Friday, August 31, 2007

When To Catch Them


dick walker's two bites a day sounds optimistic this week: red moons and north east winds, right raspers making the fleece feel cheap. fingers too numb to turn the pages of dave steuart's classic to see if there's a "when" chapter still left to write.
sawdust & halibut pellets, sounds like the lucky dip at the village fete. bob says they leave the bushy gates open at night for "security reasons" to give emergency services easy access. crack-heads who fall on broken gin bottles. lock the gates, let them repent as they bleed to death.
you & me, we're slaves to different ends of the day. i'd probably catch more if i fished a morning. you might if you took a flask of afternoon tea and sat till the gin was delivered on that red moon tray.

so dave steuart's still outside the gates. o for the days when writers had their own tackle shops. instead of selling it they get given tackle now and they should be ashamed to have their names on it. soon as you put some sponsered cunt's name on it it'll break, snap, leak, twist or disintegrate. is dave the steuart of the grey plastic tackle box? well, they last 40 years.

gin moons or not, it was tuesday after tea at penelope pit. the sawdust were there too, all fishing from their car boots. one drawback with the sun; the fairweather drive-up pellet-heads. they were all on the calm end, backside of the wind. i set up on the chilly bay right in the teeth after gathering a dustbin's worth of 3 euro groundbait packets and throwaway red worm tubs from last sunday's recreational litter-bugging dance. it wasn't looking good, i re-tied the rigs a dozen times and fussed over where the leads fell. but i left one under the bush on the right, another with a 3-bait stringer 40 yrds into the bay out front on some stony ground.

the pellet-heads were packing up as the run came to the long-rod; fought till last minute of extra time, the golden goal, 1-0 to me, pellet-heads gutted:

yesterday the same wind still cut mustard on the nogent pit. same fuss, same doubts, but i put the left-hander into 20 feet of water and the other a pop-up in the weed bed a yorker's length out.

first dark and listless carp on gin winter-warmers rolled in the gutter as the red moon made the water slicken like oil and the dew felt like a freeze-up. i was packing up when i hit one bleep on the deep rod and found it snagged. same snag i had when you were there, remember? i was pissing in the bushes and you saw my rod go twice round the moon in the rests. this one came loose too, like a sailfish blown into the shipping lane:

i'm baiting your swim in any case. "one true void" is published by two ravens press in jan 08, but i should have a copy by november, when your rodrests will be pushed onto the mud, as you will be if you don't make it to mike walker's two-meals a day lake. in the meantime, you'll have a bushy common on the third day, i'm sure of it, in time for the fry up. bob's on a golden duck there too.

skinhead moonstomp on the turntable


How To Catch Them


well done on your rotten bait bushwhacker what a lump. you must have written the lost chapter in dave steuart's 1954 - 'carp - how to catch them', - 'carp how to catch them after three seasons of rain'. that's what i call stalking, sometimes i feel as though it might take me three seasons to bank a common, i don't mind the wait, in fact it may make the final fish all the more satisfying and feels a little bit more how carp fishing used to be. after all it was dick walker who said in a letter to bb 'two bites in a day from a carp are as much as an ordinary mortal can hope for'. he obviously never anticipated fishing at bushy park where the permits would be torn up if the locals were told that two runs a day was the limit. i went there last wednesday, leaving home in the dark and sneaking through the open gates at 06:20. it was barely light blowing a gale and raining streadily. my only joy was that i had a flask of tea and that the water would be deserted. the deer were huddled under the oak coppices and i plotted up under a big willow. carp rolled under my feet and jumped over the lily pads. i put my bait in the deepest water for once, mindful that that would be my best chance of a take. i wanted a fish before anyone else arrived and then i would retreat to the cafe and a fry up. i didn't have a touch all morning, the wind got up and carried the sound of church bells over the bracken, seven, eight, nine o'clock. by eleven the place was packed again and the sawdusts were hauling them out on halibut pellet long lines. having watched a noddy land a fish and then conspire to allow it to slither back into the water with the hook only to be played in again i slipped away and was home for lunch. at least i'm bringing the average catch down to walker levels.

