“Sometimes I sits and thinks – Sometimes I just sits…”

It’s been difficult to do much else this last couple of weeks; yes, snow has continued to be a nuisance, though thankfully, for a while at least (notwithstanding a heavy fall overnight two days ago) it seems to have gone away.  No, my problem has been all of my own doing, well me and a little creature called H1N1.  It is always a gamble this time of year for folk like myself who spend most of our time away from the bustling germs of society, inevitably, once we ‘mix’ with the infected urbanites (aka ‘family’) we succumb to whatever is the prevalent ‘designer’ bug of the moment.  My very enjoyable couple of days of Christmas has been paid for, and then some !

In addition, a silly slip on some ice caused a rather painful and subsequently immobilising injury, generally referred to as a ‘slipped disc’ (though whether that is what I have actually done is down to my own assessment – not having been able to move to get to anyone who may have assisted in that diagnosis and rendering a possible cure).  It is almost guaranteed that on every training course I run {on dry stone walling}, or in ‘social’ discussions where what I do is always but always a topic of some amazement (or do I mean amusement !), someone will say “I bet your back suffers” or some such.  Well, actually, NO !, I never have a back problem when working because I’m generally very careful about how and what I lift and move, and secondly I am usually warm and supple.  When I did this I certainly hadn’t ‘warmed up’ and had probably sat too long in a soft chair,  thus a slip and jolt (simply caused by losing my footing on an icy rung) has resulted in my complete inability to move for two weeks.

Yesterday I was actually forced to go out, in a vehicle, to get food and some medicines to combat little viruses which seem to have apparently emanated from Mexican piggies !  I felt much better when I woke (the fact that it was gone midday should have been a warning !) and could actually bend down to put my socks on !  It was good to get out for a while, ‘cabin fever’  was well esconsed on me I can tell you.  I drove over the Eppynt range in bright sunshine and enjoyed various sightings of Red Kites and hawks.  The ranges are of course devoid of explosions and big trucks for a while, so its quite a pleasant drive.  I was amused by one vehicle I passed, it was parked up on a side track, older than me and quite as dilapidated, I thought it a sad reflection on how the financial crisis has affected the Defense budget that they’ve had to bring these back into operation !

A Pig by any other name

This old armoured car is a relic of the immediate post-war period. It is a Humber armoured car, generally known as the 'Pig' and was one of a series of vehicles produced for the army by Humber at the start of the 1950s. Many of these vehicles saw their only 'action' under fire (literally, for 'petrol bombs' were commonly thrown at them) in the troubles in Northern Ireland. This one has re-emerged on the SENTA ranges having been hidden away in some out-of-site live firing area of Eppynt. It actually has a Rolls Royce engine under that huge bonnet. The 'bull-bars' and meshing on the turret are a clear sign that this particular vehicle did see action in Northern Ireland. The big cross bars at the front are fitted to smash through road blocks of burning vehicles and the mesh on the top protects the gunner from stones and bottles - not from petrol bombs however.

I got to Brecon,  did some shopping and had a walk around the town for half an hour or so.  I even felt sufficiently ‘up-lifted’ to ‘phone-a-friend’ whom I hadn’t spoken to for nearly a year ! (and still haven’t !) and then met two friends for coffee.  Suddenly, half way through my coffee and bacon sarnie, my energy just disappeared,  I struggled to get back to the car and driving home was a real effort.  But,  once again, a simple ‘freak of nature’ brought a smile to my face – that and a replenishment of comfort food for my moments of  ‘just sitting’.

Sun setting over the Welsh hills in January

It is one of the benefits of my journey to the shop, I have to cross a bleak open mountain moorland but every now and then a skyline like this makes it worth while. The early January sunset over the Carmarthenshire Fans made my trip to Brecon worth the effort.

Other than that little expedition – for so it turned out – I have not ventured out for over two weeks now.  I had hoped to have returned to the hills of the Black Mountains, near Talgarth, last week following the New Year holiday.  Alas I am in no condition, even if my back was up to it my experience in town demonstrated without a doubt that my flu has not yet gone away and my fitness is heavily depleted.

Now normally I don’t get too worked up about weather or illness, what can you do ?  I have sufficient interests in other things that I can usually amuse myself and benefit either my collection or the state of my house.  This time however I simply could do neither.  So sitting and thinking, or ‘just sitting’ has been the daily norm.  A few years ago, at the height of summer, I snapped my achilles tendon (I can hear you saying ‘ouch’!! – don’t, it was a painless experience), stupidly I refused to ‘believe’ it had actually happened, partly because I knew the consequence and partly because the following week was the Royal Welsh Show where I had a number of commitments in my various guises as Chairman of the Dry Stone Walling Association, Lantra Instructor, Vintage Machinery commentator etc etc, and just because it is the meeting place of the year and there were people I needed to see.

