Caught by the River

Letters From Arcadia

John Andrews | 22nd October 2008


The big moon came up here, too. It rose from behind the Betjeman church tower and lastly over the Heath, a real Bram Stoker pudding, the owl screeching at noon and the church bells ringing as if by themselves. The leaves in the trees catching fire everywhere and the banks of No 2 Pond empty but for footprints. On Friday afternoon last I made a bucket of mash and stewed wheat and took off through the falling leaves to fish for roach with a Richardson Municipal Pond Special and a box of worms dug from Heron Wood. The old wooden diving tower that you will recall has long gone after a midnight diver broke his neck in a fall. But otherwise it will be as you remember it, a Little Nineveh in North London, the barking of dogs incessant, the smell of woodsmoke from somewhere that you can’t quite place and signs every ten yards with the words: DANGER WATER DEEP AT EDGE painted on them in Community Service script.

Dusk filled the shadows in the space of a cast and still the float did not move. I switched to worm in the hope of tempting one of the rumoured perch at the last knock but to no avail. The dogs ceased to bark and the temperature dropped in an instant. No time to linger, I quickly packed and headed off down the lane. It was pitch black when I put the key in the door.

A dog chasing its tail on the birdtable