After a massive hiatus, I have returned for a mid week stomp.
Weather was...pants. Cold (2 degrees Celsius), very, very, very overcast; but no wind. Moor Green Lakes carpark was empty when I arrived at 9:10am.
I could here a work crew, banging away, as I walked south along the footpath separating Moor Green Lakes from Manor farm. It wasn't until I got near the bird feeders in the paddock next to Colebrook hide, that I realised it was on man, in hi-viz orange coveralls, installing a fence. At first, I thought he was putting the fence along by the transformer(?) next to the footbridge. There is no fence along this stretch, and people would cross into Manor farm.
However, on my return leg, I realised that the man was installing new fencing along the stretch from the footbridge all the way north to near the Moor Green Lakes car park, and Lower Sandhurst road. That's a couple hundred of yards or so.
The chap was doing this manually! He was using heavy duty fence posts, some about 8" in diameter!
I suspect that Inert are now entering the phase of establishing Manor farm as a nature reserve. As I walked west, along the Blackwater river, I noticed some areas where existing broken down fencing had been cleared and vegetation flattened.
This could be a reserve by this year folks!
There was no activity to be heard on Chandlers farm or Manor farm. When I reached the Bailey, I saw that its road bed was virtually spotless - for a Bailey bridge, used to taking heavy traffic.
The pump was, however, pumping away. This presages, perhaps, the imminent return of Inert to complete the last stages of Manor farm restoration.
I will attempt more midweek stomps to a certain Inert's return to Manor Farm before restarting weekend visits to record progress.
Yesterday, Saturday, dawned foggy and icy. Roads and pavements quite slippery, with black ice in places. This morning dawned foggy. Not as bad as yesterday, but still not wonderful.
I am not sure if Inert are back on Manor farm. No mid-week site visit as we were in Liverpool. Nothing exciting - emptying a house of 'rubbish'. Came back Friday afternoon - completely exhausted from humping boxes and furniture.
I decided to stay indoors and finish my latest painting.
Sars-Cov2 cases continue to plummet. There's a poke in the eye with a sharp stick for all those so called experts, professors lockdown, lockdown and lockdown. Doom meisters the lot of them. It was pretty obvious from South Africa that the omicron variant wasn't going to amount to anything.
The Bard says it all, really. I hauled myself out of bed, and down to Manor farm, early Sunday morning. I declined to go Saturday due to...yes, you guessed it...rain. Sunday was, soggy underfoot, and very cold. Ice, 3mm thick had formed over puddles, making a nice clinking sound, as I waded through them.
A pretty sun rise, peeked over the trees bordering the Blackwater river, and was reflected in a flat calm Finch pond.
Of Inert and any progress, there was none. This is not to say they haven't been working elsewhere, whether it be Chandlers farm or Fleet Hill farm. Manor farm seems untouched since before Christmas.
Why work has stopped is a mystery - answers on a post card or response to this website. Perhaps the dread isodemic (self-isolation) has laid off most of the Inert staff, perhaps Cemex have run out of money for this year, perhaps plans are being redrawn. Who knows.
Oh, the pump has been off for quite some time. The rain, however, has continued with a vengeance. This in turn has resulted in Cormorant lake south (what is left of it) filling up, while the new Finch pond has burst its banks. Run off from Finch pond can head west, under the Longwater road culvert, to Fleet hill farm. What is left of Cormorant lake south may have capacity to take on further water, but when it bursts its banks I'm not sure where the water will flow. It could, conceivably, flow into Moor Green Lakes and thence the Blackwater. but this will be opposite to where it should be flowing.
The whole of Manor farm was saturated, with plenty of standing water. However, underfoot conditions were surprisingly firm - well, sufficient for me not to sink up to my knees in mud.
On the pandemic front. Case rates continue to fall, even with test rates holding up. Hospitalisation rates are no worse than a bad flu year, while deaths are remarkably low. This should not come as a surprise to most people, except for those like Sturgeon, Drakesford and professors lockdown, lockdown and lockdown. Funny that, only what I've been saying for months, Omicron isn't much to worry about. Other scientists (the ones with their heads screwed on properly) have pointed out that Sars-Cov2 is now less lethal than influenza. Isn't it funny that the lockdown advocates have suddenly gone silent.
The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine have admitted their model was wrong. They shouldn't have set the Sars-Cov2 lethality parameter to that of the delta variant.
The idiots. Didn't they believe the South Africans, when they said the omicron variant was causing mild symptoms, that didn't translate to major hospitalisations and need for ICU.
The problem was, the LSHTM published their results ( 75,000 deaths, indeed), which was then used to panic the government into rushing in restrictions. Then Prof Whitty uses the 75,000 deaths scenario in an attempt to scare the British public; who largely rolled their eyes up and ignored him. Very unprofessional of Prof Whitty.
The prof who has surprised me is Jonathan Van Tam aka JVT aka Sir. JVT. He gave the Royal Institute lectures, this year. He has a huge sense of humour. Lovely to watch him winding up the kids in the audience. It was one of the better lectures of late.
2021 exited on a wet, dreary, soggy though mild note. 2022 didn't so much roar in, as slink in with the same dreary, wet, soggy and mild weather.
Having had a near normal Christmas and New Year (unlike the poor Scots, Welsh and Northern Irish where their political leaders are in the thrall of the lockdown experts), and a year of Pingdemics, it looks like we will have to endure chaos brought about by Isodemic. People having to self isolate for up to seven days should they test positive for Sars Cov 2 i.e. Covid-19. Even though the omicron variant is not much worse than a nasty flu. Bear in mind that admissions to hospital for flu in a normal year is roughly 1000 per day. The UK is still below this figure. Which begs the question - why the need to self isolate, particularly as over 90% of the UK population has been vaccinated?
Against this barmy backdrop, coupled with the usual 'dead' period between Christmas and New Year's day (I always worked this period as the office was so quiet - you could get work done), I decided to forgo a soggy, muddy trudge across Manor farm to see what Inert and co might or might not have been up to.
Progress could be painfully slow, over the next few weeks, if Inert and haulage staff have to self isolate due to catching the Omicron variant of Sars Cov 2. Rainfall is also not showing much signs of easing up - we are still in a La Nina event. Ground conditions are pretty sodden.
One ray of good news to brighten up the doom and gloom: James Web Space Telescope wends its way through its commissioning process. The deployment team is taking its time, not risking anything. They have deployed the comms aerial, momentum shield, sun shield booms and DTA tower. Their team lead has decided to halt deployment to allow scientists and engineers study how the telescope is reacting to space.
Apparently, this is quite normal. However, there is a huge amount riding on JWST, and the deployment team do not want to screw things up by rushing into actions.
A polite notice first: All photographs on this blog are owned by me and subject to copyright.