Thursday, 31 December 2015



Fishing wise my heart wasn't really in it this year, mojo gone, or just plain idle?
I don't know.
So apart from a good few trips down into the valley for the easy fishing within 10 minutes drive, I didn't venture onto the rivers, or anywhere else come to that, apart from two trips across country to the Wye and Dane, in late October and early November as reported.

The travel bug got the better of me again I'm afraid, starting off with the month of March in Cyprus, and ending in September in Canada. With a good few more trips around England, without the rods, in between and since.

Other than that, mostly uneventful, and that includes the sale of our home, the move closer to civilisation still awaited, especially as the pub is on the market, and I can't see it staying a pub.
My investments in AiM are also proving uneventful, with what started as quite a major boost to the pension/holiday fund, it has somewhat diminished with the price of oil.
(Having said that my heating bills were £400 lower this year.)
So, bottom of the drawer for them until the market improves, although I have faith that the cancer research company Scancell is on the verge of greatness with a cure, or at least moving it into the realms of just another illness treated with drugs.
I say uneventful, but that obviously isn't quite true, having celebrated 42 years of marriage in October.(Just in case Pauline reads this!)

So, no complaints about 2015, it was just another year and thankfully no family serious illness.


What a start we have lined up, a 42 night cruise across the Atlantic to the Amazon via Lisbon, Cape Verde, onto the Windward Islands and finally the Azores, all starting next Tuesday.
If my reader is interested I'm going to attempt a daily blog of our trip, and it can be seen here.
The ports of call are listed.

Travel Experiences

On our return I'll see how the mind takes me, but I think I would like to get on the rivers for the chub in the last few weeks that will be left of the season.
Who knows my lined up experience of piranha fishing on the Amazon, may spur me on.

My birthday in late March will find us on our travels again up to Scotland, for a stay in Plocton.

In the meantime I wish my reader a happy and healthy 2016 and may your financial wishes come into fruition.

Cheers, see you next year.

Oh by the way, this was my 451st blog!

Saturday, 21 November 2015


Last year

But specifically because of the recent atrocities in France, I thought it was apt to show this.

The French Government last year awarded my Uncle Reg, now in his 90's, with this medal. 

He is now  a Knight of the Legion of Honour for his part in the Liberation of France in World War Two. 

This month

A lovely warm and generous lady, June Evelyn Coleman my next door neighbour from our arrival in this village, passed away on the 4th November at the age of 83, after nearly six years of a nasty and painful debilitating illness.
She will be very much missed by my sometime fishing companions husband Ray and son Rik.

Rest in Peace June.

This week

My Dad would have been 94 on the 17th, so I had a drink to celebrate his life also.

On Thursday, a trip down to the Big Smoke to meet up with some true old friends from my days at International Stores in Mitre Square 1965-1973.
We met at The Oyster Shed on the north bank of the Thames,just along from London Bridge
A location I booked and organised.
Part of a very modern building, but comfortable and they had proper beer, some very good 
food,  and we were well looked after, much to my relief!

A fairly long session for the two old boys John(The Boss) and Jon, 
who is now somewhat  of an  invalid following a stroke some years ago.
They only meet up with us at "Christmas".
Not all of us were part of the infamous  International Drinking Society, they are both now well into their 80's.
Anyway, we met at Noon and they both left at 4:30, but many memories, good times, and former colleagues, some long gone,  were discussed and laughed about.

The afternoon moved into evening before the remaining few  moved onto another bar for our final farewells...until the next time, and my birthday in March.


Not been out since the Dane trip, but the rivers are now with water, so maybe this week I'll fit something in after my holiday typhoid and yellow fever inoculations are out of the way.

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

River Dane

First chub outing of the season

The forecast said rain all day, so with some trepidation I started my 3 hour drive to Holmes Chapel at 5am.
I chose to go via the A46/A50/M6 route rather than the all motorway M62 route.

The day started good, weather wise, and my whole journey was almost dry and uneventful.. until I reached junction 16, where I was to enter my only motorway part of the journey, for two junctions, the M6.
As it turned out I was making good time and would have arrived about half an hour early, but somebody tried to pull onto the motorway and didn't see the big truck and trailer!
So I arrived dead on time at the Co-op filling station to meet my old acquaintance from Fishing Magic fish-ins Phil Heaton.

And so, we headed of to the river and parked in a lay-by close to the railway viaduct.
It started raining.