As a consequence, when I eventually got to hospital, nearly 3 weeks later, it was not good news.  In short it resulted in a total leg plaster ‘in full equine’ (that’s with your foot pointed downwards for those of you not into horses !) for six weeks, a below knee for six weeks, a strange plastic boot for six weeks and six weeks of physio.  now the reason I mention this is not for some sympathy, no, merely to demonstrate that I have a certain resilience when it comes to just sitting !

The down time has allowed me to catch up with the current conspiracy theories – I have several friends who constantly update me, though mostly I can only give half an ear as they rabbit on the phone – and this past couple of weeks has thrown up some serious concerns.

Nature calls:

What on earth is going on?  I find the mysterious death of hundreds of birds and fish one of the most scariest events I’ve ever known.  The death of hundreds of red blackbirds and starlings in Louisiana really set alarm bells ringing, it came just days after over three thousand birds literally dropped out of the sky in Arkansas. (I’m not even going to give consideration to the authorities’ suggestion that new year’s eve fireworks were to blame !).  New Zealand and Sweden had similar episodes and then Turtle Doves started dropping dead in Ravenna, Italy; thus far over a thousand dead doves !  Fish too have been dying in their thousands.  There was a suggestion that a known ‘poison’ was responsible in Lousiana though it was also suggested the birds all flew into electricity lines…….  Maybe the oil spill in the Gulf has played some role ? But Sweden (Jackdaws dying). Oh my, conspiracy theories are having a field day !  Don’t be too quick to adopt scepticism is my view…. it is a serious happening, as one Roman official commented “Let’s hope it is poisoning rather than a sign of the end of the World”. Indeed.

So what about ‘Chemtrails’ then ?  Only today my eyes wandered skywards as a jetliner whined (yes, I mean whined) westward toward a troubled United States.  Long white vapour trails (‘contrails’ is the technical term) billowed from its engines filling the blue, clear sky with baby clouds.  Are they really just benign water vapour.  I recall the case of a lake in Canada where NATO Air Forces were allowed to fly at 50ft above the water.  In less than 30 years the fish became hermaphrodite.  That was accepted as being the fault of a cleansing agent added to the fuel to prevent corrosion.  It seems obvious to me that such effluents must be emitted from civil aircraft where costs of operation are constantly monitored.  I also recall some research on the effect of aircraft vapour trails on weather and radiation.  In the aftermath of 9/11 (why have we so readily adopted the silly system of putting the month before the day !) when U.S. skies were void of aircraft for several days, astonishing changes in temperatures were recorded throughout the land.

A silver bird head west to America

Three hundred plus people over my head, and who knows 'what' dumping on me, and my trees !

I don’t go in for the notion of ‘they’ being responsible, not intentionally anyway.  It is surely better, if that is,  ‘they’ are doing it on purpose (have a look at the web texts on Chemtrails or have a read of some of Sherry Shriner’s writing if you have an interest in these matters) that we don’t know ?  Similarly if birds dropping out of the sky is a harbinger of doom, lets not concern ourselves.  As the web page on chemtrails states

“Best not look up !”

Of greater concern to me at the present is the death of hundreds of oak trees (larch and rhododendron too).  Phytophtora ramorum arrived here from the States some ten years or so ago, called ‘Sudden Oak Death’ the disease seemed to prefer the evergreen rhodi and the deciduous Japanese larch, things are changing.  A separate disease, ‘acute oak decline’, has already decimated oak trees here in Wales.  I see dozens of them on my travels, things are going to get worse, warm weather seems to be allowing Sudden Oak Death to begin its terrible ravages here.  The loss of Elm trees to the dreadful Dutch Elm Disease changed, forever, the English landscape.  For Wales to lose its native Sessile Oak would be more disastrous as we have less standard trees, especially in the uplands.  The oak is host to thousands of creatures and its loss will destroy vast eco-systems and, later,  the woodland ecology,  to an extent that we too may be adversely affected.

Oh woe is me !  No matter, my ruler Mercury is apparently moving into my celestial zone of creativity this week.  I’m sure, as we no doubt  all realise,  it will result in adventure and romance ! It also means that a close relationship ‘could’ take an unexpected turn this week (holding breath!) but I am warned against looking for problems where none exist !(Bank statement left un-opened then)  Most importantly ‘a more fulfilling phase lies ahead’ !          So there !

Welshwaller would be happily fulfilled if he could just get back to stone, oh, and maybe an electronic crumb from a scratchy baker at the end of that vapour trail !!

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2 Responses to ““Sometimes I sits and thinks – Sometimes I just sits…””

  1. Hofland Says:

    I don?t even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was great. I don’t know who you are but definitely you’re going to a famous blogger if you aren’t already 😉 Cheers!

    • welshwaller Says:

      Is there a ‘prize’ for being a ‘famous blogger’ ?!! Very flattering, thank you , that’s if you ever find your way back here of course !

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