Caught by the River

Letter From Arcadia

John Andrews | 6th July 2009

Two Pints on the Village’s Boundary Wall



whilst you were eating at the poltergeist’s picnic with none other than b.o.b – the baron of battersea – and doing the memory of forgotten london bus routes proud, the season opened here with gatherings in the pillars of hercules, the dam at highgate no. 2 and other hostelries too numerous to mention. my memories of bob are like a verbal history passed down, a myth to add to the london pantheon. i was sad to see there was no room on your postcard for the story of the sleeping bag full of sleeping pills and the haunted house at heathrow, the llandudno years, or the plastic bag phantom of clapham common ponds, a story which nearly drowned me in laughter when you told it to me at 3am on the bank of some godforsaken french canal with the punchline ‘i can’t go on, there’s a fucking social worker in my swim’. i would have given ten francs for a social worker that night or even a small bream, but never has a blank been so enjoyable and so filled with stories.

in arcadia, where the eternal question of whether the bait bucket is half empty or half full has yet to be answered by this season’s hunting horn there is no such thing as a social worker, just a bottle of pilchard oil and a gorge hook for those moments of bleak introspection. such moments are what june was made for, the merry half – month of midsummer madness, this year a vortex of soaring temperatures and dry nets. g and i ventured to stockbridge pond, as we have done in year’s past, paid our respects to the late alan peach and fished our hearts out for a bag of two small perch and a handful of roach and rudd. the tench and crucians had their noses buried in the weed and by the end of the night we had retired to the barley mow at tilford bridge where maids escaped from shakespeare’s england put pints of courage into our hands. outside the night sky was crimson and there was not a breath of wind. in the distance a carp crashed by the dam of abbot’s pond and on the bus from bernithan to gloucester a man called bob richards coughed.

a wet sack at your feet on the birdtable