Friday 31 July 2015

Avon blank

I am not fond of the fishing term "blank" - otherwise known as a blank day, catching nothing or blanking. How can you ever have a blank day? Yes, you may sometimes not catch a fish, but you are always the richer for time spent by running or still waters. 

I didn't catch on this Hampshire Avon trip, but I wasn't just fishing for any old fish. The carp that inhabit my particular stretch are mouth watering beyond belief. All can be quiet and nothing stirs in the crystal clear waters and then suddenly ghosts appear the size of battleships. They home in on the free offerings but there is much in the way of natural food to tempt them, so it doesn't take much for them to move on.

They moved on - my line remained motionless and I was left to enjoy the bird life, hornets and the Spitfire which flew over. Definitely not a blank day. 

I have fished for carp quite often on the Avon and I freely admit that it feels weird. Almost like I shouldn't be doing it, but I just can't help myself. The nearest I guess to my much loved wildies, these king carp have no names, no photographic record from birth and have most likely never been caught before. That's good enough for me.


Monday 27 July 2015

Keep the candle burning

The stunning Norman chapel of St Aldhelm's on the Purbeck coast near Worth Matravers is well worth the long walk from either west or east along the South West Coast Path. A place to cool yourself after the heat of a summers day, it has many delights both inside and out for you to admire. Sitting close to the cliffs, the views are stunning at this ancient Christian site.

I like the legend associated with the chapel. It is said that in 1140 a bride and groom were sailing round the headland, watched by the bride's father. A storm suddenly arose, the boat capsized and both were drowned. The desolate father is said to have built the chapel to their memory and a light was always to be kept burning to warn other sailors.

Friday 24 July 2015

Quiet Waters

If I was to choose one weather vane it would be this one. I hadn't noticed it before until the other evening on my walk back home. It would sit most comfortably in the Norfolk coastal or Broadland landscape of Ransome, but here it is in Dorset by the sea. Lovely.

Wednesday 22 July 2015

New Forest ponds

I did much of my early carp fishing on ponds. Small ponds. Then, as I got older, I migrated south to the barbel rivers of Southern England and in between these trips fished the ponds of the New Forest for carp which were, almost, wild in strain. All on local club books.

Some of my old favourites are now no more. Access denied or the clubs have long since lost the rights. One such place that I visited the other evening brought back memories of the 1980's. A typical New Forest club water. Tree shrouded, full of pads and the odd old boy fishing in a quiet corner soon to head home for his tea.

A handful of Spiced Straker Special less than a couple of feet out, float fishing lift method and a lump of meat on the hook - how could I fail?  

Monday 13 July 2015

The old straight track

Something very appealing about these old Purbeck stone quarries - mostly a one man band with suitably appropriate corrugated iron huts and sheds. True wildlife havens too. The soundtrack on this particular walk was a plethora of skylarks - truly magical.

Friday 10 July 2015

Breakfast delights

The radish obsession continues........succession planting is the name of the game to keep my lunchbox going in the FBR department. Pass the salt and butter Gramps!

Wednesday 8 July 2015

Dog days

The mornings are quieter - only a few rowdy gulls protecting their young on a few of our neighbours roof tops and the odd straggler blackbird - we will have to wait until next year now for such a wonderful cacophony of noise each morning. The straggler blackbird has been with us for weeks - so constant has his presence been that one of the children whistles his song throughout the's tattooed on my brain and I like that. 

I am also on my last brewing of this years elderflower champagne. One more gallon to go and another reminder of natures calendar. I love trying friends brews and have managed a few this year. Ferney's was good on the hottest day of the year, no excellent in fact and the one pictured below was a huge treat due to me forgetting that I had it.

You could class it as vintage, it was from smallholder extraordinaire Steve Cullen and was gifted to me last year - The Captain found it in the fridge and my goodness me it was amazing! Ice cold, light, crisp, not too sweet and refreshing. Mine on the other hand is a slightly more haphazard affair involving tea strainers and all round ridicule from the household - "drink at your peril, it will give you the threepenny bits" - charming!

The scent on my walk to the river however gets better each evening. I haven't done much fly fishing this season for one reason or another - just can't seem to get in the groove, but I still manage to walk the river each day and the scent from this display of dog rose and honeysuckle knocks you out from the head of the path. It gets better each day as the wild calendar plods on through the dog days of summer.  

Wednesday 1 July 2015

The iron church of St Saviour

I quite often drive past this delightful building - it's the corrugated cladding that appeals to me. It was built very quickly in late 1881 / early 1882 and nestles in the gentle rolling countryside where town meets village and then the Vale of Marshwood. St Saviour in the hamlet of Dottery.