Saturday 8 October 2016

Marvin Gaye and the Stuff of the Duce

Morning everyone,

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

We've bought some replacements (chooks not foxes), eight five week old hybrids in a partridge pen by the woodshed with a security light and a security door on the hen house. I like keeping chooks, and one day we'll end up living somewhere where it will not be possible to keep them so I'm making the most of the opportunity now. I find them very soothing, there's something very satisfying about keeping a fit fat hen who gives the gift of an egg most days, but we are a few months away from any ouefs emerging from this bunch of raw recruits.

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.

We have enough wood stacked up for the next few winters but extra ash is always welcome, although I don't know how much ash will be going into wood burners in twenty years time because this "die-back" disease has got a grip very quickly in this part of the valley.

And so to the parley with the big noises from command centre central.

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?

here's part of the letter from Dr Fishery Strategist for the South East after his visit:

"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.

Fracking now, and here we are with an economy to stimulate and an increased requirement for energy. Every effort will be made to push applications through.

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.

Nationalist politicians having a punch up in parliament, the newspaper headline "BUSINESSES REQUIRED TO LIST FOREIGN EMPLOYEES" and a school sending out letters asking for confirmation of each child's birthplace and nationality.

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.

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