Tenant fees ban will spark tenant referencing crisis, say landlords

May 7, 2021 0 Comments

first_imgHome » News » Tenant fees ban will spark tenant referencing crisis, say landlords previous nextRegulation & LawTenant fees ban will spark tenant referencing crisis, say landlordsNLA claims many letting agents are planning to stop providing references for former tenants to landlords and other agencies in a bid to cut costs.Nigel Lewis31st May 20192 Comments2,831 Views Many letting agents may stop providing tenant referencing for former renters after the fees ban goes live tomorrow in a bid to cut costs.The claim is made by the National Landlords Association (NLA), which says it has found that many agents are planning to cut down their workload to a ‘bare minimum’ in order to cut costs from next week onwards.“The smooth running of the housing market requires a little give-and-take, and unfortunately the reaction of some letting agents to the ban looks set to throw-up more barriers to moving from one tenancy to another,” says Richard Lambert, CEO of the NLA (left).Most letting agents have been happy to provide landlords and other letting agents with tenant referencing for former renters but the NLA claims many will no longer be willing to provide them.This will also mean landlords may be breaking the terms of their local selective licensing schemes, many of which require landlords to complete tenant referencing before tenants move in.Tenant referencing“While landlords who self-manage their portfolios will be covering many increases in cost, letting agents are looking at any way they can limit what they have to do on behalf of tenants, now that the costs cannot be directly recovered,” says Lambert.“Just like private landlords, letting agency businesses are being put under increasing pressure by government regulation.“However, they must realise that penalising outgoing tenants by refusing to provide references will ultimately cost them more than just the price of a reference as landlords opt to do without agents altogether.” NLA National Landlords Association tenant referencing May 31, 2019Nigel Lewis2 commentsJulian Blackmore, BNE BNE 3rd June 2019 at 11:52 amAnd who can blame then? The government is trying to turn letting agencies into a charity.We used to do them for free whilst others charged, we used to do many things for free for tenants, but seeing as the government has decided that all letting agents are bad and tenants good, they can forget it. Our new criteria is now simple – no referencing, both fully employed, no pets, no bens, no hassle – simple. If tenants don’t like, blame themselves and the government.Log in to ReplyVivienne Nelson 31st May 2019 at 10:07 amThis is really interesting, but not surprising. As a referencing company, we have already taken steps to ensure that this possible reluctance in obtaining current/previous referencing reports from agents has been covered. Running an enhanced referencing programme for many of our clients, which includes reaching out to an applicant for a copy of their tenancy agreement and rental payment evidence (and evidence of the amount of deposit returned, if already vacated), this process will be rolled out to any case where a rental reference is refused. By obtaining and assessing these documents, we can build up a much clearer picture of how the tenancy is running and whether any late payments have been incurred. Sadly, it won’t give us a dilapidation check, but many current tenancy references are given on the understanding no check out inspection has been undertaken at that point. By obtaining these paper proofs, we can also check that the applicants previous address (as listed on their TA) has been disclosed and credit checked too. For more information about this service, just email [email protected] in to ReplyWhat’s your opinion? Cancel replyYou must be logged in to post a comment.Please note: This is a site for professional discussion. Comments will carry your full name and company.This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.Related articles BREAKING: Evictions paperwork must now include ‘breathing space’ scheme details30th April 2021 City dwellers most satisfied with where they live30th April 2021 Hong Kong remains most expensive city to rent with London in 4th place30th April 2021last_img read more

Russian-Indian Joint Venture BrahMos Extends Range of Supersonic Cruise Missile

May 4, 2021 0 Comments

first_img View post tag: range View post tag: Naval View post tag: extends View post tag: Cruise Russian-Indian joint venture BrahMos has developed supersonic cruise missile which can be used in highlands, said the company’s president Sivathanu Pillai at the MAKS-2011 show, reports ITAR-TASS.According to Sivathanu Pillai, new missile is capable to fly following terrain. “Having passed the top of a mountain, the missile dives down at supersonic speed. We are the first who made such missile, and tests were quite effective”, pointed out Mr. Pillai.The tests were held in mountains and desert. Minimal flight altitude of the new supersonic missile is 10 meters which significantly complexifies its interception. Answering the question how many BrahMos missiles have been already commissioned into Indian Army, Navy, and Air Force, Sivathanu Pillai said: “Hundreds”.Based on Russian-designed missile Yakhont, supersonic missile BrahMos is capable to fly 2.5-2.8 times faster than the sound speed. Apart from high speed, the missile’s advantage is its versatility. For instance, BrahMos can be based at sea, submarine, air, and coastal platforms. First test launch of the missile was performed in 2001.[mappress]Source: rusnavy, August 18, 2011; Back to overview,Home naval-today Russian-Indian Joint Venture BrahMos Extends Range of Supersonic Cruise Missile Equipment & technology August 18, 2011 View post tag: Joint View post tag: Russian-Indiancenter_img View post tag: Navy View post tag: Supersonic View post tag: News by topic View post tag: BrahMos Russian-Indian Joint Venture BrahMos Extends Range of Supersonic Cruise Missile View post tag: Missile View post tag: venture Share this articlelast_img read more

