Monday, May 7, 2012

Family, Flood, Fire, Farming and Furry Fings in Frome

Having neglected the blog for a few weeks it’s time to do something, so here’s a medley of bits about Frome.

I arrived from Brighton last weekend to find the roads from the south closed due to flooding at the Bridge on the River Frome

The flood threatened the Bath Theatrical Costumiers warehouse (just out of shot to the right), but I believe the water stopped just below the hem line and no damage was done to the stock. 

The river had claimed the crossroads closing it to vehicles. Pedestrians, however, were perfectly free to use the footpath.

But some drivers cannot resist a challenge. While taking the picture above, a Land Rover came through the junction creating a wash that would do credit to a speedboat. He was going so fast that I missed getting a picture of him as I was too busy trying to get out of the way. He damn near drowned me, well, a bit of an overstatement but  it was only my trousers that stopped the water going over the top of my boots and leaving me with soggy socks - and that’s just not right. 

Fortunately the police were there to reinforce the 'Road Closed' message...

...and a few minutes later I enjoyed a moment of schadenfreude when the lady policeman woman told me that she had given him a ticket. I said “Bloody right… I mean good work officer.”  She could not possibly comment.

Later I found that another driver had taken advantage of the new lake.

 [Credit This is Somerset / Standard]

I'm not sure if jet skis are covered by the Road Traffic Act.

Back at The Retreat, just downstream (or is it upstream?), the river had totally ignored the bridge leading to The Mill and just gone by road instead.


To the right of this picture is a strip of land running along the riverbank that Magnus (No. 2 nephew) and the family rent. He and some neighbours keep chickens, ducks and bees. That weekend they were due to add some sheep to the menagerie. He has done this before (yummy!) and had re-installed the old electric fence around the paddock.

By and by, the sheep trailer arrived and was reversed to the paddock gate watched by half a dozen adults and a similar number of children. The general lack of tranquillity created by this audience had spooked the sheep and they bolted out of the trailer, straight across the paddock and through the electric fence as if it wasn’t there and before a single volt or amp could be mustered to dissuade them. 


After some rethinking a new five bar electric fence was installed. This, too, was a failure as they turned out to have more in common with mountain goats that the docile wool factories of popular imagination. 

On my next visit Magnus and Dan were re-enacting 'the enclosures' and had erected 50 metres of what felt like high-tensile steel sheep fencing in a rather tasteful shade of green. It stretches from the railway fence to the river. We are now waiting to see how well the sheep can swim.

Talking of things agricultural, Tristan (No. 1 nephew) had collected an old beaten up cattle trough to use as a planter. I foolishly volunteered to help him  lift it off the roof of the car. It weighed considerably more than I was expecting, but we got it to its final resting place and beat it roughly back into shape with a 4-pound lump hammer.


This is Tristan cutting out an unwanted bit and trying to set fire to his fledgling beech hedge with the aid of an angle grinder, or, according to Artie, ankle grinder.

Meanwhile, back at the paddock, Mag had gained a trio of piglets.

(When are you going to start your new website 'Cute - and tasty too'? – Ed
As soon as Herb starts his road kill cooking site 'squashy-zoo'. - RPJ.)

Back in Tristan’s garden I noticed a case of arse-covering safety advice which sort of takes the fun out of trampoline-related time-wasting.

The WARNING says 'do not do somersaults (flips)'  Hah! some chance, it's the first thing most people try on a trampoline. In fact the Argos TV ad featuring a family of aliens buying stuff for summer shows an alien kid doing flips, maybe I should write to the Advertsing Standards Authority and complain... but I digress.. The WARNING goes on to add that 'Paralysis, death or serious injury can result even if you land in the middle of the trampoline'.  If they are that dangerous why make the damn things in the first place?

This is the offending recreational death machine.

The WARNING also says 'Not suitable for children under 36 months. Choking Hazard'. The mind boggles. Even a rapacious 36 month old whould have trouble ingesting it. And even if they could swallow it, it would just come straight up again. (Oh for God’s sake! Can’t you take anything seriously? – Ed.)

Dylan, (No.3 nephew) is busy building a new extension. This is him and Martin doing some roofing. 

When he stopped for tea I asked who the bloke was helping Martin. That’s my son, your great-nephew, Finley. “Bloody hell” reposted I, ”he’s grown up some since I saw last him, and that was only three months ago.” Dylan sighed and said, “Yes - it’s strange having another man in the house…”

To round off a busy week Magnus knocked down a great chunk of his house. 

Magnus and the fated wall.
In an attempt to balance the forces that create and destroy, Dylan exchanged his builders outfit for a demolition suit and the two of them made, then removed, several tons of rubble. Then they tidied up and replaced the boards.No doubt the new ceiling was in place and the walls re-plastered before bedtime.

If that was me we would have been walking around a gaping hole in the floor for weeks – but it would have had a very elegant hazard tape barrier around it.

To be continued, probably...

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