dave steuart was a good london writer - wrote books on roach and had a tackle shop in twickenham. a lot of his old customers come to the stall to talk about maggot baths and bait droppers. steuart's still alive, living down in hampshire. his wife kay was a tarn ghost in the sixties, got a great pic somewhere of her behind a pair of mk iv's. coolness personified.

thanks for the spec for one true void - can't wait - when's the publishing date? we having some kind of celebration? maybe the rod rests won't be empty in the next swim - a lot depends on the stall takings and book progress. can smell that french cider already. don't stop cutting the grass on the landing strip just yet.

herbert jenkins and other lost fifties publishers on the birdtable


Monday, August 27, 2007

Catching The Eight 30


wouldnt mind a soaking to fish a river like the kennet, though here the huisne could do with a roving by the likes of you and that perfection. you might get to take the same picture again, plenty of undiscovered chub under the parsnips. i'd coached mike walker in the art of pursuading you over here with talk of carp like pumpkins, but your tea kettles and bread punches must've gone to his head, or you spotted the hook. cant get bob on a boat neither. ten years of tea and lies and postal orders but the nearest he's got is a passport form which he's rolled his boilies on the last 5 yrs in any case. so your leave is really cancelled? well if it means the london book will get to print, then i'll put up with empty rodrests in the swim next door come november on walker's pitch. your waterlog "white house" article, and all your london gospels, is enough to stop the olympics. bob's right when he says you're the only contributor to waterlog who's doing anything important. the rest of them are just your tributaries flowing in all directions. your london book will turn even sinclair and ackroyd into lost becks disappearing down a thames sewage gully.
work has had me in snags all week. 7 days between outings, watching the rain dribble down the window, going outside like getting a slap with a wet cloth. by thursday, all fighting waterproofs wounded and down to the reserves, i found myself doing battle again. completely ambushed by a delivery of stair rods early afternoon, laure phoned with a get-out clause: could i drop her sproggs at the nogent swimmer and she'd pick em up later. well, if they wanted to get wet twice... the carp rods were still in the back of the vehicle, so in the downpour i left them there, squeezed the kids round the fishy pong and dropped them off. by rights i should've driven home again, but "the rods were with me". the way home goes past the gravel pit. my baits were rotton from the week before, the windscreen was a bathescope, but i'd left the logic at home. short shopping detour, a bag of frolic from leclerc to bait up with, and a little zip up case for my new digital camera, and i parked up beside the church and walked the mile round the pit in my t-shirt: best to keep the dry clothes in the rucksack for later. low-down anti-gypsy barrier means i cant get the land rover into the lane anymore, let alone down to the carpark; nearest slot's beside the church, an extra 400 yards walk.
fucking sick of waterproofs that melt like pva, and pva more water resistant than my army poncho. set the rods up squelching, then stood like a marsh duck till the five o'clock downpour began to ease off around 8. till then the morale was no fitter for the purpose than the pva. i put the dry clothes on, born-again, running on instinct at least. for 3 seasons i'd seen a good fish top in the same place 20yrds out, always the first up of an evening, always about 8 o clock. saved up this swim till i needed it, and today seemed right to put a bait there. i was just doing the settings on the camera when the run came at 8.30. 35lb mirror. didnt jump this time:

lit the stove too that night, but not for the first time. all the summer's corks long burnt and up in smoke through stove-pipe hat, the summer of rhumatics and trench foot and carp blowing water spouts like whales one over the plimsol line. i must've caught that carp as it was putting it's clock forward, half way through its tail turning orange.
it's the time of year too when i have to bushwhack into my caravan, the vegetation up & over, way into row F:

feel like a castaway in the wind in the willows myself, till the first cold snap will me unpacking the moleskin long johns and the weasel fur mittens.

