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springwatch and summerwatch

Just got startled by the most amazing rustling sound from outside; it was Plane tree leaves, blowing down the road. I guess the dry spell already has them shrivelling and shedding. Roll on the thunderstorms. One was promising last night, but never materialised, and I just slumped there, feeling hotter and more horrid, watching episodes of One Piece and cringing at the Hamiltons' football song and Jeremy Clarkson looking a bit slow on last week's Have I got news for you. I probably should have watched the Cow woman documentary afterwards instead, but I had Five Disasters Waiting to Happen all cued up and waiting. Looking at those four grim dolphins of the eco-apocalypse, heat, storms, rain and rising sea levels, taking on London, Paris, Mumbai, Shanghai, and Tuvalu*. What struck me was that though the climatologists comcerned were very different in some ways, they all (even the rabidly upbeat one overseeing Shaghai's flood management) had a similar demeanor; no smiles from their set jaws, an expression between solid determination sad resignation, a greyness of skin and shadowed VDU eyes -- I suppose that, from Tuvalu's whitewashed shed to the Thames Flood Barrier's glass offices, they're all basically doing the same thing: making models and running them again and again, seeing what drowns. Trying to get used to the chilling inevitability.

I took the stream route to the bus-stop and that Grey Wagtail scolded me again (calm down! it's a public path!) -- further along there were fledgling Blue Tits in the Willow tree, gettting used to that whole flying around thing, cheeping away and generally being unbearably cute -- and, unfortunately, down on the path, a rather rough-looking young Blackbird who didn't have it figured out. Probably on his way out. It's a tough life, being a blackbird in the suburbs.

I'm thinking about how morally justifiable it is to water my plants and shrubs. On the one hand, it'll really improve the environment of my garden (currently rather bleak) for wildlife. On the other hand, every morning this week I've been walking past the pipe inspection men, sat in the back of their white van staring at greyscale images of pipes receding into blackness, trying to figure out where Thames Water's water is going.

* London's flood management is currently holding up well, but scary projections are provoking major management and re-direction schemes for when the water rises, and property developers in Docklands are being forced to integrate flood defences and alarms. Paris is still having major issues with heat. A huge swathe of Mumbai's flood-absorbing mangrove forests, which were disappearing under property development, have been bought for preservation by local industrialists, and the Mithi River is being dredged and cleared. However, recently it was exposed that the toxic sludge of the Mithi was being dumped -- ak, on the mangroves. Shanghai's building higher barriers, higher floood walls, sluices and other control devices. The shots of the workers with their flags were strangely moving. Tuvalu, well. It's already gone, really; erosion can sometimes be slowed, but not always. The meteorologist there was less actor, more observer to an island's passing. And where there was once a nation, there will only be a shadow on the sea.

Comments

( 14 worms — Feed the birds )
buddleia
9th Jun, 2006 12:01 (UTC)
seeing what drowns
I really need a drink now.
cleanskies
9th Jun, 2006 12:16 (UTC)
actually
The London bit was surprisingly reassuring. In a sort of "yes, by 2075, rising seas leavels will mean the Thames Barrier won't be cutting it any more, but here's all the stuff we're doing to improve/create new systems," sort of way.
buddleia
9th Jun, 2006 12:18 (UTC)
I suppose
But that's the kind of programme which really drives it home. I think there are a lot of people who don't really believe it. Like people who vaguely nod at quitting smoking but are staggered when a friend gets lung cancer. God, Tuvalu. So sad.
rhubarbfool
9th Jun, 2006 12:22 (UTC)
I missed
the emergence of the fledgling bluetits in the nest box adorning my garden shed. One day the washing line is a constant stopping off point for parents laden with food the next they're all gone (including the washing line which snapped a few days ago.) A few years ago I managed to catch the fledgling poking it's head out of the nest box.
cleanskies
9th Jun, 2006 13:54 (UTC)
replace the washing line!
It's a crucial part of the local environment! (Seriously, though. You missed the sight of a washing line snapping under the weight of baby blue-tits? Isn't it time you cammed up the garden?)
ms_slonim
9th Jun, 2006 13:11 (UTC)
I probably shouldn't comment first thing in the morning before my tea
I'm soconditioned by Britain's summer water shortages that I'm the stingiest person in St Louis with tap water. I turn the taps in between brushing me teeth, I only flush after three wee's during te day. And then I go out and in the midday heat 10 people along the block have their sprinklers on, which are drenching the sidewalk and making me walk in the street. People just don't respect water here! It makes me so mad and flummoxed. How can they not respect water. It hardly ever rains here.
I read that the farming industry is using up most of the underground lakes in the States. What happens then?
That's a rhetorical question.
cleanskies
9th Jun, 2006 13:59 (UTC)
we're not on a hose pipe ban yet
-- but lots of the South is. It's been a dry spring ...
crazycrone
9th Jun, 2006 13:15 (UTC)
Now how on earth did I maage not to notice the Disasters Witing to Happen thing?
The cow woman really is fasinating, though, although it does seem odd that she doesn't mind their being slaughtered when she relates to them so strongly...
cleanskies
9th Jun, 2006 13:57 (UTC)
it was a BBC4 thingy I think
-- hmm, that is one of those things about domestic food animals, mind -- being slaughtered is part of what they are. I might find the documentary a bit creepy, though -- the clip I saw was of her lying down in the middle of a crowd of cows. Maybe they do things differently in America, but round where I grew up, slipping over in the middle of a crowd of cows was a good way to die, trampled.
crazycrone
9th Jun, 2006 15:35 (UTC)
Re: it was a BBC4 thingy I think
That was scary, but they just come and drool on her with idile curiosity. She made the film crew lie down too.( Don't think I would have.) (Just 'cos I don't think they should be killed, doesn't mean cows aren't evil...)
cleanskies
9th Jun, 2006 15:59 (UTC)
mmm, cow drool
The smell alone is enough to make that a bad idea. Vomited up half-digested grass ... There's this thing they say, that if you lie down in a field, cows will come and lick your hand (or face, if you're dumb enough to leave that accessible) to see if you're dead. Not sure why they'd care ...

In my view, it's better to stay nimble and ready to jump out of the way around anything bigger than you -- cows, especially, are big enough that accidentally standing on you could break things. Even knocking against you.

They always used to talk in the village about this guy who was standing between a cow and the concrete wall she liked to rub herself against ...
motodraconis
9th Jun, 2006 14:28 (UTC)
I've been ever so good, every morning before work carefully watering only my tender seedlings with a watering can.
I'd like to say I'm being thoughtful with my watering by using a watering can, but I suspect the real reason I'm doing it that way is because my hose is busted.
cleanskies
9th Jun, 2006 16:01 (UTC)
I threw away my hose
I don't think I'll replace it. Though I did used to like watering my garden, firing the hose up high so it came down like rain, rainbows catching in the spray ...
elfbiter
9th Jun, 2006 21:33 (UTC)
Considering that I live in a country where people seem never be satisfied how the summer turns out (there has been either too much rain or too little water) I can only wonder if the other complaint will disappear in the future or not.

However, I presume that not living in the coastal city may turn out to be an asset in the future.
( 14 worms — Feed the birds )