September 2012


Saw this for the first time the other day, on a street I’d walked down many, many times.

It is only visible if you walk south down the street and I’ve practically always been heading north.

Amazing what a small change in routine can bring about.  

Great signage.

There is a joy to be found in making things.

Whether that’s crafting something from scratch, refurbishing an object that needs a new lease of life, recycling waste into a useful item, or modifying an artefact made for one purpose so that it has a new and different role.

I like and practice, with mixed results, all of these (I could bore you with links to earlier posts, but won’t), and particularly like the creative inventiveness of the “flipping” one.

And so I enjoyed very much this post from Vintage Hiking Depot. Making a plug for bass fishing from an old clothes-peg sounds a bit crazy, but I love the results.

Whilst I don’t have a copy of The Complete Book of Outdoor Lore by Clyde Ormond, I do have a book by a later American outdoorsman. Practical Outdoor Projects by Len McDougall includes a chapter on fishing tackle where suggested lures are made from pieces of shoelace, para-cord and even a foam ear plug.

Also on my bookshelves are a couple of vintage books from the days when anglers had to make much of their own tackle due to cost and/or availability. Both Tackle Making For Anglers (L.Vernon Bates – 1953 edition of an earlier book) and Tackle Making For Fishermen (H.H. Eeles – 1954) explain how to make lures from materials such as old paintbrush handles, metal ball-point pen refills, celluloid, cork, old car headlamp reflectors, copper cistern balls, metal tubing, car inner tubes (red & black) and even Dover sole skins.

A slightly more recent book, and new acquisition, is Fishing – An Illustrated Introduction To The Art Of Catching Fish from 1970. By this time source materials for a home-made pike lure include the metal top of a coffee tin and a plastic bottle.

Mind you these days probably no-one makes their own lures and, even though the VHD post and a look through my books has made me think about diddling some together, I am dissuaded by the fact that I have a box of lures I hardly ever use. I do however like the idea of something that is not mass produced and has a human hand in its making.

And, if I was in the market for something of that ilk and of quality appearance I would go to Paul Adams who was brought to my attention by Tales.

Paul’s site is well worth a visit, especially if you fancy a rather unique roving tackle box that would slip into a large jacket pocket.

“Happy Talking, Talking…..”

Spotted this piece of street art today.

It was on the side of a recycling container.

Whilst the side had been repainted at some point it wasn’t wet – and in any case the “wet paint warning tape” was on top of the painted surface. I actually think that the artist appropriated the tape to highlight his/her work.

On a very loosely associated note, last night’s One Show (a programme that I normally avoid like the plague/Olly Murs/insert blight of your own choice here) had a snippet of a feature on urban art which included vintage footage of Walter Kershaw painting the giant pansies included here and also the Morecambe Mystery Graffiti Fish – which may or may not be associated withe The Spindly Killer Fish.

Quite often the BBC will run a small feature on its website, or in a news, or magazine programme that is actually a plug for a TV or radio programme. If that was the intention here then the timing was somewhat out as the radio programme was 12 days before and isn’t even on the iPlayer anymore.

As someone who listens to a lot of speech radio I’m surprised I missed it. I’m also bloody annoyed as it sounds great.

Yesterday, on the way to the river, I dropped in on a local car boot sale.

I would have gone straight to the water, but I was meeting my brother who is a stranger to early rising at weekends.

It was a fruitful trip. The boot sale that is, the fishing was a bit disappointing.

I came away with rather an eclectic mix.

An Abu Diplomat 844M closed faced reel.

A brand new folding stool, with a strong carrying bag, which will be ideal for camping, fishing and exploring.

And a book from an exhibition of Bridget Riley’s painting and drawings 1951-1971 held at The Hayward Gallery from 20th July to 5th September 1971.

(which include a number of illustrations found here).

Something for the mind body and soul.

I leave you to chose which is which.

….much as I enjoy your telly programmes, you only made a smoker out of an old tea-chest…. eat your heart out.

This week I went to Bristol.

I love going there – always something interesting going on.

I spotted this little kingfisher stencil – really nice.

Not sure what it was saying – not that art needs to say anything.

If I was a tabloid hack I might speculate it was a tag from someone from Team (King) Robbo fishing in Banksy’s pond.

Me?  I just think it was a neat little piece of street art.

In The Deer Hunter Robert De Niro offers to get Meryl Streep a drink. She asks for a beer and he responds something along the lines of “Have a Rolling Rock. It’s the best there is”.

In the 1990s it was pretty much the only beer I drank. That’s not quite true, for instance I spent a lot of time in Yorkshire drinking real ales, but it does feel that way, certainly where bottled beer was concerned. The fact is I drank a lot of it. Not because it came in a great bottle – there were loads of beers in cool bottles at the time – but because I loved the fresh taste of it. It always hit the spot.

But then I moved to a place away from shops, and without a car lugging boxes of bottles home was not an option. Not an attractive one that is. It was enough to slog home with pots of paint and unwieldy garden supplies on public transport without having to heft even more stuff.

And somewhere during this time Rolling Rock stopped appearing in the shops.

So when, a few weeks back, I turned the isle in the supermarket to see a large stack of Rolling Rock four packs it was very much a blast from the past. One that I could practically taste. Not only that it was very cheap. I bought loads. Well not loads, but plenty.

Unpacking the groceries back home I was still very pleased with myself, until the OH said, “Why did you buy all this?”

“Because it’s great.”

“It’s not very strong.”

“Uh?”

“You bought the lite version. Look it says Extra Pale.”

If I wasn’t stunned into silence I’d have pointed out that the logo always says Extra Pale. I still have some merchandise around somewhere that shows that. But sure enough it was just 2.8%. “Extra Pale? Beyond The Bloody Pale.” I thought.

Now don’t get me wrong I don’t really care about the alcohol content of beer, just as long as it tastes good. But the fact is that if you start beggaring around with the alcohol levels of an existing product you generally ruin it. Beck Vier being just one example of turning something nice into drek.

“It used to be stronger,” I whimpered as I tried to convince myself that it would still taste fine.

Could my memory be playing tricks on me?

I went to check.

When Rolling Rock came out here in the UK for a short while it had a paper label (such expertise – told you I drank it a lot), before moving to painted bottles and I had one pasted onto an old record box. Sure enough it used to be four and a half percent.

I felt betrayed. No, that’s too extreme. Shall we say I felt let down. Vey let down. Still as Iris DeMent sang, nothing good ever lasts.

Trying to keep an optimistic head on I attempted to look forward to drinking one as soon as it had chilled down.

And the result?

Well, as someone once said when faced with an awful beer – “Put it back in the horse!”

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