May 2012


A couple of weeks ago I was listening to a repeat of an episode Roger Deakin’s Wildwood on the radio. It featured David Nash an artist who carved a huge wooden ball which he planned to get back to his studio by floating it along a stream. But then he changed his mind and instead decided to let it carry on to the sea and chart that journey over the several years it took. I recall seeing something about it on TV a couple of years ago.

All of this came back into my mind the other day when I stumbled on this blog. A “mystery artist” has made several thousand ceramic eggs and having laid them out on a Sussex hillside to photograph (shades of Andy Goldsworthy perhaps) introduced them into the Thames (bar the biggest that is now in the British Museum).

Meanwhile a blogger has picked up on this and between fishing trips, tackle collecting, etc. is scouring the watercourse for them and collecting loads.

Check out not just this blog post, but also earlier and later ones, as the story develops. There’s even a short film now.

Personally I’d be happy just for one and as I’m in the Capital tomorrow I’m weighing up the possibility of going egg hunting .

As you get older time seems to go ever faster. But somehow the weeks from the end of the fishing season have ground on with a glacial density.

I have filled the time with thinking about fishing, reading about it, looking at and (too often I’m afraid) buying tackle. But then I have also made some from scratch. More actively, I have renovated a decrepit old pushbike and fitted it with racks in anticipation of trips to the water when the car’s spoken for.

But none of this has been enough. In fact all of it hasn’t been enough. Last week it was so bad that I had to go and look at some water. I kidded myself that it was a scouting trip for the first day of the season, but really I just wanted to be at the bankside. And it worked too, lifting my mood massively. A big dose of nature and adventure. 

En route I saw some humorous signage, this time on a barge rather than a van.

I also clocked this piece of sculpture perched on a mooring post and looking for all the world like a totem pole.

And when I got to the water I was recce-ing I saw lots of pasty people despoiling a green space in a variety of ways. But I also saw fish. Lots of rather blatant little ones.

And some far shadowier big ones.

And if I was clever enough to put a soundtrack on this post – it would be this.

You can’t judge a book by it’s cover the old saw tells us. But we all do. All of the time.

In a more literal vein I will sometimes actually by a book just for it’s cover and this one is an example of that. The book Dear Home in England edited by C G Fillmore is an anthology of poetry loosely themed around the title. Published by Frederick Muller in 1949 it’s easy to imagine the books conception as an antidote to the fresh memories of war.

It contains much that is familiar if not predictable. My two favourites are The Brook by Tennyson and the untitled one by Charles Mackay that I have written out below, but it is the art on the dustjacket that I love. Sadly nowhere is the artist credited. The John Nash-like manner is of it’s time and the trees are either oaks or elms and stylised though they are I favour the latter, which of course adds to the romantic appeal.

I have lived and I have loved;

I have waked and I have slept;

I have sung and I have danced;

I have smiled and I have wept;

I have won and wasted treasure;

I have had my fill of pleasure;

And all of these things were weariness,

And some of them were dreariness.

And all of these things, but two things,

Were emptiness and pain;

And Love – it was the best of them;

And Sleep – worth all the rest of them.

A couple of months back a rash of these stickers appeared on signposts on my route to work.

The following day they’d been removed, but I spotted this vestigial one last week. I wasn’t sure whether they were urban art or an advert – a bit of both as it turns out.

Whilst there is a “Where’s Nana?” website (they hold club nights in in Bristol) I can only wonder how the stickers appeared 80 miles away.

Perhaps something to do with brand promotion?

Whilst it’s nice to win anything, it’s certainly more gratifying when you’ve put some effort in, rather than being the beneficiary of dumb luck.

And so I was delighted to have won a fishing rod (a 12ft Korum feeder rod that retails at a hundred quid, in case you are interested) by entering the crossword computation in Improve Your Coarse Fishing magazine.

And I am delighted with the rod itself which looks and feels like a capable piece of kit.

But it is really, really, really, not helping the close-season, cold-turkey, close-harmony jitters I’m having at the moment.