Caught by the River

Letter From Arcadia

John Andrews | 15th March 2010

the curtain falls on england (frensham convention)


the season began and ended in the depths of the english countryside, sunrises and sunsets with an ice age in between. the only tench the ones in the memory, the only chub the ones on the wall. at times the only rods the ones in the locker. the whitewater a backwater of the mind and the thames a torrent of cold tea. nine long months which drained the soul with only occasional reprieve. a hoard of golden rudd on a windy july afternoon, a barrel of mackerel on a shingle beach before the pub opened. the salt on our lips should have told of the winter to come, but the ale in our bellies gave us hope. dashed as always, the winter that did come one of empty glasses and fires piled high with welsh coal and orchard culls.

and so to frensham to pay homage on the last weekend. the water like crystal, the sky like fine blue powder. a breeze from the north and the promise of spring there somewhere but still far off. in the surrounding woods birch trees, their boughs snapped by heavy snow and the feeling that something has gone before us. owl droppings on the paths, fir cones underfoot. a place too fine to fish, but fish g and i did as is the custom. a few small ones to a homemade norwegian copper spoon and then just as the day was gone and the temperature dropped a fat pike of 10lbs with its attendant jack that followed it into the landing net. there they lay on the dead reeds, a defiant elizabeth 1st, the queen of ice, and her jack.

the ghost of sandy denny standing by the birdtable