Caught by the River

Brooke Bond Beach Heads

5th September 2007


your seascapes would make even captain cat’s eyes get up and walk. dungeness was a legend of my childhood. there were men down my road who went there sundays, leaving me guessing with my breadflake and hooks to nylon. men of dungeness, powerstations in donkey jackets, long green heave-ho rods and twelve snoods of mackeral, white mini vans come back half rusted from an hours high tide, men not born to roach and rudd their lives away. beach-heads, big intrepids, bobble hats and wellies with the tops turned down. i imitated them, even bunked sunday school and collected mackeral feathers but the call never came. they left me sucking split-shot. unto the carp i went. lugs to holland in a dream, or a john buchan novel. you brought it all back, the sunken wreck of kent childhood, a jarmanised chassis. dungeness lighthouse, my photo on a brownie from a school trip, 3rd prize in the brooke bond inter schools….

last night the moon a-tilt, a punctured wembley winner stoved in from a kneeing. i was still beside the nogent pit as it topped, way beyond the whistle, the cold wet dew on its victory lap, my knees pulled up under the fleece. random fish, aimless strollers on the flat orange water after a day of northern bitter ruffled their feathers. i’d put the right hander on a bed of granules first and only cast at 7, 3 hours back, a 1oz lead flattened with a hammer, using up the Hutchinson hollow braid, flurocarbon a thing of the past, it shouldn’t be on the market, you wouldn’t trust it to hang your granny with a grinner knot. burn the lot and start again. no doubt it’s a hooklink breakthrough, but research only got as far as the break. and in the left hand corner 30lb amnesia, looking like a fucking power cable out of dungeness. cold, de-wined, and running on four bits of toast, i decided a piss and a pack-up. it would get me home by 11, early night, plan it again sam. instinct is stubborn. 15 minutes more, then i’d piss and piss off out. the run came on the piss. 29lbs:

got in at midnight, cooked from dry, digging up the garden veg with a dim smack-it-again-sam torch, the moon long back in the brambles by the time i fell asleep. i should’ve gone again tonight, but the tide is low and the powerstation down. everything is drawing in, from the money pouch to firewood carts, and autumn signals make frantic prompts off-stage.

first pumpkin on the birdtable