Caught by the River

Letters From Arcadia

John Andrews | 29th July 2008

‘It’s A Long Way To Tipperary’


Whilst you were searching for a still beating heart of darkness wrapped in a metal edged cardboard box at the back of the Orne wardrobe I’ve been out doing vanishing tricks in the B.C. Baitdropper, the underwater Vauxhall Verne, loaded with a ballast bucket of lobworms, a crate of Bremen brewed Becks in brown bottles and three tonne of crumb. On a humid high summer night with the engine pistons greased in goose fat and a prayer painted by on the side in tar by a New England parson in a wide brimmed hat and an appetite for witches, the vessel was lowered by wooden crane into the waters of No 1 and within minutes the boils on the surface had come and gone with only the lonely cry of a coot and a midnight church bell tolling in the background. The bumpy floor of the pond gravel and sand and a forest of weed. The fish they said had long died peering from the gloom. Carp that will never be caught. Eels like mens limbs and eyes that had not seen light since before the war. And then in the corner under the roots of the giant oak the mouth to the tunnel and then a long drop into the Fleet running furiously beneath – its source untouched by the city above. Ran the rapids and took wrong turns at wide arched brick lined sewer junctions that led me to Bow Creek and a near miss with the North Sea but soon I was on course coming up in the Silverbeck just as the sun rose. And there in the bay of the Great Pond with the wind breaking over the sand were the tench with fins like flags. I caught one first cast and the summer had truly begun.

Refrain of ‘We’ll get there one day’ on the birdtable