• Sunday, September 23, 2007

    So what's happening with our animals??? What is Red Gurnard and summer flooding...

    Once again the country is at risk from another serious outbreak of foot and mouth disease. Currently confined to small pockets of the country, that are increasing at a worrying speed, the general line is that it's all in hand and being taken care of. PM Brown is on the case and he's gunning for the cattle and the farmers on this one, or so he wants people to believe anyway.

    But now we have something new. Now the animals are being hit with bluetongue disease, being spread by midges. Bluetongue isn't a new disease for southern Europe and Africa but this is the first time it's emerged in the UK. General feeling is that this is the result of global warming.

    Ever heard of Red Gurnard? No, me neither. Well this little known fish has been happily plodding along secure in the knowledge that its only use to mankind has been to be thrown back when caught by accident, or used as bait. However, thanks to the likes of Rick Stein, it's the new sought after fish by all the trendiest restaurants. It's good news for fishermen on the south coast as the price has rocketed from £0.25p GBP per kilo to £4.00!! And to top that, there's no annoying quotas like there are for other fish. Great news for fish fans, even better news for fishermen, but a real bugger if you happen to be a Red Gurnard.

    During an afternoon of feeding ducks and swans and generally just sightseeing with the daughter I took her into Worcester cathedral. It's been a favourite of mine since childhood, for architectural reasons rather than theological ones, and I've been promising to show her a cathedral in England since we visited Hagia Sofia in Istanbul earlier in the year. It had to be today because she was insisting that it wasn't a cathedral but, in fact, Cinderella's castle. It took a tour of the crypt and twenty minutes watching the voluntary choir before she was convinced.

    Here is a picture I took earlier in the summer when most of the country was freakishly underwater. When we should have been greasing up with sun lotion most were donning waders and bidding for dingies on ebay. This is a Tesco lorry determined to get supplies across the Severn, picture taken about three miles from the Severn so you can imagine what it was like closer.

    So what's happening with our animals??? What is Red Gurnard and summer flooding...

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