Thursday, 25 May 2017
But first an appeal.
We all see them. Sitting silently with pleading eyes in all weathers at the entrance to shops. Shabbily dressed, pleading, desperate for offerings. We all pass them by, quickening our step or averting our gaze. A silent minority whose plight we all seek to ignore.
This bank holiday weekend spare a thought for the AA salesmen, whether outside your local supermarket or in the foyer of the motorway services. Stop when they hail you and show some compassion and feign interest in their plight.
The Big Issue gets all the heat when it comes to rattling a cup at Joe Public but spare a thought for Roadside assistance packages and Free Onward Travel.
AA street salesmen, the forgotten few.
Well that's the appeal box ticked to preserve the charitable status of the house, so on to the fishing.
So fingers crossed for the weather forecast,
News just in from Mr Schaffenacker, dry for a while,
As you were everyone.
On the way home I purchased the necessary gifts for the ever officious security team at the airport that serves as a gateway to the Highlands and Islands (they never send a thank you card, even for the 110ml of shampoo I handed over last year) and returned home.
Where Madam had kindly held the fort and undertaken every dog walk and other associated outdoor tasks in torrents of rain
I was also invited up to the top of the Avon for an afternoon. Always a fun trip there were many mayfly, much weed and I caught fish off the top in a river that was short of water and a little more murky than one would normally expect.
And then we woke one morning to the madness in Manchester.
It's a tremendous city, and one which I frequented many times in my youth, drawn with friends to the fleshpots of Affleck's Palace off Oldham St and its ready supply of ripped 501's and fancy shoes and jackets, yes I was quite the thing once, what with the ear ring positively piratical.
I am the father of a young man aged twenty two and young woman of twenty four who are on the cusp of embarking on the adventure that is the oft complicated but ultimately rich soup of life.
What drives another young person of similar age to plan and commit such an act is beyond my comprehension,
There is evil afoot.
Monday, 15 May 2017
When did " it will be sunny"
"there will be some brightness"?
Why not add "with no little contrast" if we are trying to up the word count.
Anyway, good evening everyone and here's the latest news from this parched part of this once great Isle.
What times we live in,
I remember farmers in Cheshire cultivating slopes in a particular manner in order to prevent losing soil, it may even have been mentioned in O Level geography and I 'm sure other cultures are all over the "hanging on to your top soil on slopes in times of sudden intense rainfall" conundrum.
It's started raining now and while the garden and grass are grateful, public and press attention will turn away from water shortages but the aquifers around here will receive little of the rain that falls. It takes an awful lot of steady rain at this time of the year for aquifer replenishment and much of what has fallen in recent days will not get further than the first few feet of soil. I could still walk up our river banks in six inch stilettos if I so chose without any real fear of sinking a heel.
Last week saw me resume my practice of throwing things at the television. A local news feature on river levels featured a weasel from a water company insist that aquifer levels were not causing concern and that there had been adequate replenishment this winter.
Well for "not causing concern" read "couldn't give two ticks about the river, all we are concerned with is providing domestic supply as cheaply as possible in order to maximise profit"
Weasels! Weasels! Weasels!
I'll now proceed to jab my finger a bit.
I could go on and frequently have but,
Oh sod it, this will have to suffice:
Weasels! Weasels! Weasels!
This kind of thing happened in the summer of seventy six, Ernie Mott, a keeper on the middle river at Leckford took full advantage and famously grew his tomatoes for that year in the middle of beat fourteen, or possibly twelve.
I've a mind to emulate old Ernie, so If you see a Poly tunnel in the middle of the Itchen below Easton bridge, or some growbags in the middle of the Dever in Bransbury you'll know what's afoot, just don't scrump my tomatoes.
Which brings me onto the roach, who like a worm but have currently gone spoony and moon about in shallow water in preparation for spawning. There's a few lumps in evidence but nothing to match the fish I saw spawning three years ago which I put at over three pounds.
Wednesday, 3 May 2017
Hawthorn was early, heavy but brief and as always has served as the flicking of a switch where our brown trout are concerned and many fish now lie up on the fin seeking further surface dainties. Fishing isn't easy, stealth is required not to spook fish in low clearing water, but many fish were caught in the first week including two lumps of three pounds. All fish appear to have over wintered well. We now undertake a two week hiatus before the river erupts with mayfly. Weed remains slow to grow possibly due to a cold river, we've also had a bit of the ugly brown algae that is now a regular occurrence at this time of the year. Lifting from the bottom of the river on a sunny day it breaks up as it passes through broken water adding a murky tint to the river. It is always more prevalent after a dry winter, a wet winter (or what was once considered normal winter) acts as a Grandmother's flannel to a mucky grandchild, providing a good scrub behind the ears and ridding the river of the insidious brown gunk.
Some swallows have turned up, few in number they have yet to nest on the special platforms we erected under the eaves of the new workshop. Kingfishers are nesting a few yards beyond the ash tree on the opposite bank on the top shallows and the mill stream already plays host to millions of minnows over which this pair and the pair nesting near our bottom boundary, will undertake daily dog fights as they both lay claim to the minnows to feed their young.
It is frighteningly low, the cricket ground could take two weeks of constant heavy rain and the puddle in front of the pavilion would fail to form. There are winterbournes and spring ditches across the region that are bone dry and will not now run this year. The signs were there at the turn of the year and I am told that at Command Centre Central there were meetings, but we are now in May and still no warnings about the almost inevitable water shortages this summer. The way we use our groundwater supply in the South East of England is no longer sustainable, pulling it out of the ground and sending it away to sea is a wager with Madam Water Cycle that we are currently losing heavily. More treated water must be returned to the aquifer as close to the point of abstraction as possible to push the odds a little more in the chalk stream's favour.
Only now it doesn't quite work like that.
The Upper Itchen has a slightly higher environmental classification than the Dever. Water is abstracted from the aquifer to maintain a minimum flow down the Candover stream to provide succour to the Upper Itchen in times of low flow. It's an operation that has been undertaken for some years, but recently the Environment Agency has noticed that the Candover stream abstraction has been taking water from the other side of the hill that would otherwise have ended up in the Dever (Feel free to check back through this guff for the number of times that I have stated "this river seems to drop at an increasingly alarming rate during prolonged periods without rain)
The case is currently with the Minister of Environment ( I think, although it may require the Minister of Magic) and the Dever waits to see if it will get back a small proportion of its groundwater supply that for some number of summers has been sent down the Upper Itchen.
We once again managed to turn a six miler into a nine miler as we got lost in Micheldever wood, as all bluebells and beech trees look the same following a good lunch with the map in the bag due to over confidence through wine.
I know my eyes are not what they used to be, but the gauge didn't seem to be there,
which may be an indication as to the direction the Minister of Magic's thumb will point regarding the return of some of the Dever's groundwater.
Private Water Companies eh?
Weasels! Worms! Dimbulbs!