Muddy Waters

Another piece of filing from my old Moonfruit site from October 2011, so any inconsistencies in terms of weather, tv schedules, current affairs etc will be down to that…

I went to make a cup of tea this morning and on turning the tap there was a strange gurgling sound followed by an outpouring of reeking brown sludge. I phoned the water dirty waterboard and spent a pleasant forty five minutes listening to an instrumental version of ‘The Girl from Ipanema’ (tall and tan and young and lovely…) while the women on the other end of the phone (short and pale and old and ugly, I’m guessing) went off to investigate. After several reiterations of my postcode I was advised that the emergency services had accessed a hydrant somewhere in Kent and this increased pressure had blasted rust into the system, and that they were doing everything they could to rectify the problem. I wasn’t aware that rust smells of poo and provides a suitable habitat for tadpoles and hodmandods, but they do say you learn something new every day…

In the end I made a pot of tea with boiled gin; it tasted okay (v. nice, in fact), but I’m a bit worried, to be honest, about the way Ben was wobbling when he set off for school and how many times he dropped his satchel. With hindsight, I guess I should have suggested he leave the bike at home and walk in this morning, but hey ho.

Anyhoo, the sun is still shining in an unreasonably unseasonal manner, and while that made for a good weekend it’s certainly adding to the confusion of my garden’s flora and fauna. The crocuses, as reported t’other day’ are crocusing again and the frogs are croaking, but to add to that I’ve now got a new batch of blackberries growing in my briar patch (Pleeze don throw me in that thar blackberry bush, Brer Fox), new blossom bursting forth on my bay tree and a pair of very hyper collared doves getting jiggy with it in the branches of the monster crab-apple tree next door.

It was a similar story at the park yesterday, where autumnal golds vied for attention with bulbous berries and budding buddleia, and the riverbank burst with vibrant life where should be mud and miserable looking anglers. The anglers were there, of course, and still looking miserable, but with keepnets and rod rests grounded in dry, packed clay or grassy overgrowth (like undergrowth, only taller) and sporting trainers and flip-flops rather than the usual wellies or waders. Even their maggits seemed livelier than usual, boiling over the sides of their bait boxes like things possessed as they writhed to worship the big yellow ball in the sky. I imagined it, I’m sure, but could swear I heard them yelling ‘yippee’ in little mockney voices, reminiscent of the warring Worms in the highly popular computer game series of the same name, as they were catapulted from maggapults towards the centre of the river, relishing the flight and splash like kids at a water park rather than trembling in anticipation at the prospect of slow agonising death in the maw of some ravenous roach or rudd. Or tench. Or carp. Or barbel. Okay, to be honest, I’m not sure what fish are indigenous to that stretch of the Medway and I don’t, in the context of this blog, give a monkey’s either: roach or rudd is nicely alliterative, and certainly, given the length of the maggitangler’s pole (oooer missus), the former would seem a pretty good guess.

We also saw a rather bewildered looking squirrel that couldn’t seem to make up its mind whether to eat the acorn it was carrying or bury it. He was so indecisive he ended up dropping it in the river. I’m sure there’s a moral there, somewhere, but I’m buggered if I can be bothered to look for it. Seeing him reminded me of that old joke (how do you catch a squirrel? Climb up a tree and act like a nut), which I shared with Ben. Not a titter. Fourteen year old boys, eh? If it ain’t got a fart for a punch-line you might as well save your breath. I was also reminded of some QI facts about Black Squirrels, and the fact that they are doing to the grey what the grey once did to the reds – what goes around comes around, eh? I started to tell Ben all about them, but I saw his eyes glaze over and knew it wasn’t worth the effort. I told him a limerick about a ‘young fellow called Martin’ instead. Well if you can’t beat ‘em…

Arriving home we had a bit of a cooking fest, as I had a large bunch of leeks to use up. Made a very delicious leek and squash soup (Waitrose said it was a ‘Queen’ squash, but to be honest I don’t think they know their Acorn from their Eightball, because I always thought a ‘Queen’ was green but this was more like a round Butternut). Ben asked me to chuck in a chilli, which was a very good suggestion but with hindsight half a chilli would have been plenty. Fine for me and him, but I’ll add some natural yoggit if sharing around.

We also took advantage of the good weather to do that tray bake I mentioned t’other day, with the intention of eating it al fresco up the garden. We failed to factor in, though, that while the days may be warm the nights are still getting here earlier, and as we were eating late it was too dark for outdoor dining in the end.  We used guinea fowl rather than chicken as I had one in the freezer and needed to make some room. I can report that tray bakes work very well with jointed GF, as all the lovely tomato and stuff stops the breasts from drying out. I mean firm breasts is one thing, but nobody wants leathery old dried up things, do they? Talking of leathery old dried up things, hasn’t it been good to see Ulrika and the rest of the Shooting Stars team back on TV? Getting back to the guinea fowl, though, we couldn’t make up our minds whether to go for black eyed beans or black turtle beans, so I ended up soaking some of each and, as yer do, underestimated the swelling factor. Just as well Ben likes fart jokes, eh?

buggerOh well… officially the first day of my OU course today, so I had best get my finger out. First TMA due right in the middle of a half term that’s almost three weeks long thanks to poxy Baker’s days, so I should make like a squirrel and start gathering my literary nuts and nuggets without delay. Let’s hope I don’t procrastinate too much and end up dropping ‘em in the river, eh? See, I told you there would be a moral. Bloody squirrels – think they’re God’s gift, don’t they?


9 thoughts on “Muddy Waters”

    1. Thank you 🙂 Yes, I think every parent comes to recognise it eventually. It is that point in your child’s development when, to paraphrase my old friend Molesworth, they diskard you…

    1. Thank you :). Enjoyed your PoCoLO link on zombie parenting too, but haven’t yet got round to commenting. Too infrequent a tube traveller to have experienced underground-related black snot, but I certainly recognise that ‘slightly soiled’ feeling from my occasional forays into the murky depths…

    1. A very literal – but accurate – interpretation! Okay, so I pose no threat to Aesop, but we all have to start somewhere… Next week: The Hare, the Tortoise and the Hungry Jaguar, in which we learn, from the hare’s perspective, that running like the clappers isn’t always the best strategy.
      Thanks for comment 🙂

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