So off we trudged, not too fully laden through one gate which had a "lake" to the front, and deep cattle cattle disturbed mud on the other.
Then through another gate held closed by a short twisted length of barbed wire!
As we got through the gate we were met by a smallish heard of young bullocks who gave us not more than a cursory glance. But, they had made the journey across that field quite slippery and rutted.
So in a short space of time, my boots were caked in heavy cloying mud.
Arriving at the first swim, already knackered after one or two breathing stops for me, I produced my 10 foot Garbolino rod ,which as it turned out, was ideal for getting through to swims not made conveniently fishable by the farmer.
The river reminded me somewhat of the river I fished last year down in Hertfordshire, the Rib, not very wide and somewhat overgrown in places.
This time however the barbed wire surrounding the river banks was doubled up with a live electric fence.
Anyway back to the first swim,
I already had the rod fitted with my Purist ll loaded with 6lb bs something or other, and a size 12 hook to which I squashed a good sample of Stilton, a single swan shot on the line about 6 inches from the hook.
My first cast had not been in the river a great length of time when I got my first take, a chub just over 3 and a half pound.
3lb 9ozs
A good fish for this river I was told by Phil, who was highly relieved, and impressed, that I had managed to catch on first cast.
Apparently they don't grow a great deal above 4lb.
This fish was followed up straight away with another chub of  a bit over two pound. but lacking in a chunk of it's caudal fin.
Otter damage I was advised.
We stuck around for another half hour or so, with no further fish troubling my Stilton offering and so we moved swims.
This move occurred a few more times  without fish showing any interest.
In the meantime the river was rising, the mud was getting thicker, but my heart was kept going, ( I was becoming quite knackered) by the frequent jolts from the electric fence, as my well soaked Barbour, part of my body, or an item of tackle touched the wire!
Anyway at about noon, Phil suggested, as he had planned, that we move to another stretch about half an hour drive away. This stretch had the benefit of the surrounding fields being arable.

I'm afraid the trudge back across the fields to the cars got the better of me.
I apologised to Phil and said, and it had been raining non stop since our first yomp across the fields, that I didn't think I could enjoy anymore fishing.
My clothes now weighed a ton, the Barbour had soaked up quite a lot of water, and had now become heavy and wet through.
And so we parted company, Phil had decided he was quite happy to go on his own to the other stretch.
As it turned out, we both started our journey home in the continuing rain. Me down the M6, and he up the same motorway to Manchester.
I did enjoy the fishing, but at 66....and the weight I'm carrying, I'm afraid I'm not up to fighting my way to get to the fishy quarry.
So I think, I'll probably stick to the softer "southern" rivers, and/or reduce my carrying tackle even more!
What I do need though, is to get some better/ lighter waterproof clothing.

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

It didn't happen

"November's sky is chill and drear,
November's leaf is red and sear."
Sir Walter Scott

The Dane

My Friday trip to the Dane didn't happen, conditions were not right. River low and clear awaiting the promised rain
Trying again next Monday.
In the meantime thick fog has put me off going down to the Upper Witham to see if the chub had put on weight.
So I had two short trips to fish down in the valley.
Monday evening saw me catch a few of the usual size carp and some small roach, apart from loosing a good fish that fought like a crucian. It was quiet.....bite wise.
Feeling a bit bored  yesterday afternoon and still in fog I went down again, specifically to target the perch and roach.
My first bite was a carp of about 8lb, the fish came in without the usual commotion and run around.
The water must be cold after some heavy rain and slowing them down.The pond is spring fed.
I hope it puts them down completely.

Anyway, the next bite was my best roach from down there.

The best 1lb3ozs

I've always suspected the better roach are in there somewhere, so may well give the autumn and winter a good try and leave the river chubbing until the New Year.
Once again not many bites but at least the carp were a bit quieter.

We shall see.

Wednesday, 21 October 2015


O hushed October morning mild,
Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;
Tomorrow's wind, if it be wild,
Should waste them all.
The crows above the forest call;
Tomorrow they may form and go. 
O hushed October morning mild,  Robert Frost

6th October 1973

Just before the pub opened

42 years this year and no regrets, couldn't have asked for a better best friend.

We spent our anniversary in Emsworth Hampshire in a "restaurant with rooms" for three nights.

And very good it was too, great room, excellent food. 36 on the Quay

Pubs very close by, also offering good beer and food, a new part of this country for us both, with visits to Hayling Island,Winchester, Rowlands Castle and Horndean the site of the old Gales Brewery, now mostly residential.

