Wednesday 25 May 2016

Mayfly Madness

It's been a lovely start to the mayfly season on the Dorset Stour. Too lovely really.There have been a lot of enjoyments to mull over as I wend my way home.

This morning I heard my first cuckoo whilst supping my early morning brew - the first since we moved here. The breeze was just right, gentle and slightly from the north east in the general direction of Eggardon. And there she was, as gentle as that breeze.............this local cuckoo was one of many this year. The rest have been on the Stour and have provided the soundtrack to my rusty casting as I tried to tempt pure wild trout on the mayfly. One evening four different cuckoo were going at it. I haven't heard anything like that since an idyllic morning listening to them in Tuscany ten or more years ago.

The fishing has been superb. Clear water and chalk stream in these parts. We are blessed with an extended season in Wessex. It starts on the Stour and moves in a helpful way to the Frome and Piddle and then onto the Avon for what I guess is the traditional "Duffers Fortnight". These wild trout of the Stour fight hard and the unwary need to be on their guard. None of your light gear here. I,of course, found this out the other evening, totally smashed by what would have been a trout worthy of red ink in my diary.

When you do look up from the river the mayfly are dancing in their thousands. Dancing the mayfly dance. Later, in spent form, they too will be gorged on by the fish of the river. Not just the brown trout and grayling, but chub and dace like to get in on the act as well. It's hard not to get caught up in the mayfly madness.

Monday 23 May 2016


Paul Nash - The Parade, Swanage 1936
You will have to excuse my slight Nash obsession at the moment. I have always felt his photography, like that of John Piper, has often been overlooked. It just helps to fuel my obsession that a great deal of his photography was carried out in Dorset.

Paul Nash - The Parade, Swanage 1936
A number of his views were to inspire future pieces of art or to act as reminder when he was compiling the Shell Guide to Dorset.

Paul Nash - The Parade, Swanage 1936

Friday 20 May 2016

Friday Ditty Pt 25

A superb video to accompany the addictive Radiohead track Burn the Witch - Trumpton, Chigley, Camberwick Green...........oh and a slice of The Wicker Man - magnificent!

Monday 16 May 2016

Views of Little London

I feel like a bit of a stalker sometimes when on my travels - it's not always intentional, but it's just some of my special places were also the special places of some of my loved artists - Paul Nash, John Piper, Bawden, Ravilious ...............they are just as special now.

Sometimes, just by chance, I will have taken in a view and found the very one in a photograph or painting on my return home - I am not artistic at all, I just like to notice things. They liked these places then. I like them now.

Paul Nash - High Street, Swanage 1935

Paul Nash - Town Hall, Swanage 1935

Paul Nash - High Street, Swanage 1935

The view up High Street in Swanage and the entrance to the Town Hall are always pleasing to the eye - the story is a good one and the old name of "Little London" is most appropriate for Swanage - I'll let you read the story of Mowlem and his links to the town here, but on my return after a recent visit I felt sure I had seen the views before. I had a look through my Paul Nash photographs and knock me down with a barge pole I found these. All taken circa 1935-1936 when Nash was a regular visitor to the town. He lived here for a short time when researching his Shell Guide to Dorset - more of that another day, but for now I make no apology for following in the footsteps of Nash. I am sure I will continue to do so both intentionally an unintentionally.

Wednesday 11 May 2016


I suppose in some ways this follows quite nicely from my post before last relating to town furniture. A trip to London is a pleasure - it's always nice coming home to the quiet folds of Dorset afterwards, but there is just so much to take in. I never know which way to look. A recent trip yielded a few is nice to know there is a little slice of West Dorset in Soho and Covent Garden. These (Spring Forge, Puddletown) iron covers can be found in quite a few places across town.

There was another one too (road gulley cover), which I am kicking myself for not photographing. In Soho, not too far from the interesting looking shop that is DV8, was one from the Gundry Foundry in Bridport. Also, some from Cannop in the Forest of Dean. Next time perhaps.

Wednesday 4 May 2016

Cocks and knockers

I will resist temptation to go all Frankie Howerd on you, honest! These two delightful examples were found quite by chance on the same day - one in Sussex and one in Dorset. The delightful weathercock was found in a quiet corner of Chichester Cathedral. Its story an interesting one.

It was taken down from the spire in 1978 and replaced by something "modern". This one was made and erected in 1638 and it fell down, with the spire, in 1861. Restored and returned to the new spire in 1866 it remained in place until 1978 - can you imagine what tales it could tell? The indentations to the tail are supposedly from a Battle of Britain dog fight. 

It was huge by the way and I could not resist feeling it and thinking about all it had seen from its vantage point so high - there were also many inscriptions from the clergy (1638-1866) who had looked after it for so long.    

The Green Man was spotted on my evening walk when I got home. I have not seen him before, but what a pleasing door knocker he makes? I don't think he is of the same vintage as our weathercock, but a very fine piece of door furniture nonetheless. I like the way his hands cross to form the door knocker.

There you are - no Frankie Howerd and no smut!