Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Watch your step!

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Watch your step!

Photo 01 Library photo of an Adder or Viper
Watch your step!

The weather has just got to start hotting up soon surely this depressing cold cannot continue or can it? One of our visitors Derek Williams from Edinburgh visiting a few weeks back sent me the following information on snakes and how to act around them.

“The Adder or the Viper is the only venomous snake in the UK and is common in heath land across the country. I have on previous visits encountered Vipers although I was intentionally seeking them therefore was much more likely to come across them. Snakes are cold blooded creatures more properly called ectothermic which means they have to derive the heat they require to function from the environment. This explains why you will never see a Viper in the wintertime when they hibernate and why most are spotted on warm sunny days.

Other snakes you may encounter are the Grass Snake and the Slowworm but neither of these is venomous. There really is no need to be frightened of snakes; in all cases they will be more frightened of you than vice versa. In particular Vipers are very timid when confronted by a human and if not further threatened will slink off out of sight. In very warm sunny weather snakes often bask in a grassy area enjoying the warmth whilst upping its operating level so be careful. Vipers need their venom for subduing prey such as rats and other rodents and are generally reluctant to use it if they can avoid it.

If you come across a snake never try to pick it up, lots of people try and end up getting bitten. Another common reason leading to a snake bite is toying and provoking the snake or trying to kill the creature which as well as being highly dangerous is highly illegal as they are protected by law. The third most common reason of being bitten is the unwary rambler standing on a snake and lets face it if someone stood on you would you not be annoyed?

Avoiding bites from the first two reasons given is self explanatory just do not carry out the activities mentioned. The third can be minimised by looking where you put your feet especially when stepping over a log or other obstruction. Wearing the correct attire is also very important if your legs are bare then you will encounter the full effects of the snake’s venom. Thick trousers and boots can afford great protection from bites not to mention other dangers like ticks which have the capability to cause Lyme’s disease which can have some very serious long term consequences.

If you are unfortunate enough to get bitten by a Viper do not carry out the procedure seen in many westerns of cutting out the area and sucking the poison out. This is only for cowboys and will have no effect on the dissipation of the venom into the body. You should seek immediate medical attention immobilising the affected limb. Bites are rarely fatal but there is a risk of severe allergic reaction so medical attention and monitoring is essential.

If you leave a snake alone then it will leave you alone, by all means admire the creature but from a safe distance. If you come upon a snake abruptly, calmly take a few steps back and allow the snake room to exit the situation. A snake has no interest in you it would rather keep its venom for subduing dangerous prey such as rats. Most of you reading this will never become a snake’s friend but do not make it your enemy, give it the same degree of respect that you would afford any other potentially dangerous animal. Live and let live”!

Dennis many thanks for this treatise on the wrigglers, I have on a few occasions come across a basking snake and whilst initially being terrified I don’t much react at all as you have said give it some space and it will just slither away!

Photo 02 Our work to improve drainage.
The question answered!

Yes we have had our first indication of the status of Pike in the loch. Les managed to land a fine 7.5lbs specimen and it was in super condition putting up a great fight. Whilst unhooking the fish he noted the tell tale sign of milt weeping from the vent of the fish! Giving the vent a gentle squeeze more was exuded indicating that this specimen was a male and had not at this time spawned! Of course not all Pike spawn at the same time so some may have spawned. This fish however was ripe and for interest we took a couple of scales to get an approximate age. Several other Pike were caught up to thirteen pounds this week disappointingly however we received no information as to the likely spawning status from the captors! Spawning over feeding begins in earnest– oh happy days!

Yes the prolonged cold spell has held back many events in nature, there is no sign as yet of the blue Tits and Great Tits making moves towards nesting in the area all our nest boxes are empty and the boathouse which last year housed two families of Blue Tits one of Great Tits and one family of Chaffinch looks to be empty at this time! Well not quite as we are home to a colony of Pipistrelle Bats who are not averse to hunting in bright sunlight as we noted again today feasting on the many flies present today. We noted this a few years ago and whilst this is unusual its not unheard of and Pipistrelle’s seem to be the only species to engage in this behaviour! Just wonderful what can be seen if your eyes and mind are open, fishmongers take note!

Member news!

The motorcycling piscator!

Today we were delighted to be visited by the holder of the heavy Trout Cup Alan Frew who came up on his trusty Honda motorcycle to the news and assess the suitability of the loch for a fishing expedition. Alan is an elder statesman of the club and keeps telling us he is 78 years of age! We don’t believe him, no one could be as sprightly and sharp of mind if they were 78 let alone embark on a sixty mile round trip on a motorcycle! On the subject of motorcycles you should see his bike it is absolutely immaculate with the original factory fitted warning signs and mirror chrome! Alan is a Honda aficionado also being the owner of a trusty Honda outboard which also is in immaculate condition! If you ever think of selling the outboard Alan my number is....... Quite simply a gentleman – Respect due!

