Friday, 21 June 2013

Flowers for my Friends

It's Friday and the longest day of the year, so I thought I would share this little gem with you - Flowers for my friends indeed.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Normal service has resumed!

Opening morning, the view from my swim
The start of the traditional coarse fisherman's season is as engrained in my being like Christmas Day. I am a passionate angler and fish for anything and everything. I am as obsessed with wild trout as I am mackerel, but June the 16th is as exciting for me as Christmas morning. Nothing much can beat it. I only fish for carp twice a year and this is enough to ensure I get my fix. The child like anticipation the night before, checking over the tackle like I do my Christmas Eve stocking.

This season was no different - I am not alone and my very good friends, same old friends who come together at the same place, same time each year are just as excited as me. The weather has not been too kind for us over the last few years, but the company makes up for it.....................and every now and again we catch a fish and this year one of the gang caught one of the lakes old warriors. A bit of a gnarly, Joan Simms I thought, quite brassy but no doubt many a tale to tell. What a corker!


If you want to know why we do it then I can do no more than re-direct you to my good friend Fennel who wrote a super account entitled Staying Closed explaining why the 16th is so glorious and worth hanging on to. Happy new season!

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

BIG and small

Fish of the Stour - Chub - Peter Ursem 
Fish of the Stour - Minnow - Peter Ursem

Saturday, 15 June 2013

The Glorious Sixteenth

At midnight tonight the new coarse fishing season will begin. My start will be a slightly more sedate affair. After a large cup of tea I will cast a line in the morning and hope there will be no need for a brolly. I fear the scene may look like the John Nash drawing below. Rain, high winds and more rain. Never mind, there's always a chance. Bestest fishes to all. Casus ubique valet.

The Art of Angling - John Nash 1965


Thursday, 13 June 2013

Market Finds No 6

Some veritable gems found on the market this last week - two copies no less of The Shell Book of Roads (Ebury 1969) with some lovely artwork by David Gentleman along with Bernard Venables classic Coming Down the Zambezi (Constable 1974). All for the price of a pint of ale.

From track to motorway - The Dover Road - The Bath Road - The Great North Road - The Roman Steps - The Holyhead Road - The Antrim Coast Road - The Berkshire Ridgeway - Ermine Street - Fosse Way - Sewstern Lane - The Corrieyairack Pass.

 I already have a copy of BV's Zambezi book, so the joy will be in the giving of this book to a friend who does not have a copy. 

Bernard Venables - Tiger Fish, Lukulu

Friday, 7 June 2013

Punctured bicycle?

A strange sighting indeed. Here I am working from home today when I spy from my window Johnny Marr on a gentle jog past Straker Towers - he looked in mighty fine fettle in his lycra! I note he is playing at the Electric Palace in Bridport tonight. I can't go, too busy fishing.

Sickle wing

My indulgent day out to Chichester did actually happen. As you may recall, I was planning a visit to see the Paul Nash gifted collection of Clare Neilson - it was even more enjoyable as public transport was the order of the day. Enforced idleness could be maximised.

The early train from Dorchester ensured I was in Chichester just in time for breakfast at the lovely St Martin's tearooms. A delightful establishment where log fires await and cosy nooks ensure you can idle in privacy whilst gazing at the embers. I came upon it by chance, actually sniffing out the woodsmoke as I walked by. A large pot of tea and scrambled eggs on toast were an ideal way to start the trip.

Paul Nash - Pallant House Gallery
The Pallant House Gallery is a truly wonderful find - the Nash exhibition housed in its De'Longhi Print Room was not huge, but certainly warranted a few circuits. This is the first public showing of the collection of his work amassed by his great friend Clare Neilson which has recently been gifted to Pallant House Gallery through The Art Fund. It includes important early wood engravings and etchings, photographs, collage, correspondence and illustrated books. It's only on until 30th June so if it's your sort of thing you must try and visit.

Paul Nash - Pallant House Gallery
I was dropped a bit of a bombshell by a friend of mine who stated, once he knew of my Paul Nash interest, that his family have an original landscape from 1944!! There is a wonderful story associated with the picture as PN was a close family friend - I think it has only been displayed once in public since it was painted.


 I have added a selection of photographs from the exhibition - the relationship PN had with Neilson fascinates me as did his many visits to her house at Madams, Upleadon, Gloucestershire. I keep finding new nuggets of interest with Paul Nash as I have only really started to appreciate his work in recent years.

 The Gallery Bookshop was just as appealing as the exhibition itself - some wonderful items, a few of which are now in my reading pile.

Joan de Vere - Chichester Cathedral
 Chichester was most splendid on many fronts - the Piper tapestry in the Cathedral and the late 1200's tomb of Joan de Vere were two of many highlights. The tomb has the earliest known example of weepers (mourners) on one side.

John Piper - Tapestry (1966), Chichester Cathedral
 Whilst lunching in the Cathedral grounds I thought I heard the "mew" more associated with birds of prey. One of the guides answered my query in that yes indeed the peregrine falcons were again nesting in one of the turrets. I must have heard the male on one of his hunting sorties. The female has nested in the same location for thirteen years, produced 42 young (21 male and 21 female) and this year a new father is on the scene. He saw off the old dad and is now master of the turret. I felt a tinge of sadness for the old dad.

The RSPB had set up an information tent and live link to the nest in the Cathedral café - so armed with more tea and a large slice of coffee walnut cake I observed the female keeping three chicks warm. What an end to the day! These three chicks have now been positively identified as all female and you can watch a live link of them in action here.

If you are lucky you can see the young being fed and I am not ashamed to say we have been pretty much glued to this over the past few days here at Straker Towers. Beats TV any day.