The view through the window

I see no ships

15th October

This years MOT for my Octavia 1.9 td (51) has just been completed.
It failed on rear coil springs and front brakes.
Had a full service and some minor other bits fixed and it cost me £475 in total.,
With another £380 spent this year on battery and tyres, I'm quite happy that my costs are pretty good.
177000 miles on the clock, and still with plenty of ooomph
My car owning philosophy is to treat a car as nothing more than transport for there and back.
I don't clean it, just fill it up with diesel, if the warning lights come on for oil and water I give her a top up.
So the old girl gives me no reason to trade her in.... just yet. 

20th-21st October

My first trip out to fish a river this season took me to the river Wye with Steve Pope on what was from the Barbel Society R&C Fund raiser that I donated to at the last auction.

The 4 hour drive 196 mile from 4:30 am was not the best journey across for me. 
I've not been a fan of night driving ever, and until the sun gave us light I have to say it was a stressful journey.
Dark unlit  roads with big trucks just starting their day from lay byes. and coming towards me with a multitude of lights is not my idea of fun and what happened to the old rule of turning off full beam when approaching another vehicle?.

Anyway I met Steve at 8:30 on Geoff Maynard's (Yes he of Fishing Bake Off, but that's another story) at Llanthomas Fishery near Llowes on the A438.

To cut a long story short, the river was very low and very clear, we fished for about 11 hours until well in dark when Steve caught a couple of chub..
Me? Not a nibble. 
I spent most of the day bird watching and was honoured by the presence of dippers and a buzzard overhead for much of the day at this fantastic location.I'll be back when the river fills up a bit

We stayed the night and decided next morning after a very good nights sleep on site and watching the morning rain, that we would call it a day and left after I'd cooked breakfast .

My very comfortable stress-less drive home took about three and a half hours door to door.

The car averaged just over 60 mpg at an average speed  off 55mph, so deserves it's reprieve.

I have a trip lined up for the river Dane on friday of next week across the M62 and another early start and probable late return to look forward to!!!!

My report will follow

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

I'm back

One of the reasons for not posting is that my old desktop got savaged by one of those "bugs", you may know the one.
It's the one where if you contact a 'phone number within a set time they get rid of the bug for a few hundred quid!
Those of you who know me will know that I do not submit to bully boy tactics, and besides that, the old Microsoft system installed was now past it's support stage.
So, after advice I ditched the machine sold the bits on eBay and have been getting used to my laptop which I had just for holiday trips.
I also now have a Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 for my holidays. It saves me a bit of lugging about at airports.
It's not suitable for blogging though, not with my fat fingers anyway, it'll take me even more hours to write the following!

An anonymous poster obviously still interested in reading my stuff, advised me that nobody would be interested in my holiday.
I'll continue to blog  anyway, as usual just for me, and anybody else who may be interested especially the anonymous one.

We had 16 nights in Canada starting in Toronto for two of those nights

and then moving across country by road to Niagara Falls, where we had an overnight stay and a night time cruise into the falls.The falls are really quite stunning, even better in real life.

"American falls"

Then up to Montreal for two more nights including a  guided tour of Quebec City and the old walled town with a tour of the Notre Dame Basilica

We then flew out to an over night stay in Calgary, the birthplace of the "Mounties", on the confluence of the Bow and Elbow rivers, and the site of the annual stampede

Bow River
the hoodoos

We then move onto Banff  by road for three nights, a quaint and total touristy town, somewhat in contrast with the close by beautiful lakes of Moraine  and Louise

Continuing the drive through the Rockies we next stay in Kelowna on Okanagan lake, for two further nights, and where we later that night able to watch our first game of (ice )hockey.

Then onto the Coquihalla Highway to  Merrit an then to the ferry for Vancouver Island and two nights in  Victoria, for a visit to the Butchart Gardens, and later the chance of some whale watching.

We spotted two different humpback whales, but I got caught out with  insufficient time to properly focus the camera in the excitement of spotting the surfacing creatures.
What a thrill!
Anyway, another first for us, having been in Scotland and Australia at the wrong time of year!