Five year olds care for druggies

May 3, 2021 0 Comments

first_imgLarge numbers of Oxford children, some as young as five, are forced to care for their alcoholic and drugabusing parents, according to figures recently released by Oxfordshire County Council. The shocking statistics suggest that about 4,000 children between the ages of five and 19 are looking after adults classified as suffering from ‘mental health or substance misuse problems.’ Furthermore, the work of these children is neither acknowledged nor classified by the authorities, since they are not included in the estimates of those with relatives who are diagnosed with physical and mental illness or disability. Officially, there are 54,435 unpaid carers in Oxfordshire, while 1,300 of those are young people. This figure, however, does not take into account children with alcoholic or drug-addicted parents. The estimate of 4,000 children acting as carers for their parents was provided by the Social Services for the district. Caring for disabled parents within the family saves the state millions of pounds each year. In an attempt to ameliorate the situation, an officer has been appointed for the support of children who find themselves in this predicament.ARCHIVE: 6th week TT 2004last_img read more

Edme offers ’Open Mill’ visits

April 21, 2021 0 Comments

first_imgA mill in Essex is throwing open its doors to the public in an attempt to improve knowledge of how local grain is manufactured.Edme Mills, in Mistley near Manningtree, is holding the event as part of National Science & Engineering Week.The ‘Open Mill’ visits will include a short talk on the science behind milling and the production of bakery ingredients, a tour of the mills and a chance for visitors to knead bread.Managing director David Amos said the company was keen to raise awareness about science and manufacturing in general. “Manufacturing is every bit as important to our national well-being as the City, arts, agricultural and public sectors. The science and engineering behind manufacturing has shaped our towns, cities and villages, and the way we lead our lives.”Edme’s products include malted wheat, barley, oat and rye flakes, malted kibbled grain, roasted malt flours and tailor-made mixes.last_img read more

Press release: New review launched of press sustainability in the UK

April 20, 2021 0 Comments

first_imgNotes for Editors Recent estimates suggest that current average annual revenue per digital media user is only c.£15, compared to c.£124 per print media user: “UK News Media: an engine of original news content and democracy – A study on the economic contribution of the UK news media industry”, Deloitte, December 2016 An estimated two thirds of Local Authority Districts in the UK now not served by a local daily newspaper: “Monopolising local news: Is there an emerging local democratic deficit in the UK due to the decline of local newspapers?”, Gordon Ramsay and Martin Moore Centre for the Study of Media, Communication and Power, May 2016 Panel members are yet to be decided and will be made up of individuals with experience in some of the core sectors under review, bringing a range of voices and expertise to the process. The review will not address politically motivated disinformation and propaganda. A summary of the review’s scope (PDF, 40.9KB, 1 page) Robust high quality journalism is important for public scrutiny and underpins democratic debate – but as print circulations decline and more readers move online, the press faces an uncertain future. This review will look at the sustainability of the national, regional and local press, how content creators are appropriately rewarded for their online creations, and ensure that the UK has a vibrant, independent and plural free press as one of the cornerstones of our public debate. The NMA welcomes this announcement today on behalf of the national, regional and local news media industry. This review acknowledges the importance of journalism in a democratic society, the vital role that the press takes in holding the powerful to account and producing verified news which informs the public. Viable business models must be found that ensure a wide variety of media are able to have a long and healthy future. Through digital platforms, news content is more widely consumed than ever before but the revenues to sustain the investment in that quality content are challenged. This review on a sustainable future is very welcome.center_img The UK has always benefited from a strong, well established and diverse press sector. However over the past decade the way in which people consume news has been transformed.Many UK newspapers have a strong online presence but falling print circulations and changes to advertising trends have caused the press sector to experience declining revenues. Latest figures show that around two thirds of local authority areas don’t have a daily local newspaper.The review will investigate the overall health of the news media, looking at the range of news available and how the press is adapting to the new digital market – including the role and impact of online platforms such as Facebook and Google, and the digital advertising supply chain.DCMS Secretary of State Matt Hancock said: A key focus of the review will be the local and regional press, who face an uncertain future. The review will also assess the operation of the digital advertising supply chain including funding flows and its role in creating or reducing value for publishers. It will also look at ‘clickbait’ and low quality news and if there is more that can be done to tackle this issue and undermine any commercial incentives associated with it.Also within the review’s remit will be an examination of how data created or owned by news publications is collected and distributed by online platforms.A panel of experts will be appointed in the coming months to lead the review.As well as identifying challenges, the review will make recommendations on what industry and government action can be taken, with a final report expected later this year.David Dinsmore, News Media Association chairman, said:last_img read more

