Who am I?

My photo
An individual, of no great importance, who is unable to the see the natural world as a place for competition. I catch fish, watch birds, derive immense pleasure from simply looking at butterflies, moths, bumble-bees, etc - without the need for rules! I am Dylan and this is my blog - if my opinions offend? Don't bother logging on again - simple!


Sunday, 21 July 2019

Even the gulls are bored

The drudge of normality is ever present as Bev and I learn to adapt to the massive upheaval as a result of her Mum moving in with us. Bev is an absolute star, coping as she does. At least I have the escape of work to give me a break, she's on call 24/7! It can, therefore, be no great surprise that my fishing project has taken a major hit and is now, once again, in the slow lane and well down any list of priorities I might have.  Don't get me wrong, life is still very good and getting better as our financial security is becoming more clear due to the assistance of a certain Peter Harris. Once the details of my Kodak pension fund have been clarified, Easy Street here I come should I so choose?
In the mean while, I am very limited in my free time and seem to spend much of it in, and/or around, the back garden. We've reached the stage where completion of the bungalow refurb project is very much on the horizon. The replacement of the conservatory and laying a new lawn will see us finished - before Christmas is our target, so not particularly rushed. Finances, not time, are the limiting factor at present, although just a temporary glitch in the bigger picture.

The second brood of Robins have recently left their flowerpot nest, just beside the aviary, and are starting to explore the surroundings. I managed to grab a couple of shots as one of them visited the feeding station in our neighbours garden. The adult Herring Gulls are still tending to the youngsters, although they are now on the wing and wandering further afield, so any food waste is soon cleared when thrown out onto the lawn. Natural recycling is how I see it - others view it very differently? Feed the birds or don't feed the birds? How is it OK to put out peanuts for Blue Tits but not OK when gulls are involved? My brother, Simon, has it even more defined - he's not allowed to feed the, re-introduced, Red Kites in his Buckinghamshire garden! On the other hand, Herring Gulls; The Isle of Thanet - the clue's in the title - these birds are here because this is where they live. Seagulls - an island - where's the problem? It's quite bizarre how emotions are aroused when the subject of feeding gulls is on the agenda. To my way of thinking they are just as welcome as any other species. So it was one of the resident birds, standing on the garden fence, which provided the inspiration for this blog post. I'd picked up the camera, just because it was there and the sun shining brightly. What I hadn't foreseen was the demonstration of boredom I was to witness. Up close these birds are very impressive and this individual could be a candidate to replace Jonathan? Time will tell.

I managed to get out with the kit for a couple of hours, this evening, over at Homersham. My tenth double of the campaign was my very first fish, so quite pleased with the outcome. Mick Jones, the bailiff, did the honours with the camera - hence the square image - cheers Mick! Have no idea when I'll get out again? But life goes on.

Wednesday, 17 July 2019

Lunar eclipse

As we walked out of the factory, yesterday night, at 22.00 hrs Darren "Twatters" Twyman mentioned that there was a partial eclipse of the moon. He'd heard this on the BBC weather forecast at lunch time. Arriving at the car park - there it was, happening there and then! I quickly drove home, grabbed the camera kit, my Manfrotto tripod and set about attempting to capture a few images. Once again my complete lack of skill resulted in fairly ordinary, sub-standard shots, yet they do capture the gist of the event.

Meanwhile, the House Sparrow population around West Dumpton is absolutely thriving. It's normal for there to be 100+ birds in our, and the two adjacent, gardens with an estimated 55 - 60% being this year's young. All three pairs of Herring Gulls, along Vine Close, have reared three youngsters to fledging, much to the annoyance of passing dog walkers. The adults aren't particularly endeared to dogs, they must see them as foxes, I suppose? Their dive-bombing behavior is quite aggressive and often sees the dog walkers make a hasty about turn - bloody wimps!

Saturday, 13 July 2019

Few words - mainly pictures

Man; am I struggling at the moment? Very simply I can't find any carp and have been chasing shadows and playing hunches. Either, which way, the result is the same - silent alarms and the rod cradled, untroubled, in the rests. One fish in twenty three sessions is a very damning statistic, yet accurately reflects the campaign thus far.

