Saturday, 29 September 2012

This and that


A few things organised this next month including our 39th wedding anniversary and The Boss's birthday.
We are going to be spending a bit of money, we had no need for Barbel Society linked freebees that one individual keeps spreading around to anybody who may listen, being independently quite well off and not needing to be driving a bus for a living!

Awaiting my permit for a certain bit of the Severn and all my reels cleaned up and re-armed for a few days on the Trent, and a day on a private bit  of the Thames and that's just in the first 10 days!
I would have loved to have had a pop at the Upper Witham, Idle and the Bain after this rain, but my timing is out just a bit, unless we have a bit more of the wet stuff.

I'll tell you about what we have done and the fishing when I next blog.

Jools Holland Show

Watched Jools Holland last night for the first time in ages, what a show. 
Whilst looking quite elderly,and Brian Wilson looking like he was somewhere else, the Beach Boys put on quite a show, they still have it! I wish I had got the tickets I promised myself for one of their concerts, ah well.
Having briefly seen Muse on the Olympics closing ceremony, I was quite impressed with the music and style of their three numbers. I'll need to check them out a bit..
 Time I listened a bit more to current music, rather than the Radio Two play list.
It also seemed that the warning at the start of the show by the continuity announcer about strong swearing  was a just in case. Mr Lydon was at his best, although not being a fan of him or his music, I have to say I grown to like him over the last few years. His acknowledgement to British Butter for putting him the position to create the latest Public Image Ltd offering was hilarious. I don't think he swore once!.
Xx did nothing for me, and I would have liked to have heard more of Natalie Duncan, so I'll check her out.


Andy Williams, Herbert Lom, and John Bond.  

Andy WilliamsHerbert Lom


You may recall I've mentioned our neighbour Jim before, he's the one we looked after when he broke his leg after being chased around the garden by wasps, and more recently his snapped Achilles tendon, well we dragged him out to the White Hart at lunchtime for his first outing, apart from hospital visits, for the last 8 weeks or so.
4 pints later, after checking the usual row of 4 brews, led by Wentworth's 5.5 South Island Pale Ale,
Cottage Brewery's Winston Churchill 4.2,   Idle Brewery's Golden Crown 3.8,   and finally the Coastal Brewery's Seaside Special at 3.8, we assisted Jim back home.
I have to say I could have stayed on the Wentworth as it was so good, but thought better of it and just had one of each!
Unusually the pub had quite a crowd in for a Saturday lunchtime, so the chance trip turned out to be good fun, that may have been the alcohol, but a few more tales told of the local goings on, both old and new, helped us on our way along the row of beers on offer!
The local gossip is that the other ex pub/restaurant, the Black Horse is to be a Tesco Express....I don't think so!

Wednesday, 26 September 2012



As some of you may well know I was involved with the production/editing of Barbel Fisher, the Barbel Society's members magazine from issues 25 to 34.

No 34's  cover photo

The latest edition number 34 reached most of the members this last Monday.
Good job I never took any notice of the few personal knockers,otherwise I would have given it up long ago.
Having now made all the members aware it was my final issue I've been overwhelmed, nay inundated with  thanks and well wishes by telephone, personal messages on the private forum and emails  from the membership.Some have even missed me on the various forums!!
So the silent majority have a last had their say, it's a shame I have to wait until Christmas with my general message of thanks to them all, but a letter will be winging it's way to the new editor, as soon as I've milked all the praise.

This internet thingy ain't all it's made out to be by some!

Pixham Ferry 

The test run of the new fishery

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

My Life the occasional story

Life on the office floor Part 1

Monday 2nd August 1965 was the start of my working life, well full time working life. I had been a paper boy, and did a bit of weekend cleaning and odd jobs in the Lee Cooper factory on the local industrial estate, my mate Malcolm Dunks’s Dad was Chauffeur to the Managing Director.  But, this day was my introduction into the real world and was to form the grounding of my career in commercial property management.

