Fought the fog down the A140 yesterday to the Theatre of Dreams. Or more prosaically the absurdly named Weston Homes Community Stadium.You know, that soulless concrete box perched over the A12 at the backend of Britan's oldest recorded town, so good the Romans named it Camulodunum and sometime home of both the Royal Green Jackets and the Black Watch. No prizes for guessing why there was a thriving Military Corrective Training Centre (the Glass House). Friday and Saturday nights were somewhat lively.
Two sevenths of the Bureboy yoot in earnest pre match contemplation. Yoot number 3 has just discovered his sandwich has a mouldy crust stage left....
To be honest, the fog did not make for a visual feast. We could plainly see result of the inept defending of a Notts County corner early doors. Seven feet tall or not "The Boy Sam Walker" had no chance.
However, the only thing we could see over the half way line was the neon glow of the County keeper's kit and the pinball head tennis induced flashes of the yellow winter ball as it reached flood light height. Quite often. So who scored our equaliser, or how I am not sure.
The second half was mostly played in Notts County's half and though not total football by any means enough to pressure County into dropping deeper and deeper and eventually committing own goal hari- kari and facing a slow foggy trip back towards the River Trent sans points.
Unexpected pass out today and off to try a few swims further down the bridge beat. Around 6 degrees and a gentle breeze but river like gin. The sort of day for tucking baits in quietly close to features rather than chasing them down
Ronnie or Reggie Cray still active?
Still a lot of colour around.
Second swim and an instant response to the sardine placed right on x marks the spot and a real tearaway fish, surging round in the clear water. Leeched up but plump and with that Concorde droop snout.
Another move and again float dipping almost as soon as rod on the alarm and baitrunner engaged. Something for the Santa Special to look at but not for long, the top treble having slid down meaning both sets of hooks in the tail of the bait and not enough to gain purchase. Longer fish too. Never mind.
I do like a row or two of poplars. Here's 4 rows at least..guess that's a rheumy sun?
Sunday morning and back out with the little uns whilst the brisket melted in it's own juices. We usually stop to look for the deer at Gunton.
And quite often the pirate ship. She is Juno and gleaming from a recent overhaul. Back in her usual haul out spot at at Blakeney.
Hot knife through butter brisket devoured I had just an hour to kill. River slightly up after last night's rain and the merest hint of tinge...surely that burst of weak winter sun was a portent of plenty?
Just sending my first take inducing text to Lord Lite when a decentish pike ghosted up near the float to the right with my sardine in it's jaws. I couldn't fail surely? Well, if the trebles hadn't been firmly embedded in a twig then perhaps. The other 10 rods are out of frame Lord Lite..
Lots of rotting down weed on the bottom and as my hour ticked by increasing rafts of previously fresh greenery coming down on the surface.
Never got as far as that banker bush..so home fish less.
Looking over the bridge at the bones of the river in the painfully low and thin water I wasn't going to be trotting for those skittish roach anytime soon. So it was off down the muddy bank and a halved sardine on each rod. Both baits out and on came the rain. Not hard, but mean and persistent. River very pacy, at least 2 foot down and willow leaves visible on the bottom half way across. No water hardly coming off the main mill, some down the side stream and gates open further down
Did that down stream rod nod? Nothing developed so swung bait back out and it kept going. Wound down straight away given the nearby snags, on then off. Nice when you hit 'em on the snout whatever the outcome. Location is often all. Baited up and just about to swing out again only to see the upstream float at my feet, A real powerful fight, in those snags once then in the onion bag. Decent belly on it and a very big tail. 6 or 7lb?
Down stream rod gave two distinct taps and then away. Twisting, surging then stop. Weeded covered head. Not quite as big.
Troubled by the proximity of the snag moved next swim down and had just got both rods out when a bleep and upstream float just a couple of yards out was off. Much more powerful fish and not keen on surrender. Guessed it as a low double and in the ET Tube for a grin and hold shot if rain eased off. It didn't so some mat shots after a weigh and a little bigger than guessed at 14.02. Again a plump belly on it.
Immediate response to twitching the downstream rod and probably a good pound or so bigger than the first fish of the day despite not being quite so plump. Length is often all. Markings prominent on all the fish today.
Decided an another hour, though enticing would only prolong the drying out time and also earn a few points towards another trip tomorrow if weather a little less grim.Some bramble lined straights below the next bridge that might hold a few sergeants if the worm were trotted close enough to them?
