Back on the river and as the comedy labrador calendar turns over to September, fishing picks up. August has been challenging for those with a rod in their hand. Some have not bothered and hit the beach instead while others have put in hard toil only to have a river full of fish stick two fins up to their offerings. The water did get quite warm during the month which can inhibit the brown trout's appetite and a dearth of fly hasn't helped but fish have been flying out in the past few days to both dry flies and nymphs. Fishing for trout on this river has always picked up towards the end of the summer with numbers of fish caught per hours spent fishing considerably higher than August and often July. August fishing seems to become increasingly challenging with each passing year and with a nod to "The Beautiful Game" it may be time for a mid season break and shift opening day forward a week or two and closing day back a week or two to adapt to changing climate conditions.
While we're on "The Beautiful Game" those who eulogise about more honourable times in the seventies and eighties regarding diving and cheating. There may have been less diving but before slow mo, action replays and a plethora of cameras around the ground it was a far more violent business than it is today. Head butts and punches off the ball were not at all uncommon.
I was kindly invited to fish the Anton this week. It's a pretty beat whose only flaw is that you can't gain access from the bottom of the beat. You enter at the top of the beat and must walk downstream to begin your business and in low clear water fish are inevitably spooked. I always pour myself a cup of coffee and wait twenty minutes for the fish to settle before even flicking a fly. It's a problem I also encountered one year fishing on the Arle. It was a wading beat and quite short. One wade through I'd had a fish in the net but returning to the bottom of the beat to start the second set it was all too apparent that the fish were not quite ready to return serve.
The August weed cut was brief on both the Itchen and the Dever, only the ribbon weed that required a trim. A pair of swans and their single progeny have set about some of the ranunculus and water celery predominates as we have relatively little blanket weed, which is a pleasant surprise as conditions seem perfect for its propagation. Heron seem to have bred well this year as do the little egret and several stab away on the shallows each day. The Kingfisher wars continue albeit it with diminished brutality. The hop harvest looks to be a heavy one and we are already whacking into the apples. Grass has sprung back into life and the senior conker tree that shed a limb bringing electric cables crashing down on our roof a few years ago continues to slowly fall apart. We've an expert tree wallah coming out to take a look at a few chunky specimens some of which border the road and are beyond myself, Lord Ludg and The English. The end of the season seems to be rushing towards us and eyes are turning to prospective winter work. The list is already quite lengthy and stretches are already being undertaken by way of pre winter work training.
This year was the first since 1993 that we didn't make the Lords Test match. We didn't attend in 1993 because Madam was with child and Maisie was about to enter stage left.
I retain the ticket as evidence of sacrifices made.
Anyway, we didn't make it to Lords but we did attend the fourth day of the fourth test at The Ageas Bowl. Madam has been nominated for an award for services to Hampshire League Cricket. Scoring mostly and I'll say this safe in the knowledge that she doesn't visit this house, but she is very good at it. Every weekend during the outdoor season plus midweek 20/20 games, and often twice a week through the winter for the indoor leagues.
Her scorebook is a myriad of coloured dots and squiggles that allows a reader to trace the outcome of any given ball bowled in a match.
Yes Madam has done a lot of scoring and is quite good at it.
Somebody noticed and nominated her for an award and part of the bounty included free tickets to the Test Match.
Fortunately she invited me to accompany her and so it was that we took in a fantastic day at the Ageas Bowl.
We've visited a few times, for various reasons. Matches, weddings, coaching and trials (William, not Madam or me) It had a few foibles and getting into the place on a busy day could be a nightmare.
But no more. The Park and Ride works as it should, and the "in ground" experience while not quite Lords, is much improved and an easy place to spend a day watching a Test match.
It's just a shame they won't be hosting any more Test cricket until after 2025.
With foreign office work finished Jester Johnson has once again taken to chucking up guff in the Telegraph.
It was trumpeted several months ago with the headline "He's Back!"
A few weeks ago he wrote a piece titled "We are the Rotters Who did for The Otters" Sophocles was invoked and pools were described as "tenebrous" and it all bounced along rather well celebrating the revival of The Otter and come on everybody let's give ourselves a pat on the back and well done Jester Johnson for writing such a thoughtful environmental piece.
Yes the pat on the back for the cessation in using the pesticide that was doing for the Otters, but what Jester Johnson failed to mention was the river restoration work instigated countrywide in the last decade to meet the needs of EU habitat directives that afforded our rivers a higher level of protection than our own legislation and have aided the revival of the otter and improvements in aquatic habitats.
Yes the largesse of the EU and yes it doesn't work properly, but, and I'll apologise to all you keyboard warriors in advance who may be upset by this, the habitat directives are quite a good thing.
Several organisations used habitat directives to hold big business and the bottom line to account regarding impact on the aquatic environment. The DT letters page featured several who pointed this fact out to the Telegraph's champion and also expressed concern that future environmental legislation drawn up after leaving EU may not be of equal strength. Which with Cove's of the calibre of Gove drawing up the all new beautiful British habit directives, is surely a given.
I've taken the Daily Telegraph for most of my life, it has a very good sport section and I think a newspaper is an important addition to a breakfast table particularly when children are growing up. It's tone has changed significantly in recent times so I cancelled the subscription. I took the decision on the day of the "He's Back" headline Jester Johnson but we had just taken delivery of a labrador puppy
Moss, remember him?
So I delayed delivering the cancellation request as It has proved tremendously satisfying to use the chunterings of Jester Johnson and the dishonourable member for the Eighteenth century (now there's tenebrous) as an aid in house training our new addition.
Moss is house trained now so I have no further need of The Daily Telegraph particularly their columnists,
apart from Hendo, I'll miss him.
I'm off to the Thunderer, which is OK but Murdoch lurks, which is a worry,
or perhaps I'll stick to Viz as satire is important in times of political turmoil and accept the fact that I have joined a burgeoning number of people who, should an election occur, would look at the list of candidates presented and conclude that none of this lot seems to fit the bill.
Well done, you've reached the same decision as the Boss and I. What's the point, it doesn't make any difference to any thing, they simply self-serve themselves. We don't even watch the news anymore or buy newspapers. In fact it is all the wrong way around they should be selected on what they can do for their community. Anyway enough of politics, your rivers look a picture, delightful, we've just got the green scum in all the best places, hopefully a chill will descend soon and kill it off, or some heavy rain. Keep up the good work. John
Cheers John, and I concur,
I've not said it for a while but we are increasingly led by loons, most of them self serving.
Fingers crossed for a wet winter and thanks for reading the rubbish that I write,
No problem, it must work because the blog makes me laugh and gets me cross about the same things you seem to get cross about. have a great weekend. John
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