4 January 2009

So, another year dawns.  It's strange how our acknowledgement of the passing seasons and how we reconcile the passage of time take on almost mystical significance at this time of year.  Why should 1 January be any different to 31 December and why should the passing events of 2009 be any better than those of 2008.  There is no logic to this, but as a story telling chimpanzee rather than 'intelligent man' we weave mysteries and superstition into a cloak of optimistic belief.

I suppose that this optimism keeps us going at difficult times and I sure have had one of those this past few weeks.  Just before Christmas Mrs F fell badly dislocating her shoulder and fracturing her upper arm.  Despite getting the shoulder set the pain was so intense by Christmas day that I had to get her back into hospital. So for the first time ever I spent Christmas Day alone with a turkey.  Fortunately Sheila is now recovering slowly so hence I have time to do this blog.

It's been bitterly cold this past couple of weeks and the Tarn is frozen to a depth of a few inches, a fairly rare occurrence in recent years.  The river is bare bones with frozen margins.  All the ground water is locked up in icy fields.  My back porch got so cold on New Years day that the supply to the back loo froze and the pipe burst just adding to all the recent fun and excitement.

There has been a flurry of publicity recently about Neil H's crayfish breeding programme with items on the BBC news website and in the Telegraph.  This is all part of a strategy to increase public awareness of the plight of our native crayfish and influence the policymakers to consider a total ban on trading in non native crayfish.  The culmination of this locally will be a conference at Malham in early summer which it's hoped will result in a national crayfish conservation strategy.

The hut refurbishment got put back a bit by Sheila's accident, but my plan is to get cracking this week and make a start on lining out the structure.  Gavin P dropped off the rockwool and membrane last week so that can now be put up and I will get the ply lining delivered during the week so that everything can be ready for the fitting out later in the month.  The objective is to get the project finished by 8 March when we have a working party scheduled prior to the start of the 2009 season on 15 March.

The best thing about this cold weather and a frozen Tarn is that the cormorants can't fish so we should go into the new season with some overwintered fish.


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