So finally onto Vancouver for two nights.
As can be deduced we did a hell of a lot of travelling but all in all a great and enjoyable experience for us both, only let down by poor customer service in and out,by Air Canada...but that's another story,
Our next holiday is in January and it's another first for us, a 42 night ocean cruise to the Amazon and West Indies

House move
We are in no rush to move but we've put the bungalow on the market.
The idea is to move into a more urban location, perhaps Newark and it's main line rail link back to the "Big Smoke". Such a move will take almost an hours' travelling time off our current location.
We've spotted some rather nice apartments in Newark, set within recently refurbished breweries,offices and big Georgian houses, all within a spit of the mighty Trent.
So we shall see.

Time for some trips to the Trent and Upper Witham, but first we have another short break for our wedding anniversary, and my mate Dave's (of The International Drinking Society) 75th birthday celebration in Petersfield, and our couple of extra nights stay in Emsworth.
I may well put my travel rod in the boot, as I have an invitation to fish a Stedham AC stretch of the Rother, this may be just wishful thinking on my part though, as The Boss may have other things in mind.
Late October will mean a trip on the Wye with Steve Pope, and a North Western river or two with a couple of other friends.

I'll be back!

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Off again


Sorry I haven't blogged for a while, not done a great deal of fishing, been doing some house moving research and we've put our bungalow on the market.

I will have stuff to report soon as we're off to Canada for a break.

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

One of those days in England

One of those days in England with a sword in every pond
And birds in every garden in the land
One of those days in England when the passion never ends
A slowly moving season by the fire of my friends.

And though the time fast slips away, it's long enough to laugh and play
Around the fireside making hay, dreaming of tomorrow, you know there's no today.

I'm sure you've all suffered the session where things from the off, keep going wrong?
Well, my trip down last night into the valley was just one of those.
I decided to fish on the third lake into the wind ,which last night was quite brisk and coming from the North.
Loosing count of the times I had to re-tackle due to tangles around the rod,either on the strike or pre-cast, it became somewhat obvious to me that this session was not going to be my night.
Looking North
I struggled on with a few carp, some tiny rudd and perch. I then, on attempting to unhook a rather frisky carp of around 3lb in the landing net, the hook slipped from the carp and embedded in my thumb between the nail and the cuticle.
By the time I had quietened down the carp, the size 14 had penetrated the skin just under the cuticle. Good job it was barbless, but it was quite painful with the tugging against the hook.
Not much blood!!
After a couple of more tangles, and getting pretty cold despite a hoody and fleece, I said sod it, I'm off, and so I did.
Stopping once or twice to take photographs of the Wolds scenery, and cloud formations with my new camera.

Trout lake2

It's down there
I'm sitting here typing this wondering if I chance another trip down in the valley in an hour or so.
At least the wind is turning to the East!

Friday, 5 June 2015

Flaming June

June, gentle June, of whom the crooners croon,
Sweet month of silk, of salmon, and the swoon;
June, what a chance you had—to be your best,...........

More fishing

What a mixed week to start June, weather wise that is, wind and at times torrential rain.
So I picked Tuesday evening for my first session in the valley, and decided that with the amount of water around that lake two and  three's access could be a bit too boggy.
So back to lake one.
An evening session as usual, with the wind whipping around the tops of the surrounding trees and fallen leaf debris blowing up and down the pond until later in the session.
My testing bait of worm only over a bed of hempseed was my continuing plan.
I stuck to the plan and the lake crucian came to life, the roach and rudd were few and far between. The occasional carp intruded upon what turned out to be a crucian session.
Lake 1 a different view

A few of the net
 Thursday evening, with improved weather conditions, saw me return and I decided to test the track down to lake 3.
Access was much better than anticipated and so I settled in with similar tactics to last night.
I was very soon into the carp and landed four all around the 8lb mark,all in tip top condition, but not my quarry.
I became aware that there was a large population of rudd many of which were a better stamp of fish to the other two lakes. Still nothing really of any size, but who knows?

I'll try down there again as there are perch, that show promise, but on the evening, not a sign of roach.
lake 3  as the light fades.

A new camera

I've acquired for myself a new, well second hand Nikon 3200, all but the first photo above were taken with the two lenses an 18-55 and a 55-200.
As can be seen I'm still testing, but already I think I need another lense, and to decide whether to keep my old Finepix for the mud of fishing or help finance the new lense!

Sunday, 31 May 2015

Bird thoughts

This years brood

         I lived first in a little house,
           And lived there very well;
         I thought the world was small and round,
           And made of pale blue shell.

         I lived next in a little nest,
           Nor needed any other;
         I thought the world was made of straw,
           And brooded by my mother.

         One day I fluttered from the nest
           To see what I could find.
         I said, “The world is made of leaves;
           I have been very blind.”