goretex gift voucher on the birdtable


Friday, August 24, 2007

Wind In The Willows


parsnips on the bird table - dig for victory. every car boot here is like a harvest festival. deformed roots and cans of baked beans left by the altar. a feast in a time of famine. lost time, lost fish, the theme of the season so far. having bumped that common at bushy i went to the wasing estate on the kennet as a guest of roy, who has a weakness for good floats and a nose for barbel. never fished that stretch of the kennet before. what a contrast to bushy, a private estate rather than a public park, a wildwood with downed trees, reed beds, water meadows and moss covered bridges. no sawdust specimen hunters here, just the wind in the leaves. the river twice the width of the loddon with half the depth in places. didn't know whether to trot for dace, or weedle out chub with breadflake and lobs. went for the chub and lost a good 'un in the tree roots. then i lost the afternoon as the rain came down in a deluge. put up my b james kennet perfection, a john richardson avon and managed a perch, my first fish of the season, only a few ounces but celebrated nonetheless. in the swim with the fallen tree, then a chub no bigger than my little finger, a fat headed circus freak gudgeon that swallowed a lob and after that a couple more perch. it rained and rained and rained. a few claps of thunder. roy had a barbel and lost another. the river came up by a foot and by the time we left in the gloom the track was flooded. corsa just made it through and i never wanted a land rover so much in my life. a pint in the pub by the railway crossing and then the drive back into town. took three days for my gear to dry out.

mick walker came to the stall yesterday for a cuppa - good to meet him, he was trying to persuade me to get on the ferry but i've got pieces to write and an autumn of auctions. not to mention the london book. reading sinclair's edge of the orison, 'in 1841 the poet john clare fled an asylum in epping forest and walked eighty miles to his home in northborough. he was searching for his lost love, mary joyce - a woman three years dead.' the new victorian big emptiness. just like bushy park once the holidays are over and the carp's fins are turning orange. tell bob to look out for the stove pipe hat. northerlies for three days here, first fire of the autumn last night and august isn't out, old coal and the summer's corks.

phoenix on the birdtable


Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Napoleon's Eyewash


the last week has disappeared like an old master under new daubs, a clean sweep like your long shingle beaches. in other words, lost time, lost photos, lost fish. from your ballad of the back-roads i can't believe our bumpers didn't cross. except for the mackeral, we were in the same kind of land-warp. 2 friday teatimes ago me and laure took off for the loire on impulse, packing the streamlined version of the 4-day kit: tent, rods, box of matches and a corkscrew. we made beaugency by 8 under skies like a mafia thug's windscreen. the loire was high and belting and we pitched our tent on the embankment ridge and drank napoleon's eyewash from a green bottle. the next 3 days we navigated the dead arm of the loire, a basket weavers dream, a wadi of whicker saplings and ridged tracks where only land rovers dare to tread. we bucked in low box for miles alongside a wild river still running at spring levels. chub who haven't seen a fishing box since genevoix's day and carp rolling mid-stream who've never even seen a chub.

we chilled the wine in the landing net and laure gathered driftwood and built the fire in a rondel of stones. she sharpened roasting sticks from saplings and we ate grilled sausages and baked spuds. the sun came out and bomber harris spotted the smoke and sent faith, hope & charity in jospehine's montgolfiers as i trotted for dace in an evening feed.

came home to cold rain and dropping temperatures, the pit carp on autumn pay, only turning up for piece work on night shift now. took a hit-and-hold leather from under the trees on penelope pit in a big wind the other night, but blanked on the town pit after running into fellow poachers at midnight, fording the margins with buckets and nets, crayfish mafia as suprised to see me as i was to see them. a man and his 2 sons, an upbringing to save the world from your cider mutants. we swapped notes and passed like herons in the night back to our business. there were carp shelling the margins like lazy artillary from the ridge, but nothing on target.
still on photographic ration pack: the good camera turned up 3rd time lucky off ebay but with the wrong battery. former good one came back from kid's summer camp broken beyond repair, and the cheap substitute which took the above is no more: it went for 10 euros at a boot sale in the rain. i'll be sending in sketches of my fish, chalk outlines on the murder mat.

first parsnips on the bird table


Nelson's Blood


poacher's pond looks a goer, well worth getting on a lysander but don't wait for me, get in the reeds and get the eels in. i could be over in the autumn but the big push might be in the spring. must be a few wildies laid up in the silt, too. perfect for corn on a size six. after bushy park i took flight up the A11 to north norfolk, big skies, wide marshes, long shingle beaches and ancient oak woods. village after village with one pub and a pond full of crucians. bookshops and barrels of ale. grass growing down the middle of the road, colonies of sparrows. stayed for three days and mapped estate lakes for the winter, climbing red brick walls and taking the back roads. yellow corn fields against black skies, thunder storms on the beach, driftwood fires and mackerel boiled in a bucket. drank nelson's blood in burnham thorpe, then to the beach at cley in the dusk to take mackerel on a single spoon, the sniper's supper, the one eyed admiral's feast.

