Tuesday, 18 April 2017

The Gorwell Circle

Like a Neolithic Bloomsbury group, this magical circle of stones stand high up on the chalk ridge west of Portesham. They still command great glimpses of the sea and Golden Cap to the west. Even though they are all fallen they are still a sight of true calm and beauty.

I think so, although the nippers cried "not another pile of stones" as we walked the most pleasant of walks in perfect peace and quiet only buzzed by swallows and soundtracked by skylarks. Red Kites are now making more of a comeback in this part of Dorset - they are regulars on the slopes of Cranborne Chase to the north, but are still a sight that gets me excited down here on the Jurassic Coast - today we saw five different kites and all so close they even made the youngsters gasp.

It was the stones that shone today - there are 18 visible stones, not all visible and in the end even the nippers enjoyed a frolic and gambol by jumping, inspecting and generally larking about in the presence of such antiquity.  

There is even a grotesque Friday Face in here somewhere - who says history is boring?

Friday, 14 April 2017

Hello blossom!


This display of blossom is up country at the family orchard in Gloucestershire. They are a few weeks behind us in Dorset where the blossom is cascading like frothy cream everywhere. It does feel like Spring is earlier this year. The hawthorn especially is looking quite superb, but up north it is hardly out. The same is said of the apple blossom - nothing out in this orchard, but my few trees in Dorset are showing a magnificent display.

What you see here is cherry, plum and greengage. The greengage is a true delight - it came down in a storm some 20 years ago and only the stump was left. What we have here is it coming back slowly but surely....hello blossom!




Wednesday, 12 April 2017

The Cellandine shuffle

I adore this time of year. It gathers pace. Blink and you miss things. The trout season started the other week and I am now getting twitchy. I usually take a little break before I cast a fly line, but I cannot wait any longer. My time will come this week. It is likely to be my local West Dorset streams and I will come to the Stour Valley a week or so later.

The swallows are here in growing numbers, the dace are thinking of spawning - large gathers of the silver lovelies are on the sparkling shallows doing the early spawning shuffle. Just thinking about it. They leave the group to sip at a fly and then get back to it. 

The church you see here is one of my favourite Stour Valley spots - nestled in a fold of nowhere its flint walls reflect in the pure chalk waters of the trout stream you can hear as you while away some time in the churchyard. This I do regularly whilst eating my lunch. The dace do a spawning shuffle as I do a cellandine shuffle. It is a special place. Much has happened here in days gone by and more is to come, but at this moment in time I could be the only person alive as I hear nothing other than the babble of the stream.  

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Monday, 3 April 2017

Watch where you tread

There has been much movement on my local beaches and cliffs - this fragile coastline has treasures to find one day and they disappear the next. Some are taken by the fossil hunter and others are lost to the sea.

This delightful find was here one day and gone the next - to me it looks like a very old foot / shoe inprint. Maybe a Victorian fossil hunter left their own mark in the soft Jurassic clay? The shape and size of the mark is interesting - we were much smaller then and shoes constructed in two halves, who knows? Poking around on the beach is as old as these rocks. 

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Market Finds No 23

"to remind you of the sport we both love so well" - what fine words indeed by the Skipper, fine roach man of the Hampshire Avon, Captain LA Parker. I know the coarse fishing season is now over and we bimble towards the opening of the trout season down here in Wessex (this weekend), but a recent market find needed recording.

I was lucky, some years ago, to purchase a signed copy of his fine book "This Fishing or Angling Arts and Artifices" which details his time angling for roach around Downton, Breamore and Fordingbridge from his base at The Bull Hotel in Downton (now a shadow of its former self I might add). This went very nicely with my old Bull Hotel fishing tie that does get an occasional airing by the river on special roach days!

More recently I managed to purchase a later edition of the book which has a lovely picture of The Skipper on the cover - what a fine and happy fellow he looks. A fine market find indeed.  

Monday, 27 March 2017

Fossil Findings

Now the coarse fishing season is over I do like to have a break before getting the fly rods out and there is nothing better than poking about on the beach for findings. The book you see above was a market finding and a very cheap one at that - who could resist such a cover? The art very similar to that in some of the Shell naturalist guides and classroom posters - I like it very much.

I have not had too much too much in the way of fossil finds these last few weeks - not enough rough seas to make them easier to find or, most likely, I am getting beaten by the "early morning" hunters who get there before me and find the treasure. Good luck to them, they deserve it! It is enjoyable to see some of the more exposed rocks that have fossils within - some of them are huge and you would need a tractor to get them home - best left where they are I say.

Monday, 20 March 2017

Chocolate soup for diabetics

To say the last few days of the traditional coarse fishing season were not as expected and hoped for is an understatement. The river had been out of sorts. It comes up quickly once the ground is sodden and the multitude of streams which enter its upper reaches make it react quickly. All sorts of Plan B locations were being discussed as a localised downpour put it up and over the banks for the last weekend of the season.

I still went for the last two days - I could not bring myself to fish still waters for these last two days. The river was the colour of weak chocolate - nearer Caramac. The temperature rose and it was shirtsleeve weather with poached feet in wellie boots - what's going on? Bumblebees, butterflies and sand martins made it seem not quite seasons end.

One visitor I was not pleased to see was that little bastard the Blandford Fly - the ale of the same name is alright I suppose, but this biting little critter made an unwelcome early appearance on both days.  

The river actually fished alright, slowly, but just enough interest in the baited slacks of the river out of the main flow to catch a goodly bag of roach, dace and gudgeon. What lovely gudgeon they were - I lost count of how many of the greedy fellows I caught and am always flabbergasted to hear some of the old timers actually speak of eating them, how could they! 

I am having a love affair with some of my lightly used Ambidex reels at the moment - they don't get used as often as I would like, but with a switch to a static bait on the bottom of the river it felt the right reel to use. I love the gawdy blue hues of these reels and the bakelite fittings.

A stroll downstream to see how the rest of our gather were faring, with the added hope of cake and tea, and I was overjoyed to see some river debris in the form of someones Christmas lights half way up a willow - lovely.

It was more of the same for day two - the river was still not in the best of condition and bites were much harder to get, but the company was splendid, tea magnificent and cake orgasmic. As the light faded from the day I had my last cast and the tiniest tremble resulted in that hoped for thud and lunge of a large roach. A huge roach. A giant roach. A Stour roach like this has been in my dreams for many years, but it was only to be the tale of the one that got away in the pub that evening..............another season ends and dreams, sometimes, maybe one day will become reality.