Pidy promotes Levet to commercial manager

April 20, 2021 0 Comments

first_imgPidy has promoted Fabien Levet to the position of commercial manager.Levet, who has worked at Pidy for three years, has been promoted from his previous position of national account manager – foodservice.In his new role as commercial manager, he will be responsible for maintaining partner relationships and further growing the company’s presence within the foodservice, retail and industrial sectors across the UK, including overseeing the company’s national accounts and group end-users.Levet will work closely with Christina Stewart, who has recently been promoted to director of operations, as well as Dawn Knott, national account manager – industrial, and foodservice business manager Andrea Richardson.“I am delighted to have been offered the commercial manager position at Pidy UK,” said Levet.“My new role will still encompass foodservice, while also allowing me to build new contacts within both the retail and the industrial sectors that we operate.I am excited for the challenges that lie ahead, and looking forward to developing these key areas of the business. I’m proud to be part of a company with such a unique heritage and an unrivalled expertise in quality, innovative pastry production.”last_img read more

The Stringdusters’ Jeremy Garrett Talks About The New Solo Album He Recorded In His RV

March 2, 2021 0 Comments

first_imgAs a founding member of The Infamous Stringdusters, fiddler Jeremy Garrett has found himself a key component of the fastest rising bluegrass band in recent memory. After criss-crossing the country in a relentless drive to share their music formula for happiness, the Stringdusters’ astounding live performances have earned the band a rabid following. Garrett and his band mates hew close to the traditions and aesthetics established by Bill Monroe and his contemporaries while still finding space in the songs to explore and improvise.When a bit of time opened up on the band’s touring schedule recently he decided to record the second in his series The RV Sessions, due next month. With a summer filled with packed shows, high profile slots already well under way and their own annual get down The Festy yet to come, it seemed like a good time to catch up with the fiery fiddler and get his perspective on the amazing life he’s living. Fresh home from an incredible experience playing the Lockn’ Festival, our own Rex Thomson caught up with Garrett as he recovered from his long weekend and rested up for the fun still to come before summer’s end. Check out their conversation below.L4LM: After your band The Infamous Stringdusters received a Grammy nomination, how tempting was it to start introducing yourself as “Grammy nominated artist Jeremy Garrett?”Jeremy Garrett: Well you know, it is tempting. Anytime you can gain some clout in this industry and you get a chance to step up, well that’s awesome, but I haven’t tried to utilize that too much really. Awards and all that stuff are great. Accolades can be like the pulse of your success, but I think the most important thing is how devoted you are to your artistry. No award is going to change that.L4LM: Your band is reverent in their adherence to the traditions of bluegrass, with your floating arrangements and continual passing of the lead baton. What is it about the high and lonesome sound that elicits such dedication from you?JG: It is pretty much interwoven into the fabric of my entire life. I’ve been playing bluegrass since I was really young. I started on the violin when I was three, and my dad was a bluegrass musician so I’ve always been around the Stanley Brothers sound, Bill Monroe all the way down through the different ages of bluegrass. There is just something about the integrity of bluegrass, the purity of the music, in my opinion is higher than most. What I mean by that is…to play the tradition style of bluegrass you need to have the chops to back it up. In bluegrass music, you have to to hit all the notes, but also be ready to improvise at a moments notice. There are other music forms, like jazz, that are similar. There’s something I really respect in musicians…when I see people playing at the edge of their abilities.L4LM: So you started at age three. That’s a very early age to decide what you want to do with your life, isn’t it?JG: Yeah, when you’re three you don’t really know what you want. I was probably…definitely..urged on by my parents. The fiddle I am playing now is actually 102 years old. My dad actually acquired it when he was fifteen years old, but he never played it. He played the guitar. But we always had it around. It ended up being the fiddle that I had…in a way I had it before I was born.L4LM: That is pretty wild.JG: Yeah, it was always around. It was just kind of expected that that would be the instrument