lady hamilton on the birdtable


Thursday, August 9, 2007

Cider With Mutants


your dawn dispatch took me jolting over the ruts down memory bus-lane, the summer dawns in a london park. there is no city scum more stiller or the need of a fish more depressingly urgent in the world than in a london park at 6.30am as the sun comes up to sour the stomach. and to come so close to going home for breakfast john. hooking dogs and ducks and having hyperactive commons fed on burger buns tailgate old mens' floats is a great part of the game and i'm pleased to see you've kept that tradition alive. you did very well to get a take first time on. i want to see your float as much as a fish on your mat.
bb's words are gospel here too, engraved on the rod butts. more If than but, i'm not a dawn angler. unless the wind is slapping the boards, i can't fish through that sense of diminishing hope you get after the early morning bubblers have dispersed and the fry huddle the margins for the day. your photo fixes that classic atmosphere beautifully. the rising sun sours my stomach and blears the eyes and suddenly the rest of the day has to be endured at half-mast. i like getting to the water after tea with the wind at full flight, an hour away from a nice shade, hopes building as the fish start showing and smelling out the groundbait. unlike the mornings, time is on your side and every blank hour means the next hour only brings you nearer that first pull on the tip. my whole life is based round avoiding other anglers & kids & dogs(no cider mutants in france) and that's another fact which makes evenings my domaine. the world disappears into a black hole till that little red light comes on...
the last two trips to penelope pit didn't pan out like that. the solitude was there but the fish were turning on sixpences. cast a yard wide and they won't play. yesterday afternoon i tried getting there before six when they give away their positions for the coming hours. only there was an air raid and i just got the anderson up in time. must have been bomber harris come back to finish off the snipers. a hundred thousand tons of ballbearings hit the water just as i got the second rod out and had my feet up:

h2o bombs or a leak from a lead research factory which even downed a few swallows attacking from below. the anderson was still leaking after the last air raid but i managed to get the pva saftely away so it didnt fall into enemy hands for a meltdown. trouble is, a straffing like that kept the fish in hiding, probably till dawn when you should've been there to take over the quill watch with a chick-pea. by midnight i was in full winter gear, 2 carl-forbes under fleece and thinsulate and gortex and dri-plus and just the gloves missing. i drove home scattering rabbits and knowing i should've put the right hand rod 3 feet to the right just before black-out.
with autumn just over the hill i'm taking one more 3-day trip with laure on the off-chance this friday, rods in back and mais in bucket, over the loire & just beyond, before watching the local leisure waters empty of their campers and become fishable in solitude again after august 15. this is your cue, of course. i've given up trying to get bob over to france. i've added one intriguing little water to the list. this one is half a mile down the lane from me, a poaching job, an acre of rush fringed pool owned by some parisian git who comes for 2 hours a year just to walk his dog round it for ten minutes then phone up the garden care to cut the brush back and mow the grass. this could be the lost moat from roger deakin's garden. i've long thought of poaching it, thinking it maybe a rudd haven. so i sat by it the other night at sunset to see how the land lay, seeing as the pond is visible from the lane(following spy-photo taken mid afternoon in drive by shooting):

as the moon rose red, so did the carp. double or quits. i'm putting in the mais for a week down by those rushes where even bomber harris wouldn't find me after dark. the dummy run on that red moon night was accomplished with avon wrapped in a groundsheet and done up with bale twine, worms in pocket. twice had to throw the rod in the ditch and whistle on my way down the lane as the local farmer stopped to shake hands and inevitably said: taking a stroll? ten minutes with silver paper and a size 10 in the margins produced a little rudd. i'm thinking of putting an dead rudd eel rod out too. something tells me there's an elephant's trunk or a teenage mutant swimming round this place. what do you think? worth getting on a lysander?

