Friday, 29 April 2016

Market Finds No 21

This "market find" has given me the most pleasure in a long while. I first heard about this book many years ago when me old muckers lovely Mum told me about it - she said I would enjoy it and very generously let me borrow her very own copy. It's a rare book and I had to swear that I would not only look after it but absolutely promise to return it to her. I did both and loved the book. Never seen a copy since.

This copy was nestled in a box of "tat" and just reached out to me, it wanted to be found - needless to say I am now reading it again as we head into our own, much smaller, garden renovation here in Dorset. I know the landscape, of Herefordshire, that Monty writes about well and it's a pleasure to be reacquainted with it. 

I like Monty Don. He wears good boots and writes well. He has an honest way about how he approaches his craft. The Prickotty Bush is another welcome addition to my bookshelf and in some ways I think it was meant to be.  

Monday, 18 April 2016

Roadside find

I can never resist a well laden roadside stall - this was in the wilds of Dorset and the bantam eggs were 60p for half a dozen. The supermarkets would hate them of course - they aren't all the same shape. I don't need to tell you how yellow the yolks were, you know - did they taste amazing? Of course they did............with bacon, black pudding and toast! 

Friday, 15 April 2016

Thames Conservancy

This delightful piece of ephemera dates from 1955 and was unearthed from a market stall "off manor" as they say - I enjoy picking up items off my home turf and this is one of a few  items found recently. You can just imagine famed man of the Thames AE Hobbs reading this and thinking "not likely, there be big trout and perch in those weirs". Fancy another pint of Brakespear Albert?

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Spring Head

John Piper - Foliate Head: Spring (1986)
The weather has been schizoid of late. The beginning of the trout fishing season has seen the local rivers up and down like a yo-yo with freezing cold winds to boot. The opening day proved to be the best day to actually cast a line - I didn't. Then we have had days of glorious warming sunshine and days of heavy rain. 

The plum blossom in the family orchard, which is up in Gloucestershire, is just peeping through. The pear will be next and maybe the cherry might have a spurt and beat them all - no sign of it yet. The joy that is the early days of spring blossom - you just don't know how each season will begin.

The ramsons are out and the swallows have arrived. A few have been darting about in Dorset and my diary tells me around now is the norm unlike last years amazing sighting on the last day of the coarse fishing season (March 14th). Very welcome they are too. Is it me, or do the seasons seem to arrive quicker each year? Maybe it's just me getting old.

Monday, 11 April 2016

River, Wood, Heath and Down

I don't know much about the artistic partnership that was Clifford & Rosemary Ellis - I just know that I like their work very much indeed. In the main it was for London Transport (Underground, Trolleybus and Bus), but they were also known for many pleasing book covers (New Naturalist) and their work for Shell and the GPO. The posters below (1933) are probably my favourites. If I had to choose one it would be a toss of the coin for River or Down...........go on then, I'll take River please. 

Friday, 8 April 2016

Friday Ditty Pt 22

A little treat for you this Friday - two blasts from The Remo Four. A Liverpool band who shared Brian Epstein as their manager with The Beatles. Some of the band went to school with McCartney. I love these two tracks from 1966 - great single sleeve for Live Like A Lady.

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Now and then

April 2016

I've mentioned a few times about my route to the river - it's a regular route even when not going fishing. I get used to it and notice the changes week by week. One change more than any other. One of my favourite Dorset directional signs - in three years it has succombed to the ravages of the weather and possibly the mechanical hedge cutter. It lost its finial long before I "noticed" it as a favourite sign - it may be in the hedge or buried in the verge, but I fear its days are over.

March 2013

Monday, 4 April 2016

The Purton Hulks

The Gloucester to Sharpness Canal was a regular haunt of mine as a child - the roach and perch were a major draw and I would often cycle miles of towpath to fish at Slimbridge, Cambridge, Frampton-Upon-Severn, Saul and much further down to Purton and Sharpness. Here, my friends and I would fish - invariably it would be winter and usually we were frozen. Huddled under canvas Efgeeco brollies with a flask of tommy soup and more often than not we were fishless. To warm up we would explore the mud flats, banks and barge wrecks of the nearby tidal River Severn. I cannot imagine parents letting their children do anything like it these days.......maybe ours did not know? Anyway they were happy times. 

I made a return visit - not a lot has changed. The largest ships graveyard in maritime Britain is still there to shore up the Severn banks and protect the canal. It is a weird and eerie place.

Schooners, Trows, Stroud Water Barges, Dock Lighters, Work Boats, Bird Barges, Appledore Barge, Numbered Lighters...........they are all here. Most are named - Mary Ann, Monarch, Orby, Severn Collier, Rockby, Britannia, Higre, Tirley, Shamrock, Abbey, Ada, Huntley, Dursley, Selina Jane to name but a few.

The first barges were dumped in about 1909 with the last in the 1970's - they are still here covered by the silt of time and tide. May they rest in peace.     

Friday, 1 April 2016