Goodbye from New Forest Mark and Hugh

Goodbye from Mark and Hugh

Mark and Hugh signoff 600x400

It's goodbye from him and goodbye from him: New Forest Mark and Hugh bid us farewell

Ed Note: Over the past year through lockdowns of varying intensities Mark and Hugh have lifted our sometimes sombre spirits with their time consumingly researched, cleverly concocted, relevant and thought provoking, informative and often educational, always entertaining and sometimes quite hilarious, articles and cartoons. This week they bid us farewell. Please read and enjoy their final contribution. (Sailing towards sunset or to the end of the earth by the light of the silvery moon? Readers decide!)

For our part we'd like to thank them for the enormous amount of time they've spent creating and crafting articles and cartoons for our enjoyment every single week almost since the start of the the very first lockdown. They claim to have had lots of fun too, which is a relief!

If you don't already receive our weekly e-newsletter full of useful local information and news told with a personal twist do sign up for it here - and then read on!


Mark continues...

"There are various reasons why we feel we have to stop and, if you don’t mind, we won’t go into them here; suffice to say the articles do take some effort and after a great deal of consideration we have decided it's time to call a halt. 

Personally I need to thank a few people.

First, Hugh who’s had the skill and patience to wade through the literary marmalade that are my pitiful first drafts in order to make them even vaguely readable. His improvements to my gramer and speling have been an enormous big help. Thank you Hugh.

Second, Jane who has given me the opportunity to write about the New Forest and many other varied topics. The research has been eye opening and I certainly appreciate the forest a great deal more as a result; I hope you feel the same way.

Finally, good friends who have been generous enough to give compliments on the better articles and kind enough not to comment on the others.

So here's our sign off feature!

“Who knew?”

I feel that this phrase encapsulates our weekly efforts. We have strived to educate and entertain and in doing so we have uncovered some remarkable facts. We spoke of Marconi who gave us radio. At the time there were many others who were at a similar stage of invention but they weren’t anywhere near as successful. In business it simply isn’t enough to have a bright idea; you need to be able to shout so that others know about it. Then, once the others have heard you, you need to persist and this is exactly what Marconi did. He was single minded and won through; a fascinating character. Are such iconoclasts a thing of the past? Absolutely not; step forward Elon Musk who has single handedly shaken up the entire car industry not to mention the truck industry and NASA. Mavericks are alive and well; at a time when many are fretting over the latest increase in their green fees or council tax, Mr Musk is planning ways to inhabit Mars. Yeah, think about it, there’s vision right there.

If our efforts have sparked just one interesting conversation then we’ll take that as true praise.

Gullible Warming

Our two regular readers might have sensed the gentlest hint of cynicism regarding global warming or climate change; you choose. You also might have noticed a certain admiration for science; to my everlasting regret I was lazy at school and I have huge respect for those that were not. When a scientist tells me that the concentration of a certain gas in our atmosphere has increased a great deal I believe it. His instruments are accurate, calibrated and, because he doesn’t work for a certain German car manufacturer, there is trust.

As a simple chap I tend to prefer those who lead by example. When a media savvy climate global change warmer ‘expert’ travels by air to somewhere like the Caribbean in order to meet with other ‘experts’ I feel my toes begin to curl and my fingernails dig into my palms. I think we both know a tax-payer funded, upper atmosphere polluting junket when we see one. We covered this in ‘When the Isle of Wight was just Wight’.

Nature in all its glory

You might also have noticed the fascination for nature and, at the same time, the disdain for our race. We continue to pursue profit above almost everything; oh dear, we’re back to the Germans again. Water companies continue to enjoy the regulatory freedom which means that when there’s been a bit of rain they can, legally, dump raw sewage into our rivers. Wild swimmers please take note. If for some reason you find swimming through sewage offensive, write to your MP. Don’t bother with email, use paper, an envelope and a stamp. The anger is more tangible.

I feel very strongly that despite the tendency of the human race to abuse our natural resources that nature will always survive. Just consider how far we have distanced ourselves from the hunter gatherers of just a few generations ago. Our society is now completely reliant upon oil. The UK now only provides around sixty percent of the food it needs, the balance needs to be brought in. Almost everything we buy is wrapped in an oil derived plastic film. Everything, without exception, is delivered to supermarkets by a diesel fuelled truck.  Perhaps certain youthful environmental pioneers would prefer us to take a different path? However this is the system we have brought upon ourselves, what is the solution? I have no idea, but I do know this; nature has no need of Tesco, aspirin or fast-food joints and as such it will always prevail. We seem to have reached the stage where our race has lost touch with what really matters.

Burn baby burn

As an ex-combustion person I found the old brick kiln at Bailey’s Hard magnetic. These days we would use computer aided design and computational fluid dynamics in order to design the perfect kiln. When the kiln at Bailey’s Hard was constructed all the builder had to go on was past experience. Engineers of today would refer to this as ‘empirical evidence’. Back then it was all they had. These pottery experts of yesteryear had the vision to construct a hemispherical chamber which, by dint of an underground flue in the centre of the floor, recirculated the combustion gases around  the pots and jars and plates in order to ensure an even temperature. This led to fired clay of a higher quality with fewer failures. This hard won and jealously guarded expertise, handed from master to apprentice, resulted in superb craftsmanship. Bankers, architects, lawyers and stockbrokers might smile wryly at the comments of this simple artisan but just remember this; It’s difficult to enjoy a cup of tea without the cup or a bowl of cornflakes without the bowl. Blue collar berks like me have their place.

It’s goodbye from me and it’s goodbye from him

Today, as I walked from the bus stop to the house I am presently lodging in, the sun was shining, the fish were jumping and the living was easy. I caught the distinctive aroma of a newly lit barbecue and imagined a family enjoying the late evening sun, the smell of cooked chicken and a freshly mown lawn.

As well as saying goodbye to these two silly old jokers you need to prepare to say ‘go to hell’ to Mr and Mrs Covid and all of their disgusting relations. Yes dear expert, we all know that ‘the virus will never completely go away’. Oh please go away and bore someone else to death. We are perfectly aware that before the virus arrived the average winter influenza would take around eight thousand souls. A virus of some kind or another will always be with us and always has been. We have it all to play for, Covid is on the back foot and summer is coming. I don’t know about you but I can just feel it, the sheer relief and joy at the end of this dreadful dreary period. Like you I intend to have a blast, one way or another because I have painful memories to erase. Once I can travel I will and I’m not the only one, perhaps I’ll see you at the airport? For the next six months or so I shall be mainly sitting on a beach. A beach that is as far away as possible from here. I shall miss this green and pleasant land.

Our sincere thanks to all of you

Thank you for reading, by doing so you have displayed unfathomable depths of patience, well done.

Take care and good luck.

With love.

Hugh and Mark.

Cartoon of yacht sailing into the sunset followed by shark 

"No, Hugh, it’s not a capsized yacht, it’s a very big shark." 

Mark and Hugh's illustrated tales for Lymington and the New Forest 2020-21

If you'd like to read the articles on diverse subjects written and illustrated between June 2020 and June 2021 by Mark and Hugh of which some are mentioned above, just click here!


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