The Aurochs

Aurochs, aurochs, aurochs

head full of rocks

I’ve seen their horns

piled like pine trunks

by the roadside

Extinct? Yeah right don’t

believe everything you read

I’ve heard them rumbling

through the village

dead of night

with my own ears I tell you

my damned ears

Don’t let them tell you

that which is not true

Gad! what bore

must take them down

and in their throes what

trees what houses what

mountains left unripped

After all this time

must we extinct the aurochs ourselves?

Leave them be though

they hate man and rip and trample flesh every

chance and every bone they’ve

ever encountered is smashed

and cars disappear down the

sinkholes of their hooves

like toys at the hands

of kids that don’t care

But don’t let them tell you of

that which is not true

never let them tell you

the aurochs is gone

that it sleeps in the stones man walks on


More Brancaster Staithe

Here are some more of the photos I took the other day at Brancaster Staithe.

Old stuff can be very photogenic I think. It has a pathos about it; an air of the forgotten. I wonder who owned this boat and why it was left to rot? It’s my feeling that it actually adds to the landscape, and I’m sure many would agree with me. That’s a little paradoxical when you think about it. Dumping anything in the countryside is rightly considered a crime so why is it abandoned boats should be different? If I found a car dumped by the roadside it would be a different matter. OK there’s no oil or fuel that could cause any harm, and apart from a few nails and rivets if left for another few decades the landscape would probably digest the remains of this boat itself, but I think it’s a bit more than that. The sea, and the communities associated with it, have a unique history inherently attached to them. It’s a history of ordinary working people that’s been overtaken by commercialism, and money. Drive through any of the coastal villages of North Norfolk after dark, and apart from streetlights many of them will be in darkness; out of holiday season the population plummets. Particularly in Winter the marshes hold on to a bleakness that the pretty flint cottages a few hundred yards away belie; the old boat hunched into the creek symbolises the whole atmosphere of the place perfectly I think.






No blogging for ages, but then no fishing for ages either. The weather’s been pretty awful – far too windy for any fly-fishing. I have managed to get out to take some photos though, and written a new article for the Caught By The River website which will hopefully be published soon.

DSC_4632I took the photo of the roe buck above near Sandringham last week. I’ve bought a new zoom lens and want to try to do some wildlife photography. It’s not too bad for a first effort.

DSC_4737The boat above is on the marshes near Brancaster. I’ve photographed it before when it was in the company of a couple of other derelict boats that have since been moved. I wanted to keep the boat small in the landscape to show the size of the marshes. There are more to come when I’ve got round to processing them.

Bees and rudd


I have a fishing friend who I’ve known for several years now. He has 25 acres behind his house and has, over the last 15 years or so, turned it into a wonderful landscape of woodland and meadows, and dug his own lake which he’s stocked with tench, roach, bream, crucians and rudd. I’ve been threatening to go over and have a look for a while now and last Sunday finally made it.

He showed me round and then I fished his lake. Corn was getting mullered by the small stuff before it had a chance to get to the bottom so I put on a small piece of chorizo. It’s something I’ve been meaning to try as a bait for a while, but meat is banned on Downham Market club waters which is where I mainly fish (it’s OK to chuck in unlimited kilos of high protein boilies and the like though, but not put a little cube of meat on the hook). I figured as it’s fairly tough and chewy when uncooked it should be impervious to the pecking of little mouths. It was, and after a couple of minutes the float shot under and I brought my biggest ever rudd to the net. Maybe not quite two pounds, but beautiful nonetheless. I’ve never really looked in detail at a big rudd, or any rudd come to that, but they have a wonderful gilded yellow sheen to their gill plates, and vivid red fins. I’m going to pay more attention to them in future I think.

My other reason for having a tour of his little estate was because I’m going into beekeeping. My garden being wholly unsuitable my search for an apiary site began with my friend Ian who was, happily, very enthusiastic about the prospect of bees on his land. I have already ordered two hives (without bees), and was intending on doing a course over the Winter, and then putting the bees in situ next Spring. However I don’t think I can wait that long, and as a work colleague’s husband keeps bees, and has some for sale, Danny’s Bees may be in action sooner than I thought.

I’ll keep you updated, but I have a feeling a new blog may be in the pipeline. ‘Danny’s Bees’ has a certain ring to it don’t you think?

