Saturday, 26 January 2008

The not so perambulations of Micra....

Little Micra wasn't happy. It was during travelling back from Burton, struggling through all the deep flood water that he'd started to feel unwell. At first his gears simply felt a bit 'clunky', but then his clutch started being troublesome too. Before long it was just too painful to change gear at all. Whining along stuck in first gear progress was very slow. Unable to de-clutch at all he had to switch his engine off in order to stop and at junctions when it was time to move he had to start up in gear and hope for the best...
After a long and arduous journey it was good to be home. Very worried as to whether he would ever get better it was time to be put up on the jacks. Micra didn't like the jacks, they dug into his bodywork and his master would often be grumpy and swear a lot.
Firstly the wheels had to come off.
Then the brakes, suspension and driveshafts.....Master was very angry and said some very bad words. He even started muttering about "burning the dam thing", and "wish I still had my Rover". He disappeared, and soon it became dark...
Next morning the master was a bit more cheerful. Off came the starter motor, battery, electrics, computer and air ducts. Eventually when you looked up from underneath, where there was once a lot of stuff, now there was daylight.
The troublesome gearbox lay on the lawn while master scratched his head.
Micra was happy when the master smiled and pointed to the clutch release bearing and explained. "The lubrication has been washed off the bearing guide by the flood water and caused it to jam, and the side tag has snapped off the housing". Micra didn't know what that all meant but at least he knew he was going to be better soon.
As well as a new bearing Micra was treated to a brand new drive plate....
....and a thrust plate. He felt very special to have all these shiny new things.
A day later and everything was back to normal. The box of matches was put away for another time and master was happy once more. If master was happy, then Micra was too...

Wednesday, 16 January 2008

The Mystery of Penguin Island....

At first glance it just looks like any other traffic island, and up until a few days ago it was.
On closer inspection there is an unexpected visitor. Obviously arriving under the cover of darkness and setting up home while no one was watching.
Blame it on global warming or the population explosion of this common species (Sphenicidae Plasticus), but this chap has gone to unusual lengths to secure its own little piece of England.
A cute little chap, 'Percy' as he's been nicknamed seems totally unphased by the rush of traffic just feet from his new home.
His cheery face skyward turned, he was unbothered at my approach and appeared quite tame.
When asked why was he here and where had he come from, the response was...."No comment"
Maybe this explains the sudden appearance. Nestled next to a bright orange foot, an egg. Perhaps there will be more little Percys on 'penguin island' in the coming weeks!

Wednesday, 9 January 2008

Greenwood is dying.....

Once upon a time (about 10 years ago), there was a beautiful wood...... Greenwood. The nasty ogres from the land of smoke (London), wanted to destroy the woodland and build a dirty 6 lane motorway, a toll motorway for the rich and greedy to travel on.
Many of the local peasants and gentry alike didn't want the new road because it destroyed farms and countryside and served only big business. Something had to be done to try and save Greenwood......

Caring souls and the great unwashed took to the trees, building shelters high up in the branches. Deep beneath the roots tunnels were dug and there they lay in wait for the bailiffs to come.
(The beardy weirdy on the ladder is me!)

A year past by, and the locals lived in the woods come rain or shine. Soon there were so many that the nearby local deserted farmstead was taken over as well. 'Moneymore house' and 'Greenwood' lived in fear of the road and the rough tactics of the Sheriffs men and his hired hands... 'the men in black'.
The helicopter loomed over each night, menacing the woodland inhabitants and counting their number. Then, one day the press were herded into a small enclosure so they might not see anything that would upset them. The roads were closed, the helicopter watched from the skies. Van after van turned up, and the governments men tumbled out.

Greenwood was surrounded, tree dwellers ripped from the branches and whispered away. The chainsaws shouted their war cry as the boughs were removed from the mature trees so that no one would have the audacity to climb them ever again.
The men in black turned their attentions to Moneymore, now castellated and warrened. For days they battled those on the rooves, playing cat and mouse across the tiled heights, lofty branches and ariel rope ways. Once dealt with, it was only the tunnellers left. Deep underground in a maze of burrows they lived their lives in the damp and dark, listening to the scratchings of the Sheriffs men as they slowly dug them out. After over a week underground the last protester was removed after risking losing his arm to infection from being locked to a solid lump of concrete to prevent his removal.

It was all over, the big business had won. The wood was lost, farms were demolished, wildlife driven out, 15th century 'Boundary Cottage' smashed to the ground without the reverence it deserved.
I went back to my life, an old sign from the woods as my only souvenir.
Greenwood was dissected, never to be whole again. The hillside it occupied was dug out and replaced with the greyness of the motorway, with its unimaginative bridges and toll booths.

I took solice that a small part of the wood survived.....

.... until now. It's become apparent that Greenwood is dying.

High up on the exposed hillside, the more delicate species have lost their 'overcoat' of surrounding Birches leaving them to the mercies of the weather.

Bit by bit, tree by tree, they are falling victim. Leafless and barkless they stand defiantly glaring across the scar on their heritage.

To the west, the land slopes downward and out of the cutting wind. Here, the survivors huddle, the last sanctuary of Greenwood.

The ancient Sweet Chestnuts and Oaks hold on here to their last little corner. The old badger set is still lived in at the foot of the giant Chestnut tree, squirrels in the branches, blackbirds peck in the leaves in the Bluebell patch and the deer still browse through.
Greenwood is dying, piece by piece, but it's not done yet. Let's hope that there will forever be a corner of England called.....Greenwood.