Caught by the River

Letters From Arcadia

John Andrews | 26th September 2008

Birdman Spotted Again


There he was again in the oak wood above Moors Pond, the Birdman of La Brisardiere, having taken the wrong turning along the Seine and come up in an old bomb crater in the Kent countryside. From there he took the Hop Pickers path he knew from ancient memory until he picked up the Sinclair Circular round London and made it to Frensham Common. He was twitching and panicky, knowing that with the coming gales his cover will be blown. Frantically building nests for sparrows who have forgotten how to walk the Lambeth walk. Living off lampreys pickled in Pelforth that he kept in a jar strung across his back. Clawed feet stitching mother of pearl into his summer feathers whilst he dried his giant wings in the last of the summer sun. Was it him who let the machine operator out of jail and gave his wife a brace of geese he had strangled himself for Christmas?

In honour of this rumoured sighting or perhaps because of it Richardson and I had a shoal of one hundred perch from the Great Pond in the space of a shortening afternoon on lobworms that Mick at the Creel had fattened up on chickens from Heron Wood. Fished beneath Richardson Fantastic Perch Specials, on silk lines and 4X gut. It was a four hour brawl in shallow water, a letter to the Gazette, a pre-arranged fight out of sight of the baliffs, the gloves off, and the floats under. As dusk fell the Centurion came over the net, the biggest of the lot. His red fins the flames of the fires that were being lit along the country lanes as we headed back to town. A figure that could have been the Birdman dancing in and out of the headlights as they fanned the trees at the roadside.

Mushroom tea on the Birdtable