Maplehurst Ramblings

1) Bonfire Coda. 

Apparently, last year a few small rabbits had made a temporary home in the Nuthurst bonfire prior to it being lit. Sadly they didn't live long enough to see the fireworks. A few of you wrote in to complain about this tragic event. Next year I will personally make sure that any rabbits found will be given a good view of the fireworks. Or have I missed the point here??

2) Foxes prevalent

Since the start of FMD and the suspension of fieldsports (shooting, coursing and hunting) the fox population seems to have increased markedly. The hunting season should have already started, however the "gurus" at Defra, ever keen to do the bidding of His Tonyness have decided to place reams of red tape in the way of hunts in a rather ill targeted attempt to prevent packs of hounds doing what nature intends. Many farmers have complained about increased predation by foxes. Regardless of peoples differing views on field sports (and there have been a few in the forum some time ago) it will be interesting to see the effect that fieldsports have on the fox population in the coming months.

3) Glo engine for model racing car or old small 2 stroke chainsaw engine etc?
On the subject of vermin, I have got a major problem with rats. I don't know where they are coming from but they provide excellent entertainment for my two Jack Russells and the whippet. A few of the little buggers have burrowed deep under the roots of my oak tree and are proving well nigh impossible to dislodge. A friend has advised me that rats detest the odour of oily exhaust fumes.

If anyone has a small 2-stroke engine they are not using I will give it a good home. A small glo engine would be even better (these use Methyl Hydride as a fuel which gives off a totally noxious stench). 

All that needs to be done is to braze some copper tubing on to the end of the exhaust pipe, start the engine and then point the end of the copper tube down the rat hole. Give it a few minutes and out come the rats. Then the dogs move in....

An old chainsaw or lawnmower engine would be ideal - I will pay good money for one!

4) Garden leaves

While on a horticultural theme, does anyone have a good method for picking up fallen leaves from gravel and grass?? I am not having much success. Again, free beer for the best suggestion received.

5) Does anyone use Mcafee?

A few weeks ago someone sent me the Badtrans virus via an e-mail. the mail had no attachment and the virus was hidden somewhere within the mail. Within seconds my PC was nuked and the virus even attacked my Mcafee anti-virus software, rendering it inoperable.

The Badtrans virus is particularly vicious because it records your keystrokes and then waits for the virus writer to hack into your PC (easy when the damn thing doesn't work properly). Once the hack has been achieved, the recorded keystrokes are downloaded and thats when the fun begins.

I had to take my PC down for a few days until I bought new anti-virus software. I chose Norton and bought a combined package of the antivirus software as well as the PC firewall. To date 5 attempts have been made to send me the badtrans virus and several attempts have been made to install "Trojan Horse" software onto my PC. I only know this because Norton has told me all about it, after preventing an attack from occurring.

I don't go online without the software now. Its a bargain at 50. If you want to see it working, feel free to come around and have a look. (see for free software DT)

6) Gardner's question time.
Yet again I missed a flagship events at The Copsale Village hall due to work pressures. I understand the evening was a roaring success - do you have any Photos Dave??? (yes DT)

7) Meteorological phenomena

Early December saw some wonderful meteorological phenomena - a 20 second meteor shower was observed over Brighton and on several clear nights I have seen large rings around the moon. Apparently this heralds cold wet weather, or so I am told. In Nostradamus' day they would have probably burnt a witch for good luck though! We might not get snow for some time yet but the back roads are pretty damn slippy at 5.30 in the morning so take care if you are out there.

8) Organic wine at Sedlescombe in Kent 

An organic vineyard at Sedlescombe has recently taken the French on at their own game. It has managed to produce a Botrysised dessert wine. Botrytis is also known as "The Noble Rot" because it is a fungus that attacks vines and produces some rather interesting effects:- The Telegraph recently carried an article about the wine. I will be buying a case, does anyone else want any???

Red Deer 9) One of our deer is Missing.

Apparently a deer has escaped from a local deer farm and is causing havoc in the countryside. Please let someone in Maplehurst / Nuthurst know if you see it before it causes even more trouble. Who knows, it might even prove possible to have Venison for Christmas instead of Turkey!!

10) Interesting taste in Christmas lights

Anyone who has been driving around the locale recently at night would be forgiven for thinking that one of our local pubs has undergone a transformation into a nightclub, judging by the sheer volume of neon wizardry draped around it. I bet the neighbours love it! Indeed, it would seem that quite a few residents of the area have let the festive spirit get the better of their sense of taste and have launched into their own version of Blackpool illuminations. I was up in Oxford Street this week and I must say that the lights there looked positively refined in comparison. Don't worry I am only joking. (see comments in the forum DT)

11) South Lodge.

Can anyone tell me what is happening at South Lodge? I drove past there a few nights ago and it looks as if they are building a helicopter hangar next to the hotel. Are they planning even more rides to Goodwood next year I wonder??

12) Dave Toye at the Black Horse

I went to a "folk night" at The Black Horse late in November to see Dave Toye and company hold court. I have to say that it was an exceptionally entertaining evening. If you haven't yet been to see DT et al. it is well worth the trip, the beer is good too!  

On a folk theme, I went Christmas shopping in Horsham last Saturday with SWMBO (She Who Must Be Obeyed aka Mrs. McClean). In West Street I heard a busker singing. Not your usual "Streets of London" fare but a young lass blessed with the voice of an angel. She was braving the cold to sing (without the use of accompanying music or a safety net) some haunting folk ballads. I managed to catch her eye and engaged her in conversation. Apparently she lives in London and comes down occasionally, when the Council give her a licence. In a fit of enterprise, she was selling copies of a CD she had made of herself singing such classics as Danny Boy, Greensleeves and Scarborough Fair so I bought one before they had all been sold. If you didn't manage to hear her live then I have written to her to ask her for a sample so we can put it up on the website (hows about it Dave?? - Let me have the CD and I will do it if she doesn't mind DT). Who knows, she might even be tempted down for a night at the Black Horse in the near future. If that is the case, make a date to be there, you won't be disappointed in the slightest.

13) Christmas shopping

I feel smug at present. All the Christmas Presents have been purchased and the cards dispatched. For those of you who haven't yet made it to the shops then help is at hand. The following websites have got some excellent gift ideas:-

All the above are British websites and have some cracking gifts. I have asked Santa for a personal gyro-copter but I don't think he can get it down our chimney!

Have a happy Christmas, a wonderful New Year and please support your local butchers shop for the Christmas meal.

Simon  McClean 13th December 2001     last months MR's


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