Caught by the River

The Wicker Men

John Andrews | 17th September 2007


i used to think your french carp were zeppelins when you held them by the tail and watched them creep back into the water in the beam of a torch. searchlight phantoms. now i know they’re the ghosts of your juggernaut drivers as they cross the country on a cocktail of pastis and pills, with their pinprick speedball eyes, the descendents of maigret’s barge boys. feeding on your baits like they were swilling down a five franc dinner at a roadside bar. they are history, down to the last scale. mirror carp, a reflection of france, the miscreant country at the back of europe’s line.

while you were hitching your hooks to passing trucks i was down the leg of mutton for what felt like the last of the bushy park trilology. armed with a peter wheat bottle green glass avon, a battered mitchell 300, 8lb all the way through, chick peas and an a pair of efgeeco rod rests. i wasn’t through the gates til one o’clock, an early start thwarted by the deer cull. the bracken turning and the leaves beginning to come down. thunderstruck oaks turning white. the walk through the bracken maze took me past sets of antlers that would suddenly move, and disappear into the woods like wicker heads. the feeling of being watched. the end of the summer at sunset. finally my only wild carp of the summer climbed the ladder and took the bait. the fire was lit and out came the wicker heads to celebrate. even rod stewart and britt eckland’s bum double. they reckon the original master of the wicker man was buried under the M3 and now i know where, at the hampton court turn off, junction 1. with the bones of a medieval common in the can. the distant cousin of your mirror.

summerisle celebration on the bird table