Thursday, 12 November 2009

Mad as a bucket of frogs

Encounters with The Technohermit are seldom dull. He is, to say the least, a character, and famous not only on these pages but has appeared in The Guardian where he featured as a point of interest on a walk they were advertising. In their version the journalist portrays him as a kindly benevolent figure who waves nicely to passers by as he looks up from his daily toil, whereas in reality passers by might be a tad startled when he emerges from the bracken naked, they might even walk a bit quicker when they see his bone pile and certainly they will wonder why "Tim" is painted on a piece of tin halfway up the hill.

Today's encounter with the Technohermit was its usual baffling mix of entertainment and terror. I had found a bicycle clip on the lane, only one person alive still uses them, and he lives close by. Dutifully I wandered around the hill and approached his lair in the pouring rain. He had, like any insane hermit taken refuge from the battering the weather was giving the hill. I stood by the bone pile and summonsed him.


Nine wet dogs and I waited quietly hoping that the time he was taking answering was due to him finding clothing. He appeared clutching a bucket and nodded at me. I handed over the clip. His face lit up and he dropped the bucket of frogs he was holding. The dogs took it in turns to sniff the bucket. Mad inspected the bicycle clip for signs of damage. I had an overwhelming urge to ask, I knew it would be a mistake but I couldn't help myself. "Frogs Techno, what are they for?" He stowed the clip in what resembled a trouser pocket.
"Its the rain see, does em good"
"The frogs?"
"No the springs"
"Springs?" The frogs writhed apologetically as the explanation was getting convoluted.
"Ah" he nodded excitedly "Cleans em out"
"The frogs?" the image of a hermit cleaning out frogs appeared in my tortured brain
"No the springs"
"Ah, washes em right out see" he pointed to the frogs busy trying to leap to freedom, the Berners gathered round, this was new.
The Technohermit pointed to a Lucozade bottle half buried in the hillside, water gushing out. "I got lots of water now see, but these keeps popping out, damned things" he gently tapped the bucket with his foot. "I lets em go over there see" He pointed up the hill to where the frogs were to get their born free moment. The more lucid amongst the inhabitants of the bonsai mountain might have dropped them below the spring where you gather water rather than above it. The endless recycling of amphibians would wear thin eventually.

I told him our tale of frogs blocking the water supply recently, he trumped that by catching another frog from the pop bottle and telling me tale of how Murphy had to dig up half the hill trying to trace a kamikaze frog that cut the supply to The Ghost House.

I turned to head off down the track. "Ere!" he shouted after me. I almost made it away to safety. "I keep getting people takin me picture!"
I looked suitably blank, "You know them walkers, keep stopping and takin bloody photos and summat."
"That's because you 're famous Techno"
"Am I?"
I explained about the newspaper article and how its displayed on the pub wall. "In the paper am I?"
"I'm not on that bloody internet then?"
I thought carefully, he was unarmed apart from a pail of frogs, I was downhill of him, I was sure I could outrun him.
"Maybe" I took a step backwards.
"Ah" he nodded, he seemed satisfied, "Not sure what that is mind" he said deftly plucking another frog from the flow. He crouched like a wicket keeper watching the spout. You know when the Hermit has finished with you.
"I'll show you one day Techno" I headed for the sanity of Rock HQ.
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