Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Guns of Navaronne

(Younger readers may need to consult parents, grandparents or just Google for the reference.) OK, we don't live in Navaronne but it certainly seems like it at the moment.  When we first moved here there was the odd vineyard but now the grapes seem to have taken a leaf out of the Triffids' book (see above) - they are on the march and we are now surrounded by them.  Now, to some, this might sound like heaven (vineyards -not Triffids).  However I have to assure you that it ain't! The owners apparently have a dislike of birdlife eating their grapes (despite the fact that they've all been told to cut down on production -"can't have a glut, folks, it'll bring prices down").  So, in order to discourage the local avian fauna, they use bird scarers in the form of gas guns that go off periodically in the hope that the birds haven't yet gone deaf or realised that there's no birdshot appearing out of the barrels and that it is therefore OK to carry on munching. This can be tolerated during the day to a degree but when a rogue gun decides that it is going to carry on all night (at 7 minute intervals - I've timed them), it's a bit much.  In fact, more than a bit! Now you may well ask why the vineyard owners don't just go out and turn the damn things off.  Good question!  The answer however is that they do not live anywhere near their vineyards - in fact they are probably living the high life in Auckland or Wellington in that other Island to the North of us.  Calls to the local Noise Control people don't produce much luck either; all they seem to do is record your complaint and then wait for someone else to complain before they send someone out to investigate (we are 20 minutes away from the nearest town).  The results are very grumpy workers and children having to go to school. 

Despite the fact that it was old aircraft and lots of vineyards that enticed me to move here, I'm starting to have reservations about the grape industry.  The old aircraft of course make up for it all, especially when we hear news of more old timers making their way to Omaka to roost. There, rant over!

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