I gravitated to. This particular fiddle was too big for me back then when I started, I didn’t really start playing it until I was eleven or twelve years old. It just sat in the corner of the house and honestly, I was mesmerized by it. You don’t usually know what you want at that age but things like music, they become part of you, like talking, when you start that young. It’s just an extension of who I am and what I do.L4LM: You bring up a worry of mine whenever I talk to musicians who tour with invaluable instruments like yours, with all the tales of theft and accidental destruction we’ve seen over the years. Where is the line between wanting to bring your best to a show and protecting a cherished piece of your life?JG: There’s different arguments on that. Some people will buy a really nice instrument and they won’t want to take it on the road. I tell you though…if I couldn’t take it on the plane with me…and Southwest Air is really good about that, and it’s one that I prefer to go on, I don’t know what I would do. Most of the others have been gracious about letting me bring it on. I’ve had a few problems here and there. I literally won’t get on a plane of they try and make me check it. I have a really good flight case, it’s like a coffin. I’ve had it for around twenty years now, and the thing is still solid as a brick. It takes really good care of my instrument. The thing has actually been down the Salmon River on a float trip in Idaho in three times now actually. I take care of the instrument, I keep it tuned and oiled. Mostly, it’s a work tool. It’s my voice. I prefer to have one that is perfect for me, that fits me. The set up and response of the instrument is perfectly suited for me. L4LM: As I said, it’s just a worry of mine.JG: You don’t want to sacrifice your musical integrity because your road instrument can’t perform like your studio instrument does. You could probably find another one that can do the job well enough, but nothing is ever going to beat that one. At least for me anyway. I have this instrument I’ve always played…it’s so comfortable. It’s like my voice, literally another part of my voice. It’s a part of me at this point. It’s very rare that I wouldn’t know where it is at all times. Usually it’s in some secure area onstage or backstage. I just try and be careful. I’ve been absent minded with it a few times but luckily it’s managed to stay out of harms way. L4LM: Nikki Bluhm has made a regular habit out of joining you guys for shows. Are you looking to draft her into the band full time?JG: She’s already just about an honorary member. We plan to be making music with her for a long time to come. She just fits right into our scene and our voice…she’s just so talented. It’s also great to have a female aspect to our band. We’re a bit heavy on testosterone sometimes, so it’s great to have that versatility sometimes.So…whenever it works out that we are all in the same place at the same time, we find our way to the stage together one way or another.Check out The Infamous Stringdusters being joined onstage during Jam Cruise for a rollicking “Not Fade Away” below:L4LM: The atmosphere on tour buses can get pretty rough after a few weeks, so it has got to be refreshing to add some feminine energy to that mix.AG: Yeah! Everybody behaves a little bit more.L4LM: There was plenty of feminine energy on the last album from The Infamous Stringdusters, Ladies And Gentlemen. What was your thinking behind bringing in vocalists like Lee Ann Womack, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Abigail Washburn and more?JG: It was an idea born out of the same spirit as our working with Nikki. We’ve played with some ladies in the past like Sara Watkins, Aofie O’Donovan, Sarah Jarosz and we always enjoyed that lighter touch. Everyone in the band has written a song or two that has a lighter feel than the majority of our stuff and it suits the songs. Not that all the songs done by a female singer have to be lighter, it was just more of an aspect that wouldn’t necessarily fit with our usual style.It was also time to try something different. We had all those great connections with these talented performers. We wrote a batch of songs we thought would fit and we reached out to some of the incredibly talented women we knew, and some we just wanted to work with. We’re pretty happy with the result.L4LM: Speaking of new albums, you’re getting ready to release your second solo record, The RV Sessions Vol II in a few short weeks. Nervous?JG: Not in the least. I’m more excited than anything. As an artist…throughout history…that’s what we do. We create and then release new work. What new work means in this modern era of the music industry is still up for debate though. I still feel like, at least with the type of music I make, the circles that I run in and the era I