black out drapes on the bird table


Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Sawdust Specimen Hunters


finally made it down to bushy park yesterday, to the leg of mutton. left home at half five and was on the water by half six. an august mist coming off the bracken and the water like a stew. carp all over the place. the sun hot even at seven. i fished chick pea on a goose quill that john richardson made - copper wire and all. think the carp wanted to take the float more than the bait. got plenty of liners. was tempted to fish on the top but there wasn't a ripple in sight. just good to sit by the water and drink tea. by ten the wind had got up and the fish had gone down. i switched to a leger - 1/4 ounce arlesley and long tail and had storming take. back-winding for jesus, bottle top butt-ringer. a good fish, a common probably set off down the other end of the pond running the clutch. not wanting it to cross the lines of the two old boys fishing next to me i clamped down and the hook pulled. that was it for the rest of the day. the only unhooking i got to do was taking a size 4 out of a dog's jaw - a discarded link tied to an 1 ounce lead. the owner was fairly sanguine when he had every right to be furious. despite the legion of rules the baliff didn't show up and by the time i packed up it felt like shooting apples in a bucket - a cheap fairground ride. i committed the cardinal sin of staying beyond midday and the pond filled up with kids on holiday - sawdust specimen hunters developing boilie related psycosis, name dropping the big carp in the heron and teenagers out of their heads on cheap cider. i vowed not to go out of the house for a week and sit in the garden reading bb - confessions of a carp fisher. he had it right when he said, 'early morning and late evening will find your carp addict abroad - during the midday hours he is not visible, having left the waterside. so then after a long apprenticeship, he takes upon himself something of the character of the carp - he is most active at sunrise and sunset, and the midday hour knows him not'. i'll be back there over the coming weeks but the midday curfew will be observed. i just wanted to fish but the place i should have fished was really the moat in roger deakin's garden. i remember my visit to his house in eye in suffolk a few years ago. the moat was like a medieval stew pond. you could have fished it forever and blanked for eternity. it would have been paradise. he left the house unlocked and we went inside - i was with his friends paul and sarah - the kettle was still on the stove and there was an unfinished manuscript on the table. probably the book that's just been published. there was an abandoned railway carriage in the garden. no sawdust specimen hunters, no teenage mutants, no dog snares. nobody at all.

a dream of solitude on the bird table


Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Penelope Pitstop

commiserations that blighty has its foot in its mouth again and your chub get the knock-on. all the more reason to go bushy tailed down to the heron pond where it's all mouth in margins when it rains, bob reckons. and i should've guessed dcarl-forbes wanted those copper fittings for his tench rod and not his home-perm salon. you're right, he was a man after my own heart. his "small stream fishing" was meant for my childhood on the kent ditch.
i write in haste to get back to the swim pictured below:

i call it penelope pit because it's a scruffy ex-ballast hole about 12 acres beside a route nationale like whacky races. full of neglected carp because the small town the other side of this 24hr lorry race is all but underwater itself, in a contained way, with a canal, the river and about 10 other pits all more conducive to french leisure angling. it's like bomber harris missed the V2 launchers and left 20 holes at random which filled up with water from a standpipe leak, one pît for every street, fishing under the streetlamp instead of bouncing a ball off the wall. penelope pit is free and unpatrolled so i can fish undetected several hours after dark. when lorries come off the roundabout i light up like a roman candle for two seconds in the glare but the fish are used to it. these are dexie's midnight runners. the one below gave me one bleep at 12 by the church clock in a deep margin the other night. called it i-leeny:

photo quality has hit an all time low since laure's 11yr old girl took the good camera to holiday camp and i had to buy a cheap 20 quid 1mega-pixel stand-in at the supermarket on the way fishing, 3 battreries per shot. you can see i've got the carl-forbes roll-on up to my neck. fish might've gone 25. i've ordered 2 proper cameras off ebay recently and both were knicked in the post. got a refund and ordered a third. in the meantime, expect carp that look like holiday snaps from dan dare's paradise lake on mars.

