Caught by the River

The Creel

John Andrews | 7th October 2007


it is the desolate diana and the scene from the planet of the carps in the photo, they are one and the same. the barren wastes of crown land in the winter stalked by teenage prescription drug asbos in reebok classics with no laces, the original midnight baitrunners. your hat trick of full moons was like the great escape, i was waiting for the baliff to say good morning to the big one as he boarded the last train out of hampton court. had my own 36 this week, not a common but a shopfront, the greatest shopfront in the world, 36 station road, aldershot, the address of the creel. the tackle shop i visited with my dad after my first day at secondary school, twenty nine years ago. half a pint of maggots, a plummet and amo, amas, an unhooking mat. unhooking mats as unheard of then as latin is now. on the old strip by the station, past the old southern hotel. the smell of ammonia and giant leneys in their cases on shelves high above the counter, all found dead at frensham small, original stockings from after the war after they’d refilled the ponds from their war draining. renewed my farnham permit for winter days on the wey and trips to frensham. was going to go yesterday morning after i found the following entry in the fishing gazette:

october 14th 1905

‘mr george griffiths of frensham pond writes, ‘our perch are feeding well, within a fortnight with only 3 rods, six have been grassed over 1lb and up to 1 3/4lb and last saturday one of just 2lb’.

last saturday a century on would have been yesterday but put off by the likelihood of yachts on the pond and nagged by my empty pockets i chose the race track at wimbledon for dawn where i knocked out boxes of auction surplus to thames start-ups. tea in the garden today, bulb planting under the magnolia later.

tackle shopfront archive on the birdtable

swifty’s in vauxhall is next