Oh and a message for Dorothy – sorry to hear you have been under the weather, get well soon and we hope to see you and Alan in the near future powering around the loch if we are lucky enough to experience a summer!

Richard “Dick” Patterson one of our esteemed members recently took ill and is currently an inpatient in Edinburgh Royal Infirmary due to undergo a major operation on Monday. We are all rooting for you Dick get well soon as they say.

Elliot Fraser also looked in to give us the update on our engine and largely the news is good. He has fitted the bearing but has also made us another as the one we purchased was not quite long enough so thats the bushing situation sorted. He has not yet had the time to weld our gear wheel (It’s a bevel gear I’m told) but this will be on the cards soon. Thanks mate you have probably saved our elderly engine from being consigned to thsat place where the fire burns brightly! Respect Due!
Getting there!

The readership is getting there, the last month saw 753 visitors to our news pages still short of the high point of 1100 readers. More are viewing each week so all is well. A few people searched "where is St Mary's blog" hope you found it people!

Works update!

Yesterday Les moved towards completing the safety rail on our boat house steps and landing filling in all the screw holes and concreting in the fixing points. All that now remains to be done is to apply the wood preservative which should get done next week. Today Gordon McClurg and I started work on the boat house parking area which with the wet weather is nothing short of a mud bath! We have dug out stone drain channels which we will fill with rocks to allow the water to drain away. In the deeper channels we will insert drainage tubing to ferry the water away.

Frustratingly we have discovered the old main road which lies 10 – 18 inches below that of the current one and it runs for the length of our parking area and since it is intact Tarmac would make a most durable area. I have seen this road on an old postcard on the net and the route is quite different to the current one. The drop however would lead us into conflict with the council so we are not even considering it! Great pity though but it is forbidden fruit! I just have to thank Gordon on here he worked like a Trojan greatly aiding the club in its endeavours! Members like Gordon – worth their weight in gold! Cheers mate!

Fishing guide submission.

Our submission to Marine Scotland, Visit Scotland and the Scottish government will now have a further dimension added. We are to include fishing instructors in our document since many make a living on the water. I have no idea if unqualified people operate as such but it is right and proper that this group is subject to regulation as are fishing guides. Those who charge money for guidance and instruction must undergo training to give the best service possible, no longer can anglers in this country be the laughing stock of the civilised world! We will look into those advertising instruction and see what comes about!

Photo 03 - Our neighbours at play!
Inter club competition on Lindean.

We would just like to extend our good wishes to Stevie Nimmo and Pete Young who will be fishing for the club on Tuesday evening against the host club Selkirk. These lads are excellent anglers and great blokes to boot having a long and unstinting record of service to the club. Winning is not important simply acting in a correct manner and enjoying the evenings fishing, so just go and enjoy the fishing lads!

The wider world in my view!

Microsoft word!

Yes it’s been a great programme for me facilitating bills blogs and what have you! Yesterdat all the print moved to the left refusing to shift back to the middle in spite of my best efforts! Trying to open a document in the programme resulted in the document refusing to open and a message stating there is not enough memory to open the document. The memory on this computer currently stands as 68% being free so if that’s not enough then I am really struggling!

Googling the error message it appears this is not uncommon, the programme is corrupted by who or what I do not know! Oh yes there is a solution involving strange characters and words I have never encountered – oh woe is me! So the choice is try and follow the procedure and risk god knows what or beat it to a pulp! Some thinking required here, No, where’s that heavy hammer?

Told you so!

I must admit to bursting into laughter on reading that most of the flagship projects of the Con-Dems are predicted to fail! Policies regarding Universal Credit, the new aircraft carriers, the West Coast mainline scheme, the high speed rail project and 28 others are marked as unachievable! And who says this? Why the government themselves in the form of the cabinet office major projects authority an overseeing body set up by the government!

Yes Lord Snooty and Puppet Clegg talk a good job but it ends there! Ian Duncan Smith the architect of the universal credit fiasco was marked to be sacked by Lord Snooty as worrying undertones filtered back to him that the universal credit system was full of holes. However being the inept fellow that he is he reneged and will now pay a heavy price for his weak actions! Looking at it another way though is if a fool replaces an existing fool with another fool you still end up with a cabinet of fools! We will all rue the day the posh boys and puppets seized power!

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