mutley on the bird table


The Carl Forbes Kent Copper Ferrule Roach Perfection


thanks for the despatch. the ghost of david carl forbes has cast its shadow over the whole week with giant roach swimming down the flooded streets. they rescued a shoal at worcester cricket ground. have you still got the chit dcf signed? did it make it onto the wall of fame in the caravan? he's a hero in all senses, a man after your own heart - sturdy says of him 'he cared passionately about such things as the desirability of organic farming and over fishing the sea by ruthlessly efficent deep sea fishing. his son carl recalls that he learned a lot about the desirability of natural farming methods whilst going fishing with his father who knew at least one local organic farmer with land adjacent to the edenbrook in kent. in these convictions he was perhaps somewhat ahead of his time'. perhaps your barn is not as empty as you think.

great shot of your land-rover, built for road trips. landscape like the lea valley before and after the olympics. you serious about buying the boat shed? shame you didn't meet my scouse mate tony crosbie at emma peel lake. he lives in japan and has just named his new born son elvis liverpool crosbie. probably feeds him on boilies from a vending machine as well. how's the 600 page edit coming along? i'm trying to clear the decks and buy myself some time to fish in august and september. bushy is on hold until my new permit comes through - which will hopefully be monday and now the foot and mouth which threatens to shut everything down. was up at woodys of wembley last night dropping off a couple of rods for restoration and they had a great 8 ft carp stalking rod - split cane, intermediates - benwoods of london for a oner. you ever heard of them? they're a new one on me. was sorely tempted by the rod but cash tight as ever. might have to go back there.

in my search for the history of the thames professionals mark the zim put me onto some footage he shot. it's amazing - bream like you've never seen before - go to you tube and type in 'underwater thames weirpool'.

fire on the horizon, dead cow on the bird table


Marc Bolan's Coup De Peche


my old woman would've called david carl forbes a smarmy git. the white roll neck jumper and winkle picker waders, golden wonder cheese and onion farts, vimto in the haversack, the joiner in the white mini who runs off with the dowager's daughter when he comes to fix the weatherboards. in 1976 i was working in the village builders merchants when dcf himself walked in and bought a boxful of copper fittings. all the plumbers looked like him and they were all on "cash only" so how would i know. the drill was to ask them if they wanted a ticket. if they didn't you negotiated a price and put the fiver in your pocket then rushed down maidstone angling centre come saturday for some sealey flashpoints and an ounce of efgeeco or a rubber V for your back rodrest. david carl forbes said yes to the ticket and thus i discovered his name. only afterwards did it click. same with the archbishop of canterbury who came in for a palette of bricks, yellow flettons they were. no ticket too, so he wasn't patching up the cathedral himself. (i've seen french mayors going round the commune with a bucket of tar filling up the holes in the road themselves to save rate payers money. ken might like a bucket of tar and a brush). point is, if you had david carl forbes copper fittings i might understand why you abandoned a quill start on bushy for a night in special ops on dambuster lagers. me, i went on armed tour, laure navigating, the spring-hanger bushes so worn they were sounding like bomb-bay doors closing on the chassis. we were three days on roads an axle wide, rabalais country, dropping through lost valleys into the loir where every crossroads looked like the one that killed camus as he travelled to paris in a traction avant with his manuscript in a cardboard suitcase.

the first pits were carp infested but booby-trapped with internal security regulations and 1 metre 9 anti-gypsy barriers too low for the landrover even minus roofrack and wheels. the leisure pit was windswept and weedy, slimy balls of poisson-chat tumbling through it like u boats on meltdown. the loir beside it crashed down a weirpool made of old chateau walls and fallen willows, the chateau spike-topped with rotton wooden shutters hanging on with one hinge. we took a room in the one bar/restraunt left standing, part of the chateau wall, a village where every garden shed is a medieval tower with battlements. chilled muscadet, rabbit and mushrooms served by a 12 year old kid, the same wallpaper they lined camus' suitcase with, and in the morning a breakfast of home made jams in mouldy jars and coffee you could paint the railings with, all for 25 quid. old france, the one with dubonnet still painted on the gable ends of roadside cottages. the one sarkozy is going to wipe out in the affluenza wars to come when i'll be pouring boiled porridge off the battlements of these gutted chateaux and
taking to the water mills as the tear gas drifts over the pool like a tench angler's final dawn.