Stopped at the gate to check the Res and called Lord Lite. Curlew calling off stage right as he looked over the estuary. Buzzard unlike a child: heard but not seen by me.
Wind has got up and rain has not stopped. Once I have this wet dripping tackle dried off it must be whisky time.
I can recommend the mushrooms in The Mermaid's Slipper..
No, just mucking about with the "exciting" on-camera features. The Mermaid's Slipper is an small restaurant on the Staithe behind. Only one chance to an inadvertently freelined half sardine at the mouth of the cut. On for a short while then gone.
Got myself another fixed spool/rear drag as my last float reel had gone kaput and fancied a centrepin too... no line guard and I don't really fancy winding in backwards with line off the top of the reel so it might take a little while to get use to avoiding tangles, having said that have always managed ok when I have borrowed one before. Think a workout with an Avon/Chubber and worms is called for.
This was an almost perfect circle with a line through the middle but it had got a little misshapen before I changed my lens. Some one up there was mad for it. I blame it on the chem trail tin foil hatters...aciiiid!
Shot down to Ebridge Mill at last knockings as there was a hint of colour in the setting sun. Should have packed a rod, roach topping everywhere.
Have a bottle of Indian whisky to attend to tonight. Will report back once sampled. With an Abbot Ale chaser. Whilst re-watching Klopp on MOTD2 getting bested for once . He still managed a post match smile though. Damn sight more than Mourinho did.
Friday night and on the pre-loader express Up the City to that finest of venues, The Waterfront to catch Dr John Cooper-Clarke and Hugh Cornwall. Ticket said 6.30 start, don't know what I missed by the time I rocked up but straight to the the bar I went. Why not? Looking round me I am sure the delivery dray was rammo with Sanotogen that morning . Demographic? Retired Social Workers and Sociology Lecturers to a man/woman.
Standard gig fare in poxy plastic pots. But I had acquired a thirst...sometimes lots of lager will do.
The Stick Insect and an almost equally thin but heavily tribal tatted Hugh Cornflour were up and at it and rolling through an eclectic mix including McArthur Park, Johnny Remember Me and Jezebel.
To the right was a handlebar tached 70's Lounge Lizard Porn Star on keyboards and occasional geetar. Behind the Hi-hat was a pair of eyebrows and behind a pillar was a bass, probably attached to someone given it's movements.
One (more elderly than me) Social Worker type was soon off to her 2CV or more likely 16 plate Beetle with the ironic plastic daisy air freshener, seemingly suffering from burst eardrums. OK, it is quite a tight venue and the bins are normally up around 10.98 but what did she expect?
Time for another pint and back out came the band and it had to be said jacked it up several notches: mostly Stranglers faves such as Nice n Sleazy and a timeless cover again, Walk on By. Which I have on white/pink vinyl. Forgot how similar the intro's to Nice n Sleazy and Toilers on the Sea are.
The one song Cooper-Clarke had written required a lyric sheet, as he said in his laconic Salfordeese "Instantly forgettable lyrics-that's my bag" Classic from the Stick Insect.
Back over the Novi Sad bridge into the City at night and it's ripped backsides
Through the turnstiles and wait for the vomit comet, the last train from Naarich.
Tonight one chap of advancing years, as we pulled into "Your next station stop Salhouse" suddenly sat bolt upright, bolted for the doors and if it hadn't been one of those press the yellow light jobs would have gone straight out onto the the adjacent track. As it was he darted out on on the platform side, got back in and ran to the end of the next carriage and slumped back in a seat smiling beatifically to himself. Don't think any one else noticed.
Of course the serious yoot don't get Up the City till the last train in of a weekend night, having necked litre of voddie and Red Bull. It gives you wings.
Tales of impending doom as Angus approached reportedly whipping up a right billy-o. Decided against it, given I had about an hour all told. Had I a whip or a dropshot rod in the charabanc I might have stood a chance of a fish or two given the amount of small fish packed in the boatyards on the Thurne. Never mind. As it happens Angus got cold feet round our way.
Recently (August isn't really recently is it?) oldest Bureboy son @Bain3z did his old man proud with a weekend in the Smoke, blagging him along as his unofficial lens man at the quaintest of events, Caught by the River Thames. Reading it wasn't. Sublime in parts and cleverly curated as it happened.
On the early doors to Liverpool Street, low morning sun and dirty windows.