came from that the album is the quintessential distillation of where you are as an artist. It can be a definition of your sound and an extension of the direction you are trying to explore in your music. I absolutely love playing with the Stringdusters and I get a lot of creativity out that way but as an artist I have a lot more I do than I do with the Stringdusters. I play mandolin and guitar, I write a lot more songs than could ever be contained in our repertoire because we have five guys writing and singing. It can create a little bit of restlessness as an artist and I wanted to get that creativity out. The material on both RV Sessions albums are songs that I have written and love but weren’t necessarily going to be recorded by the Dusters anytime soon. This new one that is just getting ready to come out is all instrumental. I’ve never done an instrumental record, even though I have played instrumental tunes all my life. I really respect instrumental music, and in my genre, bluegrass, it is pretty common to do an instrumental record…especially, say, fifteen years ago. Players I love, like Jerry Douglas, Sam Bush and Bela Fleck, guys who have a lot of integrity and style have released incredible albums in that vein. So the RV Sessions Vol II is the culmination of my experience and thoughts on how to make that kind of record. Since I live in my RV and I travel around all the time I did all the recording actually IN my RV. I have some nice recording gear I carry with me all the time. Whenever inspiration hits I can get it down, play all the parts.L4LM: That is actually pretty smart. if you make your home your workplace you can get some pretty nice tax breaks.JG: Yeah, there are benefits to it, that’s for sure. I love the RV life. You get to travel around and see the world. And if you have the gear you can actually get some pretty good work done along the way. I have a good amount of space. Sometimes I can just leave the gear set up and roll tape whenever I am feeling creative and get it all done. L4LM: The album is instrumental, but you have a strong voice. Were you at all tempted to throw a vocal or two in there?JG: Not really. I view my fiddle playing as an extension of my voice. I feel like people in my industry wisely worry about getting pigeonholed…getting known as so-and-so who does such-and-such. It’s got to spread yourself out and balance yourself out. Maybe you’re a song writer, maybe you’re a fiddle player. This time I wanted to explore the instrumental side of things and all the different things I can do.L4LM: So you know all these amazing players and you decided to make an entire album by yourself. JG: Yeah…I narrowed all the players down to myself. In this day and age it can be hard to get all the different players together in the same place at the same time. That, and studio fees in general can cost a lot of money and you don’t always sell a lot of records and make that back. And creatively I guess I just kinda knew what I wanted. I do plan on doing more of these Session albums with some guests in the future.L4LM: Would you recommend the RV life to others…is that the case?JG: Well…it is not for everyone. But if you’re a person who likes to travel I highly recommend it. My wife and I, we grew up together in Nashville and we were high school sweethearts. We’ve been married about twenty years now and we are getting ready to have our first baby in October, so we are excited about that.L4LM: Congratulations!JG: Thanks. We grew up in Nashville and about thirteen years ago we built a house and that was a great experience. Even though we aren’t there full time anymore I still go back and visit all the time. But the western part of the country speaks to me, the climate out here, the space and the vibe just feels right to me. I wanted to be out here more but I couldn’t imagine selling my home in Nashville buying a new one anywhere. Thanks to my job I don’t really have to be in any particular city…I always travel to wherever I need to be. So my wife and I thought “Let’s just buy a RV and travel around.” That was two years ago and now we have been all around the United States and most of the national parks and a bunch of places in between.L4LM: You just played at the Lockn’ festival a couple days ago. Did you manage to have any fun at all?JG: Just a wee bit. That event is just awesome. Anytime we get to play with Keller Williams is welcome…and playing with Phil Lesh of course….all of the staff and team there killed it. It was just an amazing time for sure. Great crowd. When that stage spun around and all those people were waiting there smiling….that was really memorable. I’m still recovering from the experience, honestly.L4LM: Well, thanks for taking time out of the healing process to chat with us!JG: It was my pleasure. See you out there!last_img read more