we backtracked down the loir past miles of "coup de pêche", riverside allotments with dilapidated sheds and old platforms, the gutted mills like this one, smashed windows and collapsed pontoons. these "coup de pêche" are the remnants of the industrial ethic, the working man's swim for life, passed down from father to son, where after a hard week assembling dynamos you drive out to your pontoon beside the river and fill a bucket with bleak and gudgeon while parafin-stove pam fries them up for supper. these allotments have begun to fall under sarkozy's plan, becoming real estate for the urban spacemen, with their tinted windows and supermarket fishing kits, the concrete poets. but for the moment the old boys hang onto them like old shutters on a single hinge, sitting out the five o'clock shadow on an old metal tractor seat bolted to a wobbly pier. the best i saw was the one with an estate agents sign on it. a green shipplapped boat shed on stilts with the cabin up a wormholed ladder. the whole structure had shifted sideways in the wind and the vines were holding it up. the swim was on a slow wide bend, the far margins backed onto wheat fileds, lily fringed, slow and deep, overhanging willows and and an upended poplar. inside the shed the canvas chairs were shredded by the moths from camus' suitcase. an old mitchell 300 box on the plank for a table. dead metal from flattened jerry cans once lining the balcony lifted and clapped in the wind. if "one true void" sells 100 copies i'll go back there and buy it. i'll assemble dynamos at night if i have to. a gravel pît not 100 yards away, a 2 star munciipal campsite with one swiss campervan in the height of the season. the campsite manager had never seen a bite alarm before and was more than baffled when he saw me lob out a pva tube full of pellet. i should have read the signs. he'd never seen a fish come out either. a 10 acre gravel pit with 6ft margins and juicy looking islands, and no signs of ever having been fished, 10 feet from our tent. he did say he'd heard that someone caught a perch... i sat it out till the moon came and went. like being back in 1976, i could've sat there six months without a run. not even the switch of a tiny roach. coming home yesterday through more lost valleys i saw a sign with an arrow pointed down a track: "carpiste". we found an acre pond in the trees. it was like a digital generated carp lake, there were backlit carp suspended over the water everywhere you looked, bow waves like the d-day landings. at the snags end we found 3 lads from liverpool shell-shocked by their bivvies. the one i talked to could hardly speak, just kept murmering monsters, monsters... they were starving after 6 days without food. all they'd come with was a barbeque and burgers but they couldn't cook it since it'd pissed down all week. too scared to leave the place and go two miles down the lane to the nearest village where they did a 9 euro 4 course "plat du jour" and sold bread and food just like liverpool. monsters? i said. runs every 10 minutes, he said. the lad on the end, he's had a 60 pounder. who owns it? i said. he didn't know, just some bloke comes round every day for the 160 quid and two shower tokens... there was another one, just down the lane, top secret, he said, weird place, the english aren't allowed to fish it. so me and laure left the poor souls back-leading in a trance and sending their bait boats into the heart of darkness. down the lane we found an old turreted manor farm with an estate lake behind electronic security barriers. i managed a spy photo on the wonky zoom before the lurchers caught their first whiff and rounded the "no day fishing" sign.

the french waveny? u.n.c.l.e hq? this is where they should've shot the prisoner, with dick walker on special effects, emma peel on the bait boat.

three days well spent, i'm desk and garden-bound for a day or two. a 600 page novel to edit just came by stevedore and wheelbarrow, but that i can take on the next leg of "the man with the camus' suitcase".
dont let another book keep you from bushy. take it fishing.
copper fittings on the bird table

Tax collected, belly's boiled, parachute packed, fishing gone, rolled into a ditch


should be at bushy park quilled up in the margins but got sidetracked by the purchase of a david carl forbes book at the market yesterday and ended up in the golden heart and then the cafe de paris at a 1940's burlesque night for my good friend dominique presley's 45th. full of junior dick walkers waxing their moustaches and comparing notes on anson shelter installation. more strippers than a hitchin specimen hunters christmas party. it's all carl-forbes fault, someone wanted to know why he was so important and i said he was the marc bolan of angling. that started a discussion that began in the east end and ended up west. it was the car crash that did it and the reverence in which he's held. the golden age of roach fishing - mid 70's. hope the pits have been kind. got thames professionals piece to write. their ghosts spread over the south by the floods.

u-boat on the bird table