Strange how quickly it becomes OK to neck a pint at 9 am if everyone else is. I didn't, we made do with a Wetherspoon's brekkie for the price of that away day pint.
Not sure if Ipswich were away for the first day of the Champo season, if so this lone star was putting in a brave face in the mock finery of Hamilton Hall.
Striding out for Brick Lane and Rough Trade East. A long time since I bought Alternative Ulster from the shop in Ladbroke Grove. All brown paper bags and simple Rough Trade stamp then.
Books as well now, London Pride and what I had come to the big city for. Pratley meets Andrews in Arcadia.
Coffee and a paper and the first links in the chain of coincidence and curation. Road sign for the A10, straight through to Kings Lynn as it happens, past the cathedral in the sky at Ely and the Truman stack, towering over the craft brewers and gin stills of hipster East End
Rep your endz
Going to London first as a very young boy to Greenwich and then weekly as a callow youth to haunt the Great Gear Market, Seditionaries, the Lyceum and Electric Ballroom two predominant memories were the toast like smell of I don't know what and the thick black grime we used to harvest from our noses and foreheads with our tube tickets as we dodged the skins and soul boys.
Way back then in about 1978 Pizzaland and McDonalds (more likely Wimpy) were exotica to us hicks from the sticks. Now it is the smell of coffee in ghastly styrene cups and fast and street food everywhere. All pop up and guerrilla dining.
He's seemimgly too intent on getting home to scoff the lot to pay attention to the help setting up their real deal soul food
Tube tickets ?Pah. Contactless payment whisked us via Notting Hill Gate to a very different London by Putney Bridge. Fulham High Street and the New Kings Road. Reasonably priced pint in an empty Remembrance. We knew we were on the right track by the Boden and ironic beards and hats and earnest picnic hampers.
Once in the possession of our all access laminates (actually yellow sticky press/plebs access) we stood back to soak in the heaving, throbbing festival vibe. Um. Quaint was what we thought
Another pint @Bain3z thought. Then food. We passed on the gourmet burger
and went for authentic (but not artisan) "street"chain food. Hot, quick and at £5/10 every 30 seconds for about 10 hours a nice little earner..
Into the Waterside tent for just in time to catch the introductory meandering about rivers and coincidence and a solitary parka clad figure siting on a bench dawn to dusk. Pedalo Swans featured heavily. The braces toting curator John Andrews of Arcadia introduced us then to Melissa Harrison's anthologising about the seasons. Flaneurse? I asked of my journo well read son @Bain3z. He rolled his eyes. Wikepedia has the flâneur as a,"stroller", "lounger", "saunterer", or "loafer". The Guardian has the flâneurse reclaiming the streets as vital transgresive work..
Chronicling the minutiae of city life? My arse.
Anyway, to the main event for me anyway. Letters from Arcadia and a yurt in French France. Stream of consciousness Pratley to the slower meanderings of pint and London loving Arcadian John Andrews. Think you lost some of them with the tench reminisces but just what I came for. Top drawer.
Idler book stall
Into the Bishops Palace for some art noir about the life around Lakeside and The Dartford Crossing. David Essex and a cook up cup of tea in a shopping trolley my arse.
@Bain3z had subbed me for a night in a hotel which was an unexpected and lovely surprise. We had a Greek/Turkish and I walked back watching The Metropolitan Police spectacularly failing a couple with significant mental health needs, got into bed and slept till 10am. Don't think I have ever done that before. Ever. Back to Quaint by the River day 2.
@Bain3z can't settle unless he has been in a bookshop if it is open. This one warranted a pint to think about it first.
Regular old London geezer answers his mobile: "(Boi) wah gwan?". Pure melting pot gold. Classic.
Another little coincidence weaved in.
Casually placed belongings?
On the trail of the Green Man, And a damp squib sex cult attempt.
I'll put this here
Cos Chris Packham and Lauren Laverne are dots. In front of a big bee.
Found out a bit about some people's fathers and that yes, Rick Astley was apparently the dickspawn I always suspected courtesy of Smash Hits.
Sorry Super Furries, we blew you out.
There is the Truman Tower again, peeking over the wall..
Essex grace (minus the clock towers)
Classic pre-reserved seats coach C seat 50
Next day far down the A10 from Hackney and Radio 4 's 9.45 reading: all about the jolly old Flaneurse. Coincidence?
Caught by the River also features that fine print smith and quince jelly eating top man John Richardson from Zanderland