Wednesday 31 August 2022

Sally Merison

Sally Merison, my employer and great friend for over thirty years has shuffled off and exited stage left. 

It was a swift demise, and at the end, very peaceful. 

Fading away peacefully on her bed looking out an open window on the Dever valley with the meadow, trees and associated sounds all around with a dog flat out beside her on the bed. 

I think we'd all take that.

An indomitable force until the very last, incredibly kind and full of fun, I and my family will miss her, for there was never a dull day in all of those thirty years. I wouldn’t have missed it for anything and feel very fortunate to have been in her employ for most of my working life. 

And now it becomes hard because there are so many memories and a fund of tales to be told. 

Which I may relate at a later date as currently things are a little “raw”

Funeral confirmed for 2.30pm Friday 9th September at Barton Stacey Church with a hooley back at Bransbury Mill to follow – all welcome. 

If anything changes, I’ll chuck the details up here. 

“Fin” for guff for a while, as there is much to be done and like I said things are a little raw, but I will be “back, back, back” at some point and in some form as Sally was a tremendous supporter of my written guff, which always meant a lot as she could bounce a word herself.

Bransbury Mill and this stretch of the Dever will never be quite the same again.

The Dever down to its' bare bones

Back home for a weed cut on the Dever that is down to it’s bare bones. 

This is my thirty first season on this stretch of the Dever and I have never known it so low. 

The signs were there back in March following a dry winter. It seems at this point the default position of the weasels charged with supplying water to the increasing population in this corner of Old Albion, is to cross lots of fingers, hope it rains soon and nobody notice the impact on precious aquatic environments or profits divvied out. 

It’s management of a groundwater resource based on pre 1950 models when “Madam Water Cycle” behaved in a different way, those who deny the climate is changing need tapping hard on the head with a large hammer and issued with a badge labelled dimbulb.

In this crowded corner of the UK we have to change the way we use our groundwater resource. On the introduction of a hosepipe ban in this region at the beginning of the month a vox pop piece on the subject by local TV news featured the cream of town Society aggressively proclaiming that they had a “F@£$ing right to wash her car” and a weasel from the local water company stating that currently there was plenty of groundwater for all. 

Which caused me to return to my habit of throwing shoes at the television. 

And at this point I could go on and get cross, and remind all present that the aquifers in this area have been classified as at the maximum level of abstraction if the aquatic environment is not to be impacted upon. 

A chalk river aquatic environment that is incredibly rare on planet earth and one that Old Albion has been charged with hosting just shy of eighty percent of the world's resource. 

Once again, if any other country, third world or no, behaved in a similar way towards such a rare habitat we would be very quick to condemn them as corrupt.


and also once again, we are increasingly led by loons.

Tuesday 30 August 2022

And then we went to Ischia

Four days later, following an intensive clean up operation post wedding, Madam and myself bummed off to Ischia for a week, staying in an apartment in Sant Angelo where we did little else but eat, drink, read, swim and stare at the sea trying to comprehend what just happened in the past 6 months/2 years/ 7years. 

It’s an interesting island much favoured by much of Naples town society, which is only an hour away by ferry and the beaches can be a bit rammed, but it was just what we needed all the same.

Didn’t do much gadding about while we were there but we did experience some of the most spectacular thunderstorms we have ever found ourselves caught up in.

Thanks as ever to those who held the fort while we were away.

Child A's wedding

I was going to begin this chunk of guff with no little pep, vim vigor and a proclamation that we are Back! Back! Back! 

But a lot has happened in the past two months, 

So if we're all agreed I’ll proceed with separate chunks of guff in chronological order.

We did a wedding. 

After months of fretting, anxiety and no little hard work, Child A (Maisie) married Callum Aris in Kingsclere Church before repairing to the riverbank at Bransbury for a bit of a hooley. 

Despite underlying anxiety during the preceding six months regarding preparations. Everything went to plan, and for the final forty eight hours we always seemed to be half an hour ahead of where we needed to be (there were many spread sheets, Maisie likes a spread sheet) 

and with Madam and Maisie in Kingsclere with bridesmaids various William and I kicked back with a beer before departure confident that all was “good to go” for our return from the church, 

only for the wind to pick up and blow four vases of flowers and accompanying water across neatly prepared tables with high end linen. 

Emboldened by beer we didn’t panic, 

instead opting to employ six rolls of kitchen towel, while crossing fingers and walking away to undertake Father of the Bride and Head Usher duties. 

Luckily Richard (dizzy pig master extraordinaire and caterer for the day) and his team did some extra dabbing as William and myself high footed it up to Kingsclere. 

I met Maisie and Madam at The Bel and Dragon on Kingsclere High St, where they had stayed the night before, and proudly walked my beautiful daughter up the High St and then on up the aisle for an appointment with her beau and the vicar. 

Service passed without real incident, other than a marriage,

before we all headed back to Bransbury for a reception by the river.

More people turned up in the evening 

and music of some sort of genre was played loudly late into the evening The whole day was a tremendous success and far better than we ever could have imagined. The sun shone throughout, the vicar did jokes, the pig spun sublimely, the corks popped continually, the drummer hit the right beat and none of my bridges fell down under intense use or heavy traffic. 

It really was a memorable day enjoyed by all who attended. Madam and myself couldn’t be more proud or pleased for our daughter and new son in law and also our son for having a go at ushering.

Thank you to everyone who did so much to make the day such a success.