         At length I flew beyond the tree,
           Quite fit for grown-up labours.
         I don’t know how the world is  made,
           And neither do my neighbours!

All these youngsters are from nests in the garden.
Today I have witnessed a wren and goldfinch starting to nest build in the new hedge.

Down in the Valley Lake 2
Just a few of the "accumulators" mentioned in my last blog!!

I scared this lot off the bank on Wednesday evening on my way to a late session. 

Once again it was quiet fishing wise, with only the carp showing and a couple of small roach.
 I think I'll move on to the third lake next week, and come back to lake 2 when the warmer mornings set in, and the crack of sparra's fart allows me down and back in time for breakfast..

Friday, 22 May 2015

As Kingfishers Catch Fire


Nice to see you getting out again Fred, missed you.

I'll try my best to improve Richard and get fishing a writing more.
I've been down in the valley since, in fact the day after my last blog, but in my haste to get out of the house, I left the hemp at home.
I didn't feel comfortable with just a fresh loaf for the roach, so I ended up, after attempting to catch a few, taking carp of 8/10lb off the surface.
Good fun for a while on relatively light tackle, but far too easy.

I've since been down two nights on the trot , but I decided on Wednesday evening to go back to the first lake.
There's been a lot of rain and I steered clear of a potential bog on the approaches to the second lake.
On my approach to the water I was met by two families of greylag goose there are probably 50 pairs down there, and these two families had more than a dozen goslings between them.
There are also a dozen or so pairs of Canada's and an odd couple,at least it looks like it,of a Canada and a greylag, I'll keep an eye on those two.
So as you may have guessed, there will be(and is)shit everywhere!!

Anyway, fishing with worms and hempseed I settled in my usual swim, my first bite and fish was a chub of a couple of pounds, at first I thought good roach ,but then it showed itself.

A good few smallish roach were caught then all went quiet, and I got myself a perch of about a pound and a half.
The roach continued with the occasional interruption from a carp, but all in all, an enjoyable session.
I'm determined to get a good head of roach, hence the keepnet, not usually a part of my armoury.

During my stay on the bank I was alerted to the shrill peep peep of a kingfisher,the vivid blue and orange flashed up and down the pond most of the evening.
It must have a nest somewhere on the pond but, it never settled on the bank, certainly not in my field of view.
It  also never came close enough to me to get a decent photograph,as can be seen.

The end product makes me even more eager to get myself a better camera.

It was back to the second lake last night, again using the same method, but it was unusually quiet, with only carp around the same size as my last visit driving me mad.
I did see George though, the farmer owner and had a chat with him, rather than the wave I usually get when he rumbles past in his tractor.
He tells me that all the big tench that were in this lake had "perished", I knew it had some a few years ago when the pub club fished it, but hadn't seen any for a while.
He said he had restocked with some smaller tench and some crucian's at around the pound mark, we shall see what I can find..

Back to the garden
I've found the goldfinch nest, it's just about ten feet from the back of the house, in a hawthorn bush which is part of the natural hedge I planted a couple of years back.The first nest in this now maturing hedge and it has four eggs!

Also a first, is a flower on our tree peony one of two planted about 3 years ago, the red one  should produce open flowers in the next day or so.One of Pauline's favourite plants...big and blousy!

Our great tit pair haven't returned to the nest, and we haven't seen of heard from them for some time now, perhaps the hoards of sparra's around the feeders put them off?.

Just today, my first spotting of the house martin's this year, a pair were around most of today. I wonder if there is a problem we usually have a good flock above us.

It was a day in the garden today,whilst the sun shines, but by lunchtime The Boss was asking if it was Pimms o'clock, and so it was. Followed later on the patio by a nice piece of grilled salmon, broccoli ,some Jersey Royal's, and a shared bottle of fishing tonight!

The view from our lunch station

Oz family
I had picked up family messages via facebook telling that my brother Ted was in hospital.
I 'phoned his home yesterday to be advised that he had an emergency operation for what turned out to be a gangrenous appendix.
Being up in the sticks in Exmouth the North of Western Australia with no decent hospital facilities meant a Flying Doctor was needed to take him the 750 odd kilometers to Port Hedland, about 9 hours by road.
Fortunately all went well and he is now home.
Some sad news for him though. Mollie his early morning and evening walking companion for the last nine years or so, had died whilst he was away.A big part of the family, as can be seen and is being missed.
She didn't walk around you!

Ted's best mate