Cheerio Phil aka Happy Chopper.

Not even sure I feel right about publishing this but I want to put something down for once. He was such a lovely chap.

A simple but very moving ceremony yesterday morning in the September sunshine. My old black suit & tie, dusted off one more time, almost proved too much of a solar panel. Perfect venue, just north of Bristol in what must once have been a farm surrounded by fields and trees – a splendid rural spot for a picnic, under different circumstances. Maybe next time. Need to update my own will to mention Memorial Woodlands, its a cracker.

But such a premature loss of this extraordinarily talented, charming young man (dad, husband, pal, son, VFX whizz kid*) …I can’t find the words to do justice to my own feelings, never mind the sadness his family must feel. His terribly swift, cruel passing has done nothing for this mourner’s faith thats for sure. Maybe if the whole world and a few major planets had paused on their axes just for a moment – some kind of celestial 2 minute silent salute to at least acknowledge the passing of this special chap? That would have been a suitably impressive gesture on which to base some faith in a higher plane.

But then I suppose we’d run into all sorts of metaphysical causality issues; screw up time/space continuum and create a high-dependancy relationship with our Maker. If there is one, our Maker clearly wanted his work to roll along without intervention. This is not a helpful line of enquiry really. Without the need for faith, the ebb of life goes on around us regardless of the injustice. Maybe Phil would tell me different if he could reach back.

And so a fond cheerio to a much-loved, all-too-young pal, from those lucky few who knew this glorious fellow. Of course its never enough, but on the day its all we can do to pause, rewind …reflect, respect… and then fast forward, and hopefully play (nicely) again. *

Cheers Phil. Let’s hope this is the last time the ol’ black suit & tie come out for a good while.

Thoughts are of course especially with Phil’s brave wife, daughter, child to be; family and closest friends.



“Carpé PM”

My new motto for the Forman family. especially my stay-up-late, go-out, shop-til-you-drop teen daughters. So I wrote it on the kitchen wall.

Yep I write half decent copy sometimes. So hire me.

To profoundly go, out of the frying pan…

…and into the metaphorical fire.
Well I have to say, I really enjoy a bit of fried breakfast. I know its not the healthiest thing in the world but I’ve come to terms with this.
And I love a real fire. Anywhere. Inside or out. No man should be without several ways to make a fire.
So, why not ‘boldly go’ from one familiar, heated place into another stimulating, if tricky, environment and positively relish the immersion. Not all the time, I’m no masochist. But fraught occasions are where some of us seem to properly get off our arses and move ahead.

stu and fire

stu and fire

New Elver ladder on River Yeo


New design for helping elvers move upstream to our stretch of the River Yeo. Installation is first of its kind – there are a number of different designs currently being tested across Somerset. Hopefully will encourage baby eels to move upstream onto our slightly isolated little stretch of the River Yea between Iwood Manor weir and this Environment Agency run measuring station. A trout race also being installed this week – watch this space.

Aga? Aaaagha more like. Fuel costs way too high.


Keep your wallet tightly closed

Quick check on the oil tank this afternoon. Helpfully it doesn’t even have a reliable level indicator. This means going back to basics and dipping a stick then crudely gauging against the side of the tank.

We completely ran out of oil two weeks ago so its really easy to work out that one third of the last delivery has already gone. And an 800 litre delivery, so that means about 260 litres. Even at 63p a litre, I reckon we’re polishing off £12 a day just on oil, with another £70 a month on electricity. This has got to change.

So the beloved old Aga is definitely for the chop which is gutting.

Better news is that we quickly bought a bargain Falcon range cooker on Ebay rather spontaneously and – get this – it will pay for itself easily next winter by saving us at least £200 a month. Hardly thrifty but OOSH all the same.

Oh you (not so little) little beauty