Catastrophe hits the Shire! Island Pond 'beyond saving'

Post date: Sep 28, 2018 1:49:29 PM

Ponso Pondhopper reports on the disappearance of a well-loved fishing hole 

Hullo fellow fisher-hobbits. I have grave news to report. The Shire has lost one of its most beloved fishing holes. The Island Pond at Bamfurlong has long been a favourite spot for early morning fishing. It was well stocked and the grand Shire Oak on the central isle offered shelter from the midday sun. All in all, an excellent place for picnicking or just to cool one’s toes.  

Here is a painting I made of the pond just last autumn. You can see it was a fine body of water, lying between Maggot’s farm and the Brandywine. A jewel in the Marish’s crown!  

Now look at the same view, sketched just this morning. Not a drop of water to be seen. The whole area is now covered in mushrooms…

As soon as I heard about this catastrophe I gathered the whole family to take shovels and buckets and we set about to rescue any fish that might be buried in the mud that is left. We were able to dig out a fair number of catfish alive, but sad to relate many other species of fish were not so fortunate and were prey to the crows that roost nearby. All the catfish were released into the Brandywine (except the one we ate for lunch).

This is indeed a sad day for the Shire. But the question we now need to ask is how did this happen? Indeed, it has been suggested that the hot weather we have experienced of late had dried up the pond. We have been short of rain, it is true, but I visited the pond not a week ago, and, while the water levels were below normal for the time of year, there was no sign that the pond would dry out.

I personally find it hard to believe the rumours that Maggot had the pond drained to make room for more mushroom tents, but we have to ask. If this was hobbit-made, it was done with neither compassion for the fish nor consideration for we fellow-hobbits who delight in the art of angling.

I call on all hobbits to join our POP campaign (Protect Our Ponds) and to follow me in petitioning Flourdumpling to immediately launch an enquiry into the causes of this catastrophe. We must make sure that those responsible are held to account and take action now to protect our remaining fishing spots.

Searching for trapped catfish.. Only thirty two could be rescued.

Editor's comment:

In line with the seriousness of the matter at hand, I sent a reporter to Bamfurlong to see it with her own eyes. She is also a Bounder and a Deputy Shirriff, so I thought it would be the proverbial two birds with one stone, if she investigated the place.

Her investigation pointed out that there still is a body of water between Bamfurlong and the Brandywine, but it may have become smaller. Some of the more mucky ground, with a heavy growth of mushrooms, may have been where the bigger pond has been.

I trust Master Ponso's judgement and I don't mean to label his story as untrue, but it is odd that he saw what he saw. As he indicated, the pond could have shrunk due to lack of rain. And we've had a few rain showers since, so... But it would not hurt to keep the place under close observation. A "Protect Our Ponds" Campaign is not a bad idea!

I'm happy to report that the water still contains fish as our intrepid bounder had brought a suitable rod and landed a Colourfull Charr at the second attempt!

With many thanks to Master Ponso and the Pondhopper Family and to Deputy Shirriff Rubellita Brandybuck.

Master Ponso's reply to the article and comment:

Dear Mister Peppy,

Having bought my copy of the Bramblebury Gazette, I now see how the confusion has arisen. Your bounder was looking at the wrong pond! Your picture shows a marshy area, full of slugs and totally unsuitable for fishing contests, there being too many reeds and undergrowth on which it is easy to snag one’s fishing lines. No, the old Island Pond was further south, right by the cliff face. This is what has disappeared. You should go see it for yourself. In fact I may organise a trip so that more folk can see what has become of this once-grand fishing spot.