Friday, 24 April 2015

The right side of the hedge

Over the years I have been heeding the advice of Mark E Smith to eat yourself fitter. It hasn't worked, so I have decided a different course of action. I have always loved a walk, but never one of great distance until now. The footpaths, dark lanes and byways around this part of the hill intrigue me. So much so that I have been recently marking them off on my maps once trodden like an excited loco spotter. It's verging on the obsessional and I get twitchy if I don't get my fix.

One such route has captured my imagination more than most. The Monarch's Way. It passes my back garden as it carves its 615 mile route from Worcester to Brighton. The section I love the most goes up over my hill into the wilds of West Dorset along a glorious ridge up the holloway made famous in Robert Macfarlane's book of the same title (heartbreakingly now destroyed in places by the tractor and flail) and wends its way through the Marshwood Vale to Pilsden Pen and beyond. I love it.

Bilshay, Axen Brow, Henwood Copse, Jan's Hill, Denhay Hill, Wormstall Copse, Ryall Bottom, Copper Hill, Doctor's Copse all have their charm and I drink in the view to savour on dull days.  

A day walk brings much pleasure and all being well a pint en route but the air is the best refreshment - cooling from the sea or warm from the hills with a hint of ramson, bluebell and primrose at this time of year. 

This is the stuff of dreams or as I prefer to say it's the right side of the hedge. All being well I'll be back in time for tea. 

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

I like shells

Shell Museum - Alice Pattullo

Sussex, Dorset, Scilly Isles, Hampshire, Norfolk 

Saturday, 18 April 2015


It's been a long old slog since Christmas. Not much time off for R&R so the weekends are even more welcome - crack open the beer. The Norfolk ales are just hanging on in there, last few now....and the home brew of course!

Friday, 17 April 2015

The blossom trail

A quick trip up to the Three Counties (the land of fruit, veg and cider) and just a tad too early for the blossom trail that surrounds Bredon Hill. I had almost forgotten how lovely it was up there around the hill. These pictures are in the village of Overbury where the magnolia was such a shade of white. Whiter than Tunnocks marshmallow, I could have eaten it. 

It feels like a world ago now. The temperature didn't get much above 7 degrees by lunchtime and this week in Dorset it's been 22-23 degrees - how weird is that? The mackerel are in, blossom is just coming through and the swallows first spotted on March 14th are now here in greater numbers. The trout are feeding on grannom and hawthorn (St Mark's fly) flies and the wild garlic is near, I can smell it and its glorious flowers will appear any day. The natural markers in the year of the countryside come and go.

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Buried Treasure Part 9

The year is 1981. A few days into a new coarse fishing season and a year after Ferney caught his Redmire Pool record. We boys were still on a high about this and constantly thumbed our copies of Angling magazine which had a superb photo special spread to mark the capture.

I opened the season in 1981 at a lovely pool which I had to myself and was filled with excitement as I caught a Donald Leney carp of about 6lbs. I can still see the float going under now. I had cycled from home at first light to the village a couple of miles away where a legendary former Redmire angler allowed the local tackle shop to issue day tickets to fish his pool. I loved it there, paradise for 50p.

It was a Tuesday and I had bunked off school. My classmates were all caught on the canal after being dobbed in, but I remained undisturbed in a quiet corner of Gloucestershire just watching my float and excited about a new season and a gig in a couple of nights!

The poster (above) was from the gig and recently found in a quiet undisturbed section of my folks loft! Buried treasure! A piece of letterpress history and my first ever gig at 13 years of was brilliant. Halcyon days. Here comes the summer.

Friday, 3 April 2015


Dora M Batty (1934) 

1926 - Unknown Artist

Gladys Mary Rees (1921)

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

The Educated Trout

The start of the river trout season today - I am not out, but many will be braving the elements on this the opening day. May the spirit of Izaak be with you. As way of a celebration here's a little batch of films (1980) to get you in the mood - absolutely splendid stuff from The World About Us team (remember Salmo the Leaper?).Tight lines!