Fire Ants Here to Stay

January 17, 2021 0 Comments

first_img“We know how to control fire ants and do it economically in urban settings,” Sparkssaid. “We haven’t found an affordable way to control them in open rural areas, such aspastures.” “We’re developing control programs,” she said. “We’re studying learning how to bestuse the control programs we already have. And we’re finding more environmentallyfriendly ways to control fire ants.” “If you get rid of them one year and don’t treat the next,” she said, “they’ll be the firstthings to come back. But they’ll become established in higher numbers, because theywon’t have larger mounds to compete with. Instead of 20 to 40 mounds, you’ll havehundreds.” But zapping fire ants is an every-year commitment. “If you treat them only one year,”she said, “you’ll be worse off than if you didn’t treat them at all.” “I don’t anticipate that phorid flies will be released in Georgia for fire ant control untilscientists at the Gainesville laboratory have studied them for many years,” Sparks said. “The fact that it’s a biological control agent indicates this fly won’t totally eliminatefire ants,” said Beverly Sparks, a University of Georgia entomologist. “We can get them out and keep them at levels that are acceptable in urban settings,”Sparks said. “But if you have 300-400 acres of pastures, it’s no longer cost-effective.” But don’t expect the tiny flies to decapitate Georgia fire ants soon. Scientists are working on other biological controls, too. For now, though, everythingthey know about killing fire ants won’t get rid of them. “All we can do now is controlthem,” Sparks said. “We tend to think of fire ants in terms of eradication,” Sparks said. “Phorid flies andother biological controls will stress colonies. They’ll suppress them. But they won’ttotally get rid of them.” Sparks’ research shows the best fire ant control is a simple two-step process.”Broadcasting a bait twice a year will reduce fire ant populations by 90 percent,” shesaid. “Then supplement the bait by treating problem mounds that survive with a contactpesticide.” A few phorid flies in Florida will have Georgians cheering them on in their naturalwork, chopping off fire ants’ heads.center_img With current products, effective fire ant control costs $20 to $25 per acre per year, shesaid. In home lawns, school yards and recreational fields, that’s reasonable. So scientists look for new ways to control them. Another UGA researcher, Ken Ross,is studying fire ant genetics. The technology to eliminate fire ants hasn’t arrived, she said. But for most people,controlling them is another matter. The U.S. Department of Agriculture released some Brazilian phorid flies July 9 tobegin field tests near its Gainesville, Fla., lab. But Sparks said biological controlagents won’t banish fire ants from U.S. soil. Sparks, a research and extension scientist in the UGA College of Agricultural andEnvironmental Sciences, focuses her own research on controlling fire ant populations. Specifically, Ross is trying to find why fire ants go from single-queen tomultiple-queen colonies. In the latter, worker ants sometimes destroy egg-layingqueens. If he can find the genetic trigger that causes that, he may be able to causesingle-queen mounds, in effect, to commit suicide. The prospect is fascinating, as is the ant-beheading phorid fly. The tiny fly lays its egginside a fire ant’s body. The egg hatches into a larva, which moves into the ant’s headand causes it to fall off. The fly completes its development inside the fallen head. Fire ants compete intensely with each other, she explained. Untreated, their populationwill level off at 20 to 40 mounds per acre. But don’t get too excited. Having to treat fire ants year after year is far too costly to be practical in farm-sizeareas.last_img read more

