Saturday, 23 January 2010

Ye Oldee Sock Darning Tips D'Hubert

Seekst thou a yarn for to fix your sorry, ravelled socks? Old Hubert says forgeteth not the ball of wool that thou - with a mind for to bind red tails for pike and perch lures - did purchase at a car boot sale yonks hence. For verily, sayeth Hubert, verily it doth work right well: one's cloth├Ęd heels full snugly praise y'r industry when wrapped therein.

Monday, 18 January 2010

Hubert considers Deep Ecology (1)

I recently spent a few confused minutes trying to read a document which referred to itself as a Deep Ecology Platform. I say 'confused' because:

a) I'm personally a rather confused individual and;

b) The document confuses the hell out of the already confused individual it's my calling to try to be.

Why? Well, one of the things it does that I find a bit confusing is to take it as read that positions that it understands to exist outside of what it calls 'the human world', i.e., the 'non human world', these positions can be spoken for, called upon and referenced - despite their absolute and admitted 'otherness' - as being perfectly understandable to us human being kinda thingies.

For instance, it says, without so much as a blink or a question mark or any suggestive hint of the possible problems that saying such a thing might involve, "human interference with the nonhuman world is excessive, and the situation is rapidly worsening."

Well, blimy! How can you know this unless you've actually got it together to somehow ask the non-human world if this is what it thinks about things? Has the non-human world registered with Twitter and broadcast a series of terse, epigrammatic little pleas for moderation? I'm not that up on Twitter, so, really, how would I know for sure? But I guess I think that it hasn't.

So, yes, here are the first few point of the Deep Ecology Platform and maybe I'll return to this and witter on about it a bit more in the future (oh, or perhaps not. This is a blog after all; consistency is not an issue here!)

1. The well-being and flourishing of human and nonhuman life on Earth have value in themselves (synonyms: inherent worth, intrinsic value, inherent value). These values are independent of the usefulness of the nonhuman world for human purposes.

2. Richness and diversity of life-forms contribute to the realization of these values and are also values in themselves.

3. Humans have no right to reduce this richness and diversity except to satisfy vital needs.

4. Present human interference with the nonhuman world is excessive, and the situation is rapidly worsening.

5. The flourishing of human life and cultures is compatible with a substantial decrease of the human population. The flourishing of nonhuman life requires such a decrease.

For the time being though, here's an image of a rabbit glove puppet that I've put together to illustrate the fun of constructing supposedly independent external references that agree with the position you're trying to argue and - handily - are not and cannot ever be available to disagree with you about doing this. In other words, the ultimate 'We speak on behalf of the Silent Majority' argument.

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Just made the above graphic to encapsulate my enthusiasm for micro-blogging. Feel free to cut, paste and join the movement.

And yes, I went out today and sat in the suddenly snow-free abandoned orchard and waited while late afternoon turned into early evening. I saw rabbits, certainly I did; about fifty yards away they were, which is to say, too far away for me to shoot at.

I also saw a field mouse scampering along a fallen branch in front of me and a buzzard - seemingly without a single flap of its wings - coast right across the field in one great swoop. I watched a robin skip around me, inquisitive; I saw a traffic jam develop, persist and then eventually dissolve on the motorway at the end of the fields - all while I sat and silently stared at a stretch of grass in which exactly nothing stirred.

Saturday, 9 January 2010

Winter Warmers?

Well, O.K, I've got one of these things: a Peacock Hand Warmer. It does do what it's supposed to do: stay warm in your pocket for hours. In fact, sometimes it gets really hot and stays that way: leave it out all night when it's going well - without remembering to take off the little cap that holds the wad of catalytic fibres over the lighter-fuel reservoir - and it will, like as not, burn a hole in the natty tartan drawstring bag it comes in. It works.

Thing is though, if you take it out of your pocket - say by the side of a steaming river at dusk in November or in a snow-covered, wind-blown field - and use it for any length of time to try and coax some feeling back into your frozen, insensible fingers - then it cools down pretty damn quick. It keeps your pocket toasty as hell - and I'm not knocking that; having even one warm pocket on a winter's day is a happy thing - as any fule kno - but the times when I've wanted it to bring my cold, wet, frozen fingers back to life, my main memory is wishing the damn thing was warmer. Take it out of your pocket in the cold - it goes cold.

I've never tried those burning charcoal stick hand-warmer thingies you can get - does anyone out there know if they're better than these Peacock jobbies?

I suppose that there's a question to be asked about their respective carbon footprints? Well, I haven't got a clue about the answer to that question. Any ideas?

Were Tuvalu not in danger of being submerged I suppose the ideal cold weather hunting outfit might be something like a white Ghille suit plus a patio space heater. Very cosy. One or two questions regarding mobility do rather raise themselves, mind.


Thursday, 7 January 2010

Number One in Twenty-Ten

Since freezing my bum off yesterday had so sharply underlined for me the hazards of sitting motionless for hours in the midwinter snow I made an effort, today, to get to my favourite spot within a half hour of when I figured that dusk would start to fall. There's very little point showing up much before this in Winter I gather; if it's nearly too dark to see anything at all then it's just about the time that rabbits will venture outside.

Happily, the brief interval between 'I can clearly see that there are no rabbits' and 'I can't see a damn thing' yielded me the first bag of 2010.

Joy! I was - as they say - well chuffed.

My thanks again to Fred for the scope he was kind enough to bung me in the mail when my foolishness trashed the Hawke. Idiosyncratic the Rhino may be, but it's hugely more effective in low-light than iron sights and my old myopic peepers!

Using the only Rabbit Stew Approved Recipe ('use what's in the cupboard'), I stewed the meat in a stock made from the butchered carcass (which I later removed) added rosemary, thyme and parsley, a spot of Agave nectar that was lying around to sweeten slightly, some dried Shiitake mushrooms that Santa brought me, plus carrots, cabbage, broccoli and rice.

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Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Remembering the Air

After several months of lethargy I finally quit smoking a couple of days ago. Today, to my surprise, I discovered a keen wish to go out in the fields - so out I went (at about 2.00pm).

I zero'd for about half an hour and then thought, 'Well, it's a wee bit chilly, but maybe I'll just stay out - since it's such a nice day - and wait around till dusk, at about four-ish, when the rabbits come out?'

So I did just that: I sat around, looked up into the sparkling, leafless trees, took pictures of the landscapes around me, sipped coffee from a tiny flask and squeezed my little lighter-fuel-powered hand-warmer in order to try and keep my fingers from freezing.

Then I walked across the snowy, rabbit-track-covered field... the orchard...

...where I sat on a log while I peered out at a motionless, snow-crowned hedgerow. Half-a-dozen little grey wagtails dipped and flitted along it towards me. A flash of red above me - a woodpecker? Black, white and red? I must look that up when I get home, I thought.

All very pleasant and interesting; but I got colder and colder.

A pigeon landed above my head; I tried to raise the rifle silently and slowly - but it saw me and clattered off into the frosty sky.

More time passed by; the coffee ran out, my hand warmer went out and it was still nowhere near to going dark. I was beginning to think that, willing as the spirit was, my poor shivering flesh might well petrify before dusk.

A while longer and I though, 'actually, I'm so cold that I'm starting to not even feel cold any more'. Spooked by this, I creaked to my feet and started for home.

Walking back, my hands began to hurt so much that I was emitting misty blue clouds of earnest cursing as I padded across the fields; it was certainly the coldest I've ever managed to get when out hunting - but, swearing aside, I enjoyed it: it was a great relief to be out in the air again after months of fags and fug.