Poppies, boats and Thornham again.

I took these pictures of some poppies in a barley field near Ringstead the other evening. I just couldn’t get a decent composition though, and then the light went and ever since the weather’s been atrocious! Must try harder…!




DSC_4215The one below I like. I took it at Burnham Overy Staithe a few weeks ago. Just managed to get both boats at the same angle.


And the last one was a high tide at Thornham.


Opening Day

I still adhere to the coarse fishing close season. Not out of any misguided sense of tradition but because I love the anticipation of it. And the trout season starts in April so that keeps me occupied. Also the lakes I fish, which are estate lakes under Downham Market and District Angling Association’s control, are still closed from March 14th to June 16th as are the drains which is where I kicked off this season.


Cuckoo Drain is a small, weedy, typical fenland drain and it holds the usual fenland drain species: tench, carp, bream, perch, pike, roach and rudd. I had a decent carp here early last season – a lovely bronzed english common carp which may never have been caught before, and certainly hasn’t been caught often. This year I put a little bit of bait in on a couple of weekday evenings before fishing it Sunday. The weather on Sunday was decidedly iffy in the afternoon – cool and breezy. But on the 25 minute drive to the drain the sun came out and once I’d set up it was a beautiful evening. I put in a handful of hemp, and literally as I let go of the second handful I saw the dark shape of a tench in the peaty-coloured water. I hoped it wasn’t too spooked though it did disappear pretty sharpish when the hemp hit the water.

The fish obviously hadn’t been that spooked though because after only ten minutes the float disappeared very positively, and this tench came to the net having taken my lobworm bait.


Ten minutes later another really positive bite and this smaller fish.


Then it went quiet for an hour or so. I missed another bite about half eight because I was watching the barn owl hunt on the meadow opposite. But then I did manage another tench before packing up about ten.

It feels good to be tench fishing again. I love fly fishing and sea fishing, but there’s something about a handful of hemp, a lobworm, the lift of a quill float, the stolid resistance and, hopefully, the red-eyed glare, slightly grumpy countenance, and olive-green flanks of a tench laying in the net. I fished until the last of the light, which was pinking the thin high cloud, had faded; when the darkness started to make me imagine the float was dipping, even though I knew it wasn’t.

I went again the following evening, and even though there was a blustery wind blowing in my face, I again had two good fish in the first half an hour of fishing. I managed to float fish because I was fishing right in the margins anyway, and both bites were again very positive.


River Avon at Britford

Had a few impromptu days at Britford, just below Salisbury, a few weeks ago. The weather was a little frustrating, and I didn’t catch any fish, but what a beautiful place. We stayed in a cottage at Bridge Farm which is literally a two minute walk from the fishery.


Wednesday dawned bright and with blue skies. I bought my ticket from Stuart the bailiff who also gave me some advice about where to fish. There was someone fishing the upstream beat so I went downstream to the sluice where the two arms of the Avon converge and fished upstream from there. I saw a couple of nice trout, but nothing rising whatsoever, and by the time I’d fished up I had not had a take. I spoke to the chap fishing the top section and he said he’d had rising fish, and caught several trout to 2lb. The following day we swapped beats but, typically, the wind picked up and was gusting quite strongly downstream, and I gave up after a frustrating hour. I didn’t bump into my fellow angler, but I know the downstream section is considerably more sheltered than the upstream one. But that, as they say, is fishing.

I spent a fair bit of time exploring the old water meadows. The old sluices, mains and drains are not in use anymore though I believe they do flood some of it to an extent. It’s interesting to see this lost landscape; as well as the old sluices and remains of the channels down which the Avon’s water was used to irrigate the meadows there are numerous pollarded trees.


This was the intensive farming of its day. By flooding the meadows and keeping them frost free in the winter they were able to provide earlier grazing for their livestock, as well as a harvestable hay crop. These days they’re left pretty much to the wildlife apart from a few that have been restored by charities like just upstream at Harnham. I saw several watervoles which much prefer them to the fast flows of the river-proper, grass snakes, barn owls, roe deer, and more swifts, swallows and martins in one place than I’ve ever seen before.


The paralell lines running across the photo are remains of either drains or mains used to bring and take away water from the river