A Special Treat

December 30, 2020 0 Comments

first_imgClick here to subscribe to the Pharr Out BlogHey y’all,When Brew and I REALLY indulge ourselves – like buying a soda or ice cream cone, we call our extravagance a “special treat.” Yesterday was our one-month wedding anniversary (yes, we keep track and yes, we celebrated it… for better or worse we are THAT couple) and it was full of special treats.The day started much like any other; I woke up at 5:30 AM, rolled over, kissed my husband adios and was off hiking before 6. About 3 hours into my morning hike I had a VERY special treat that I had been waiting on for a long time. I was a few miles from the VT/MA border when I heard something ahead of me on the trail. I looked up and- much to my surprise- saw a bear 30 yards away, my first bear ever on the East Coast. My initial thought was, “BEAR!!!” But then the more logical and conditioned side of my brain quickly chimed in: “No way. You’ve hiked over 5,000 miles on the East Coast and lived here your whole life and never seen a bear. You’re banned from bear sightings on this side of the Mississippi!” Then the two sides of my brain conferred through an intuitive checklist: Black? Check. Furry? Check. Rather large yet stalky? Check. Big, chubby ears? Check. (For some reason the ears were really important and this animal definitely had bear ears.) So yes, with requirements met, I decided that I was in fact staring at a bear. Then the creature spotted me, and bolted deep into the woods. But it was too late! I had seen it! I had spotted a bear! Yessss…!!!My next special treat of the morning came from entering a new state. Not a state of mind, mind you, but a literal state. That is, I crossed the border from Vermont to Massachusetts. I love Massachusetts because it brings on a slew of short states that you can hike across in 2 to 3 days and feel like you’re making real progress.When I finally reached the pre-appointed road, I ran into my husband’s arms and told him about the morning excitement (Yes, I literally ran into his arms and yes, I do it at every road crossing). Usually for lunch I grab some peanut butter and a banana, sit down for 10 minutes, then walk on, but on this day Brew had picked up a special anniversary lunch- a Subway sandwich! I love Subway! Some people are haters. In fact, I had to turn Brew onto the sandwich chain; but I say if you don’t like it, it’s your own fault… I mean you create your own meal – you’re your own Sandwich Artist, for goodness sake. And without prior guidelines, Brew had created a masterpiece.After lunch I climbed up Mount Greylock and Brew started up the mountain with me. Usually you can get water on top of the mountain at the lodge, but this summer all services at the summit are closed for renovations. Brew didn’t want me worrying about water, so before he hiked back to the car, he ran to a water source three-fourths of a mile off the trail to fill up my bottle. Talk about chivalry.Now I must have some kind of homing device that sets off rain clouds as I get close to the summit of Greylock. When I was a mile from the top, the sky opened up and I had to hike in a complete downpour. Unlike my ‘05 hike, though, there was no thunder or lightning or marble sized hail pelting me. And that in itself was a special treat.I met Brew that evening in Cheshire, MA. We found a place to sleep and shower before going out for pizza and ice cream. And when we got back to the tentsite while we were brushing our teeth, Brew discovered that his Vaseline jar had spilled all over his backpack. While he was cleaning things up, he had the nerve to laugh at me and say I “looked like Pocahontas” with my hair parted in the middle and my headlamp over it. He might have gotten the better of me if he hadn’t spit toothpaste into his beard then laughed so forcefully that he farted super-loud. But then that brought me to tears, and the tears blinded me and caused me to hit my head on the doorframe, which turned my tears of laughter into tears of pain and confusion. (This entire episode took place in about 2 minutes, sans alcohol. Amazing, eh?)Clearly, it was time for us to bring this day to a close. We ended it just how we began: in our tent lying beside each other. My favorite and best special treat of the trip is having Brew here to support me and share in this experience. Here’s to a great first month, and many more down the trail.last_img read more

When to Speak Up When You See Danger on the River

December 30, 2020 0 Comments

first_imgDear Mountain Mama,Last weekend I watched a couple with their dog getting into a flat-bottom canoe without air bags. I wondered whether they mostly paddled flatter sections of the river upstream. I debated whether to say something about the danger posed by paddling without float bags. I decided against it.Later that day we came across the same group after their boat had capsized. We helped them get their canoe and gear to shore. They told us that their dog was probably already on the bank, waiting for them.When we righted their boat, we discovered that the dog hadn’t swum to shore. She had gotten trapped underneath the canoe. Despite our best efforts to resuscitate her, she was gone.I feel partially to blame. Am I?Yours,Didn’t Dare to Speak——————————————————————————Dear Didn’t Dare to Speak,What a tremendous weight to carry around. The blame game is dangerous to play. The what-ifs and could-have-beens are too many to speculate. And no matter how long you linger in the feeling-guilty-space, you will never know if events might have unfolded differently had you said something.Didn’t Dare to Speak, all we can do is learn from the past. And we can all learn to do better the next time around.Once I too was at a put-in and saw something that made me want to say something. There was a father and his two children, both under ten. Nobody was wearing a helmet as they started rafting down the Class III stretch of whitewater. A feeling welled up deep in side of me, a truth that begged to be voice. But instead, I told myself, don’t meddle, you’re just starting to paddle. What do you know about rafting anyway?Not an hour I looked into that father’s eyes as he held the body of his nine-year old daughter. The raft had rapped on a rock, she alone had fallen out, and hit her head. His eyes met mine with a bewildered, hollow look. I would have traded a million times over the mind-your-own-business glare that he might have given me at the put-in, had I said his children should wear helmets.We are all connected, more than we even imagine. Loss ripples through us, and all of us grieve. Because of our humanity, we have a right to share our concerns for one another. That kind of caring is at the very essence of our humanity. Be part of what makes the river community so strong by daring to speak when you see danger on the river.Best,Mountain Mamalast_img read more