareoldhatfencesarethefuture.
For those who have visited here, the hedge that borders the gravel yard is over twenty feet wide at the top and you'll be aware of how long my arms are and how far my chest has slipped, so forgive my ire, as for eleven and a half months of the year hedges are good things.
Apparently Ed Balls is a real person, and not a training ground routine favoured by some of the neanderthals who populate a game that is now only occasionally beautiful.
I don't think this is what I pay my licence fee for, but Rupert uses my sky subscription to further his many cases with politicos so we are where we are,
which I seem to find myself saying with increasing regularity these days, and if presented with an opportunity to pick up this river along with family and friends and retreat to an island and pull up a drawbridge, I'd take it like a shot, as the pattern of voting on the BBC's flagship hoofathon and the tone of the jungle drums worldwide point to poisonous times ahead.
Anyway, Ed Balls: hubristic hopeless hoofer who many in the media and particularly at the BBC, seem keen to promote.
I shall attend to Chairman May in the weeks to come, but in the interim if anyone wants to start a political party on the basis of let's be sensible, all get along, look up not down and have a bit of fun, then I'm in.
Sandi Toksvig's got some good ideas, why can't she have a go?
I was presented with a cagoule and knapsack and a withering look and detailed to source a compass, gators and buff up on my valderi, valdera as we were about to go hardcore with regard to all things left foot, right foot.
Now I'll confess that in my youth, I was quite the walker.
Mostly through scouts and the Cheshire Hike, a two day county competition for teams of two carrying 25kg each over thirty odd miles that my mate and I somehow managed to win at the age of fourteen.
A group of us, madam included, once pushed a supermarket trolley from the north west to marble arch to raise money for Save the Children and if I rocked up at a student party and didn't approve of proceedings I'd think nothing of walking up to ten miles home in the early hours. Yes I was quite the walker, and feel justified in stating that I've ticked that box. Not that I'd want to give up walking altogether, just unnecessary walking,
but what Madam was suggesting was recreational.
Golf without the sticks, fishing without the rods, football without a ball,
madness had surely taken hold.
Anyway the case was made that accompanying Madam on her meanderings coupled with the sustained consumption of red wine, dark chocolate and bifidus digistibum meant that those misspelt invitations to our hundredth wedding anniversary party (should have been tenth) may come in handy one day if we walked far enough. Exercise is important at our time of life apparently.
We caught the train back, which was free.
We tried to buy a ticket but there was no obvious machine and no guard on the train. We spoke to the driver and he implored us to "just get on" which seemed a little free and easy. We have subsequently made the retrospective purchase of two tickets as neither of us could sleep that night which we attributed to guilt rather than aching limbs and sore feet.
Today we have purchased proper walking shoes, and next weekend we march on Nepal,
Or possibly another section of level canal
I'm quite happy to emerge from hiking retirement but on condition that we exchange the dried food, survival bags and compass work. for regular stops, light conversation and fine fare (not you George Cowley) at the close.
Lawks, I'm a rambler
However did it come to this?
That's The Fleet Hotel Folks www.fleethoteltemplebar.com
If any other establishments out there would like to exchange a complimentary room for a series of peppy reviews and the odd mention on here, don't be a stranger.
Saturday, 8 October 2016
Yes morning, and an early one at that.
Was woken by a text at 5.00am from someone called the Taxman informing me that I had overpaid by£198,25 in 2015 and could I click on the link to provide bank account details and reclaim my booty.
I didn't, as a quick check of the number revealed that it was someone from Russia, possibly the lady who sent me one of my very first emails in the heady days of Compuserve and our excellent dial up internet connection, and proposed marriage and could she have my home address in order to come and talk about table decorations, wedding lists and where her relatives would be staying. My betrothed appears to have been in touch most weeks since with all manner of proposals and repeated requests for bank account details and photographs diverted off to my junk mail.
I'd turn the phone off, but both of our near neighbours are ladies who live alone and may need assistance at some point in the night so I may have to change my mobile number if Babushka persists with her early morning messages.
Anyway, I'm up now and I can hear a fox barking outside, probably the same b~#%$3 thing that killed all of our hybrid chickens and Khaki Campbell ducks one night last week, only took one away but killed the rest for fun.
I'm on your case Toby
Up the river the opening skirmishes of Autumn are already underway. Much of the weed in the water is on the wane but there is noticeably less blanket weed than one would expect in low water which suggest that the quality of what water is flowing down the Dever is of a better quality and carries less nutrients than twelve months ago.
Trout fishing closed this week.
An OK season with numbers up on the last, which was the hardest I have experienced during my time here. Hatches of fly have been a little disappointing during the second half although the mayfly continues to be spectacular each year. The final week saw fish a little more active as they prepare to spawn and on the final day a brace of chunky lumps around the three pound mark were put on the bank. Our first fishermen targeting the grayling arrive next week. The grayling have been reasonably active and several have been caught off the top in recent weeks by trout fishermen.
Once again there is a lot of chainsaw work to attend to this winter both on and away from the river, plus another bridge that needs replacing
and we may have to attend to some of the big ash trees that have looked very ill all summer, there are a couple in particular that could be dangerous if allowed to lose limbs next summer.
And there's a tale to rival that of King Caractacus that culminated in our meeting which I think is best not recorded here, feel free to enquire directly but be warned, the reply may be lengthy and a little fruity with regard to language.
Anyway the Senior adviser on fishery strategy for the South East and a member of the regional team arrived to discuss our concerns over the reduced number of sexually mature brown trout (and other species) in the river.
And so a fun two hours passed, both sides giving of their best,
C de Cani HND, Hants FA Groundsman of the year 2011 v the two Dr's of Fish and their environs.
and hey all you brim full of internet enlightenment having wallowed in some such website or forum who like to send anonymous emails calling me out as a fishery management dinosaur or wrecker of the aquatic habitat, how's this for a review?
"I was very impressed with the way you manage the river, trees and marginal vegetation with both angler and fish in mind"
We have approval for a small broodstock scheme, the details of which will be finalised in the coming months, and will hopefully help restore numbers of fish in the river to the levels experienced five years ago.
Thank you Dr Perri and Dr Kerry for coming out to have a look, listen to our case and for offering advice. A refreshing change in tone from the supercilious one that prevailed five to ten years ago, feel free to pop back any time.
We have two sites in this river's catchment owned by a fracking company and an official designation as a low risk area ???????????
If in a few years time my county council choose to oppose a proposal to frack in this valley and it is subsequently overruled by parliament (how does that sit with the push for devolved power to the regions?), I shall draw inspiration from 1605 and while it may be difficult to roll barrels full of gunpowder across parliament square and down a conveniently open cellar door, I shall certainly fire some rockets in their direction or at the very least throw a few stones at the windows.
It's the stuff of Il Duce,
Only it isn't because these were all events that took place last week.
and at this point I'll assume the guise of Marvin Gaye,
What's going on?
Come on Tim Peake, we paid for you to go to space to point a few things out to us down here on the mother ship, speak up please.
Oh yes, almost forgot, how's this for a stat?
The crew on Nelson's flagship - Victory, at the battle of Trafalgar was drawn from over twenty nations.