Following the usual school careers officer interview at about 14, I advised the officer that I didn’t want to work in a factory or in a shop. 
It was obvious to me at that time that I had no real technical ability, woodwork, metal work and technical drawing projects were just scruffy. My subjects were the arts and biology. My science and maths were pretty useless,although I could deal with arithmetical problems, geometry and algebra just went over my head.
I had no idea what I wanted to do when I left school,so I decided to stay on for GCE “O” levels.
 I spent the next 2 years studying for my “O” levels in all the subjects non technical and non scientific, a total of 9 subjects. To say I studied was stretching the facts a bit, what I was doing, and the Welsh teachers encouraged it, was school sports. I represented the school in cricket, football, rugby, cross country running and the javelin!
When I wasn’t doing that I was painting the stage for the school plays.
So the time came for job interviews, which started with the local employment agency and the decision by me that London sounded a better place to work than Romford, or the Ford works at Dagenham where most of the non GCE lads ended up.
So I was given one appointment to attend with International Tea Company Stores( Kearley and Tonge) in Mitre Square London EC3. I duly attended was spoken to by a Mr Muggleton the Personnel Manager who was impressed that I had taken 9 O levels. Phase one of the deception.
Anyway shortly after that a letter arrived telling me I had a job, nothing specific, but a start date of the 2nd August. 
I can’t remember if I had a suit for that interview, but either way, I was taken along to Burtons in Romford and my Dad chose me the suit, it was a charcoal grey two piece.
The day arrived and I took the train to Liverpool Street and walked to Mitre Square, dutifully arrived before 9am and was shown into a room which was already occupied by perhaps a dozen lads and lasses.
One by one the room was emptied until there were two of us left. 
Mr Muggleton along with his assistant Mr Hart then, after a brief chat to each other, asked “who wants to work in the Grocery Sale room and who wants to work in the Company Secretary’s office”
We both looked at each other with that puzzled expression as if to say, what the hell are they on about? 
We had no idea!
Obviously they had already made up their mind and after the non reaction lead us away. My new found friend with Mr H, and me with Mr M.
I was taken to the middle block of the 3 former tea warehouse buildings in Mitre Square, where I was introduced to Sam Preston the Company Secretary and then to another office to be introduced to Stan Smith the Property Director (both were Cecil's by the way)
From there I was taken to the Secretary's department to meet Stan Goodburn , John Sheldrake, Bob Kelly and last, but not least, a 20 year old Ivan("I'm just a humble office clerk")Carter.
I was handed an envelope and told never to disclose the contents to any other member of staff and was advised that Ivan was going to show me the ropes.
The contents of the envelope by the way, were my terms of employment which advised of a wage of £3/15 shillings a week, to be paid in cash, and that I effectively had 3 months to prove myself.
Ivan took me for the introductory tour of the building, told me I would be doing the post, filing and fetching the tea from the basement, in fact the latter was my first task after being introduced to all the people in our block except the Chairman. The Director of Accounts, the Chief Cashier and the Company Registrar, followed by the Pensions Manager and the two Directors Secretaries.
With the benefit of hindsight it was apparent to me that my job which was in THE OFFICE of the company was gained under false pretences, on the basis of my assumed high level of education.
As it turned out I gained passes in English Language and Art and Craft, and only just at that. Sam Preston over a period of perhaps a year or so regularly asked me for the certificates, which I managed to not supply on the basis that leaving school before the end of term meant I didn’t get handed my certificates and they had been mislaid by the school.
I got away with that, but was encouraged to try to get qualification as a Chartered Secretary, this lasted for the 7 and a half years I was employed by the Company. 
My aversion to schooling always stopped me stepping up to the next stage of my education. During that time I proved my ability without the need to have a piece of paper entitling me to have letters after my name.

To follow: Part Two the job and the International Drinking Society.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Cracking weekend



I have to say I thought I had been to Hastings at sometime in the distant past with my old buddies in the late 60's/ 70's, but it would appear not. I can certainly remember free wheeling down hill from Ore through the arch at Winchelsea and getting burnt off the dunes at Camber Sands, but Hastings, nothing rang a bell.I have to say I was pleasantly surprised on our weekend visit to the Seafood and Wine Festival in the OldTown there was some character in the buildings and some characters in the Old    Town.
We stayed in an hotel on the front for two nights after a 5 hour plus journey down across the Dartford crossing, it took us 3 hours to the A127 turn off and another hour to get across the bridge!
So slightly knackered after checking in, we found the location of the festival which was close to the waterside, we had a quick walk around to see what was available, it was packed, and then decided to have a pub crawl through the old town before settling for a shellfish dinner.
I have to say at £3.40 a pint of Bishop Finger I was slightly shocked at the first port of call to a Shepherd Neme pub, you must remember up in the sticks I pay £2.60. I didn't expect this price in the wilds of Sussex. Unperturbed we moved on to the next pub....another Shepherd Neme £3.80!!! We eventually found a pub worth staying put, which sold Timothy Taylor Landlord at £3.20 a pint, good job the Boss only drinks halves!! Not tight fisted you understand, but spoilt perhaps
After setting ourselves up we moved on to the restaurant and shared a shellfish platter of oysters,whelks,winkles, prawns and crab.
It was with some trepidation I tried the oysters, the last time I had them was at an expensive west London fish restaurant, must have been 12-15 years ago. Never have I felt so ill, well apart from a Barley wine session with the boys from the International Drinking Society in 1969, that took days to recover from.Perhaps another story
I can't remember how long it took me to get home back to Castlethorpe, but luckily my office colleague Louise had already 'phoned the Boss to say I was on my my way and not very well. I was met at the station at Wolverton and I was deathlike, apparently. So I got home dosed myself up with Alka Selza, slept it off and was perfect next day, fully recovered.
Anyway, I survived the oysters, the platter was ok, but nowhere near up to the standards of similar platters served everywhere in France. At £22 for both of us no complaints I suppose.
After a fine full English next morning we strolled around the town awaiting the Festival opening at around 11am.

