the anno 2008, one without shadows and of many reflections. the long walk. marked by a clock in a georgian house off brick lane that never stopped and a bell for last orders in an oak panelled pub that never chimed. resonance fm on the transistor at half four in the queue. old ravers don’t grow up they just go car booting. wimbledon dog racing track dawns in the snow and the rain, the beauty of the tea wagon and the smell of candyfloss in the morning. the emptying of the cellar and the attic, packing up the white horse and a move up the holloway road on the last day of the season. the arcadians swapping hackney marsh for hampstead heath. swapping the sound of the siren for the screech of the fox, cutting wood in the company of an owl. new landmarks, all of them made of water, the viaduct pond, the vale of health, the west heath stews, number one and number two. finding narnian woods and an adnams tap in the pineapple’s public bar. continued resistance in a dot-dash style keeping the flares in a french field alight. the launching of buster crabbe’s bait dropper and the grand opening of andrews of arcadia. the closing of a door to our first proper pantry, somewhere to store pale ale with that satisfying clink that glass makes on tile, a distant echo from st mary’s road. a whitewater red letter first day with john richardson, conversations in the creel and afternoons and evenings at frensham amongst the tench and the perch with richardson, roberts, haworth and hoad, apsley cherry-garrard’s emperor penguin egg party revived. god bless our dear dogs and cats.
in the year i was going to stop writing and become a 24 hour auction hound a cheque for the caught by the river book, a request to interview yates and a commission from the times suggesting 2009 could be a year of yet more surprises and broken resolutions.
my piece of the year on caught by the river was john williams remembrance for nick sanderson. no better sobriquet than ‘train driver in eye-liner’. not even simenon could have conjured that one.
in the age of arcadia!