Tuna, Trials and Tribulations…

First off, apologies for the lack of blogs recently – I have just returned from ten days in Malta, enjoying good cocktails, good company and some superb fishing for Tuna and Dorado.

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I had some fantastic news when I returned from fishing in Malta – the long debated and refused planning permission had been granted with one or two conditions, so the build of the new stable complex, hay barn, tractor workshop, forge, horse walker and feed barn can go ahead. After all, it is only 6 months behind schedule!

They say things break in threes – and I’m about to start repairing the second one and waiting with baited breath for the third one to materialise!

The first was the trusty Land Rover at 4am on a Saturday morning – chewing up the power steering / alternator / fan belt on my way back from a night shift. Fortunately, in true Land Rover style, it made it the ten miles home with the temperature needle barely moving. Unfortunately I wasn’t staying on the estate, but at my own property, which meant I had no spare parts, no tools and a 25 mile drive to the estate. Instead I opted to call the AA, who turned up promptly, stripped the remains of the chewed up belt out from the engine bay, disappeared off to find a new belt and then returned to fit it. I couldn’t have asked for better service really!

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The second was the 45hp compact tractor (whilst I was away my father was given instructions to top the fields if the grass got too long). It seems that somewhere between topping fields he managed to shear the top-link off the rear of the tractor, bending and shearing the mounting bolts and cork-screwing and then snapping the PTO shaft to the topper and bending the gearbox mounts. Don’t ask me how, although I suspect the grass is probably too long and too thick for the topper in fairness!

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Unfortunately this meant that my plan of finishing off the existing pile of trunks and limbs for firewood with the log splitter was scuppered. After loading bulk bags with what was already split, I tidied the log barn and made a start of carving the stump of the large oak tree I dismantled and felled almost 12 months ago. It will eventually be a bench which should be on the edge of the stable yard and a suitable location to enjoy a cup of coffee after mucking out in the summer!

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I did have a minor incident one afternoon when we lost all water supply to the house and grounds. A little bit of investigation along the drive by the gates with the mini-digger established that the original metal mains water in pipe had ruptured. After turning part of the front paddock into a passable imitation of the Western Front, complete with trenches and mud, a handy plumber friend of mine managed to run a new water pipe in a hastily dug trench and restore order!

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On the river front, not much has changed. There have been a few nice Chub up to 6lb caught, one or two Barbel in the 5lb bracket and one less Mink to contend with after one ended its days in one of the cage traps set down by the Pollarded Willow. The banks are still nice and green and the grass track around the lower fields along the river bank has recovered from the dry summer nicely. The horse rail perimeter was finished whilst I was sunning myself on the boat in Malta!

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It’s getting towards the time of year when work outside is brought to a minimum due to the weather, and I concentrate on any maintenance to see the estate through the winter. So far I have:

  • Repairs to the tractor (see paragraph four),
  • Service and renew some worn parts on the tractor(s),
  • Service, clean and recondition all the chainsaws,
  • Repair the minor hydraulic leak on the flail, service, sharpen and grease it,
  • Service the mini-digger, replace some bushes and repair the minor oil leak,
  • Service the Land Rover,
  • Repair the ride on lawn mower,
  • Repair the interior wall in one of the mower barns,
  • Move the compost heap and spread on one of the areas earmarked for a new rose garden,
  • Finish burning off the old fencing, brash and scrub from the ground clearance in the Weir Pool Paddock,
  • Erect new panel fencing along the footpath across the estate,
  • Demolish the old chicken coop and remove the concrete base in the Weir Pool Paddock.

All the best,

ACC.

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