The bouncer worked!
Shops on the old cricket pitch!

Once again the place was heaving, being free probably helped, but it was a cracking weekend weather wise.
Plenty of tasters, although I have to say that English wine is still not to my taste, so wasn't tempted to buy a case or two.
Fish & chips were good though for a late afternoon munch, before the pubs called again.
Next year, Whitstable Oyster Festival I think.
Yesterday found us heading west after breakfast to visit my Aunt Maggie, close approaching 92, and living outside Bognor Regis.
A few hours with her reminiscing about the family and off back home.
Four and a half hours journey time and 60mpg out of the Octavia. To think I was going to change the motor before the October MOT, she may have another year to go yet!

....and finally

I very nearly wet myself with laughter, the little fella has emailed me and threatened he'll put me in the river next time he sees me on the bank!
Having already advised him in the past that I'll let him have first swing, I can confirm the offer still stands!
You have to feel sorry for some people don't you ?  And it's only fishing!

Friday, 14 September 2012

Not just fishing!


My dietitian advising on my eating and drinking habits, was quite disturbed about the way I went about loosing two stone, primarily my method  was the removal of all bread,pasta rice and spuds from my diet!
What it comes down to in the end is that I shouldn't have stopped eating them, but to cut down my servings,so really all I need to do is stop eating so much food.
My alcohol consumption needs reducing and I need more exercise.Everything that I already knew, but I love good food and drink  Exercise? ...Well perhaps I should walk to my swim more often!! Or. put the cross trainer that been decorating my spare bedroom for some time to some use.
Anyway, we decided that perhaps to assist in my bread consumption, the local bakers offering, although very good, gave me no control over the content, at the very least salt. So we went out and bought a breadmaker, and before you say, it's not as good as making real homemade bread, I would remind you that I'm basically bone idle!
We got hold of a non all singing and dancing Morphy Richards breadmaker for about £40, which makes a small loaf of about a pound. the trouble is it's too easy provided you stick to the main recipe.
So this last week I've been practising with making bread, eating too much, but it is in the interest of research!
Who want's to live to 101 anyway?


When we lived in Essex many years ago, we used to religiously make the annual pilgrimage to Alfriston in Sussex for the English wine festival.
Basically a tasting of the very few English wines being produced 30 years ago.All in all a very good day, usually ending with a few hours lying on Beachy Head, detoxing!
We've decided to do something similar this weekend but adding into the tastings our other food passion sea food. We're heading to Hastings for the Seafood and Wine festival.
I'll let you know how we got on.

And finally

Have a read some time, if you haven't already of Bob Roberts blog some really good stuff. Some of this and some of that not just about fishing!
Ok Bob does sing his own praises from time to time, nothing wrong with that, he's good at what he does, so why shouldn't he?
At the very least he has something to sing about, unlike someone,who will remain nameless, and seems to need to always compensate for his shortcomings by  belittling others.
When you finish reading Bob's blog, you will see that the little man still has the hump with me.He calls me a turncoat and all because I didn't  tow his line on Barbel Society policy and quitting his little group of sycophants.
He already had one man on board and thought I would assist in his aims.
Nobody will ever get away with blackmailing me into towing their line, especially just for the "privilege" of fishing a few hundred yard bit of of the mighty Trent.
Now I am no longer on the Barbel Society committee I may well enlighten readers on the steps taken, lead by the napoleon of the internet, in his attempts to undermine and do damage to the Society in his quest for some influence.

Bob's blog

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Back on the river

Got the trots back!

I haven't used a float on a river now for must be two years, the last time on the river Idle and managed some nice roach around the pound mark stret pegging, but haven't tried it again.
Chilly willy!

So back back on the middle Trent with my mate Rob he decided to get wet.
Me? I decided to stay on terra firma
The downstream wind veering round to come straight at me didn't help the practice but I still enjoyed the trip out landing a good few roach,dace and  a gudgeon!

The best fish of the day a perch, which took two red maggots and even had the cheek to spike me and drew blood. I can still see the wound, feels bruised!  

I've had  7 Chris Lythe floats for a few years, the intention was to put them in a case and stick them on the wall, but thought, no I won't,so I've started to use them.
I think my problem has been sitting behind two rods watching the skyline, so having practiced and recovered the hang of it, methinks a few more sessions are in order.
The upper Witham, the Idle are calling again.

