All put in an appearance in the valley this week.
Although the Derek Nimmo bit proved to be a falsehood as a lunchtime google confirmed that he is no longer with us, it must have been a Derek Nimmo lookalike just passing through. It was a brief highlight of a particularly slow day (The possibility that the parish had been visited by celebrity, not the confirmation of the unfortunate demise of Derek Nimmo) which is just about how we roll around here at the moment.
The miserable Guilgud (after AA Mole) has become even more grumpy following the appearance of his sole heir, and today while strimming I saw him a long way from the river chasing off another male swan through the Christmas trees. With it’s many twists and turns it is a tricky stretch of river for swans to lift off to assume their lumbering flight and I have seen them take off from dry land before. Years ago an old dog of ours managed to grab a mouthful of tail feathers as one slowly gained height across the meadow.
We are still well down on swallows, swifts and martins. They normally turn up in time for an easy meal at mayfly time which is now in full swing. At which point I could ramble off into eight hundred words about the “magic of the mayfly” an angle for feature pieces that is regurgitated ad nauseam with slight tweaks each year in the angling press. I was once asked to write more features on subjects along the lines of “The magic of the mayfly” or “Winning ways with worms” It all seemed a bit Walter Scott to me or possibly Walter Gabriel. Instead I sent in a fifteen hundred word feature piece on how Poldark couldn’t use a scythe properly and would do well to keep his shirt on during the sharpening process due to potential hazards, which was duly published and drew mixed reviews.
Five times up and down and I guessed the grass box must be nearly full. The collection part of the machine was removed and a close inspection revealed that it was completely empty.
I had just been pushing the dead mower up and down.
I don’t know what the Val-deri Val-dera brigade thought, a very quiet mower or possibly a silly old fool,
we don’t know, but the next edition of the rambling guide book may well be amended to “and at this point of the walk you will pass an old Mill house on the river Dever. There has been a mill house on the site for at least a thousand years. The current workings on the sluice by the road were installed in 1842 by a local Andover company. If you look closely at the wall on the end of the house you will see the initials of several of the previous mill owners and the year in which they were in residence. The area around the mill is rich in wildlife and an important example of a rare chalk stream environment. Fed by aquifers and springs that impart their unique character, they have been managed by man for hundreds of years. Occasionally local pagans can be seen outside the Mill in late spring muttering in tongues while wheeling small machines up and down in an attempt to appease the goddess of the springs. Pagans believe that this process delivers a soothing massage to the goddess of the springs who will reciprocate with a bounty of water throughout the summer.”
Well that’s what I told them when they came past again ten minutes later.