Note to Ray Thorpe

I'm surprised he still has his own front teeth mate!!

Sunday, 9 September 2012

New Barbel Society fishery

Pixham Ferry

The Barbel Society are pleased to announce that from 1st October we will have a new syndicated fishery on offer on the River Severn, at Pixham Ferry near Worcester.The fishing is from our old Beauchamp Court lower boundary to the car park/access at the end of Pixham Ferry Lane, almost 1200 yards of fishing. The famous Green Door, Cables, Wasp Nest swims will be known by many as productive barbel spots!
Current members will have priority initially, but new members can may also  take up fishery permits. Permits will be limited, so send your applications in promptly!

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Barbel Society news

New stretch of river

I hinted at some important news a few weeks ago, a brief mention has been made on the BS facebook page, details to follow.
It's on the vastly improved Lower Severn.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Had enough?

This may be the last time!

Back again tonight to lake one, to give it one more go to see if there was anything of any size.
Decided to stick to bread flake and feed with hempseed, and to fish under the rod top.
This was in the hope that I would see if there were bigger roach and rudd present, maybe for one last time.
As it happens there weren't at least not for me, they were about the same stamp. But, at around the last hour into darkness I started getting the finicky bites, I type I always associate with the crucian carp,and that is what they were. I had about a dozen out on the trot, they were obviously keeping the silvers away.
Not very big, cracking little fish with  a nice twisting turning tussle.

On my way into the fishery I travel some distance down the estate lane and today I identified the source of the bird calls that I first thought were quail. As I drove down I came upon the farmer and his tractor, so as you will see it's a narrow lane, I pulled over into the first available clearing and spotted the noisy beasties around a feeder, they are guinea fowl. I knew I had heard the calls before,because we saw flocks and flocks of them in South Africa. Another little matter solved!

The lane

Ah, it's them!

Anyway, I digress slightly, as darkness fell and the last cast syndrome kicked in, I had two casts and took two commons on the flake, both around the 6lb mark.
It made me start thinking of the reasons why I continue to go down to these lakes and if I will continue.After all I'm pretty certain I know the secrets of the lakes...there aren't apparently any!
The main reasons I suppose I go down to the lakes regularly is they are quiet for  few hours into darkness, I have no problem with my own company so that suits me.
Then there is no 'phone signal, not a real problem now I've given up my BS work(almost), and finally it has just been fun catching fish almost to choice.
I know if I want carp up to 10lb I can concentrate on them, I can tiddler bash to my hearts content, and the crucian are there for the taking on flake.
There is that marauding fish that sits below the overhang of the bushes on the island though, every so often it aggressively takes an insect or bug off the surface.  A fly rod would probably help, only I need to get me one!
I may have a crack at that.
The rivers are calling, I'm on the Trent early next week, so we shall see how things go.

Monday, 3 September 2012


Back to pond one

6pm ish 'til dark my 14' match rod, my Shimano 1000 and a box of maggots,straight through on 4lb Maxima (for the carp)and a size 14.
Good fun and a mixed bag of roach, rudd, gudgeon and perch,just what the Doctor ordered.
Didn't land an arse hooked common, but one about 6lb came in good.

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Testing 2/9/12

Experiences is 250 up, so thought I would try a change

I thought the swallows had gone but they haven't!

Ready ,willing and waiting 1953!

Avon Fund Raiser

You are cordially invited to the fourth annual Avon Fundraiser organised by the Barbel Society and Avon Roach Project, this is open to all.
All funds raised are used on conservation works on the river.
The event involves a friendly match on the famous Somerley Estate on the Hampshire Avon on the Saturday, followed by a meal and auction of lots at a nice hotel nearby.
Attendees are welcome to fish the Estate on the Sunday also, so many make a weekend of it dates are 6th and 7th October.
Cost is £50 all in, and the auction lots include tackle, fishing days, books and some very special items as a rule; for example in the past a Cooper cased fish, and Redmire water in a flask donated by Chris Yates.

Details from Pete Reading 
Numbers are limited, so please apply early.

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Short session

Try something different

Had a couple of hours last night into darkness and the showery rain set in.
Used proper maggots and prawns, trying to see if there is anything bigger in lake two.
Put a prawn on a size 6 and a big weight for self hooking and put it in the margins by the only bed of reed on the lake.
Got this one in about half an hour, dead on 10lb, a great bit of sport on my 11foot Youngs rod and Purist ll and a struggle to squeeze into my landing net.
No more on the prawn, but the little'uns enjoyed whittling them away!!

Plenty of the same size as usual roach and the occasional tiny rudd on the maggot hard on bottom.
At last knockings these two came along.Even more fun on my 14 foot match rod and size 14 both about 6lb.