When I'm on early shifts I collect Emily from school, Monday to Thursday, and this week we've decided that we needed to do something different than going back to Nanny's and playing on the I-pad. In the four days we've done quite a bit. Stroking lambs, riding on a zip wire, the pub, pre-baiting my swims and finally seeing Emily catch her first fish - all in school uniform.

You'd have thought she might be a little more impressed?

I had my company medical, on Wednesday, and am pleased to report that I'll still be making ink for another year, God willing! Whilst I was undergoing the examination, the insurance company employee engaged in all the usual banter associated with such a pointless exercise. I moaned about arthritis and getting old, but still managed to add the positive bits about the joys of being a grand parent. She looked on horrified, her kids were eleven and four, grand parenting still not on the radar - yet!

Not catching carp does have some strange benefits, as I've discovered. Steve Gale once made mention of "big skies" on his superb North Downs & Beyond blog. Ever since I have found myself in wonder of this phenomenon whenever I'm out on the flatlands and have started to point the camera in their direction at an increasing rate. The results have been very pleasing, although not always able to capture the feel of that moment?

Sunday, 7 July 2019

Rock/hard place and sad news

I nicked this from the BBC News page - Getty Images own the copyright. Hope they don't mind?
God only knows how I've tried to steer clear of airing my thoughts on the lunacy surrounding the Conservative Party leadership nonsense and, as such, the subsequent incumbent of No. 10 - our new Prime Minister! I wouldn't trust either of them as far as I could throw them - they are politicians, thus liars for a living. Boris is a clown, couldn't even cut it with Deayton, Hislop & Merton during the "Have I got news for you" period and is now much akin to the fake tanned buffoon from across the pond, except Bozo doesn't do the orange spray! The other deluded wannabe is equally out of touch; I know what'll swing it my way, let's allow a free vote on fox hunting! You what? We're on the precipice of a democratic catastrophe, so a vote on hunting with dogs will change all that! What a fucking twat. Yes, the Conservative party members might be swayed - the UK electorate are totally opposed to the idea, thus another manifestation of the blinkered world in which politicians orbit.
Theresa May couldn't have done any more, mainly thanks to the idiotic, party political, stance from Corbyn and his associates. Brexit never was, and never will be, about party politics, it's about national identity and our right to define our own rules and sovereignty. Quite why these two goons think that they will be able to achieve something which, previously, has been impossible is to be seen. History will judge them accordingly, but let's hope that Corbyn, and gigantic ego, also receives his comeuppance? Party politics had no place in such an historic period of change, therefore it requires a united parliament, fully supportive of the negotiating team, to go to Brussels and sort a deal which delivers a sustainable way forward. At present, we've got more chance of getting struck by lightning, whilst walking a tightrope across Niagara Falls!
Shambolic, dysfunctional, chaotic? If you can think of any other word for screwed up, it will be equally descriptive of our present political situation. The UK, it would seem, is like a ship without a skipper, but we've lost the rudder as well. In times of trouble the UK has demonstrated an ability to throw up characters who have the leadership qualities which transcend the mundane and able to refocus the nation. Sadly, in 2019, I fear we have such a requirement again - just who will pick up the baton? The only personality on offer is Nigel Farage and, even though I voted for him, he's definitely not going to be our savior, just catalyst for change maybe?

The camera never lies - except when you use digital? Sunrise out on the flatlands this morning.
Out on the flatlands, again, this morning - same result! "If you're not catching then you're learning" is a phrase that Tom Lane used in an email the other day. I'd love to say it were true, but I've found myself in a rut. Only this morning, whilst watching the sun rise and playing with the camera kit, did I start to think through my strategy and what I'd achieved. Soul searching at this level is quite a painful process, especially when you realize that you've made a fundamental error of judgement. School boy stuff, not rocket science! Location, location, location - what have I been doing? Fishing to a feature, not to fish. I'm getting on for sixty hours now, just one fish for my efforts, time for a serious rethink. I've made a few changes already and prepped three new swims before I came home, fish being seen in all of them before the bait went in. Back out again this evening, so hopefully I will see a change in my fortunes?

Finally, on arriving home, I clicked the BBC News pages, as is my habit, to learn of the passing of Tanya Jones, the wife of Vinnie. Although not a mate, Vinnie and I have crossed paths on many occasions during our lives. He was a resident of Nicholl's Farm when I worked for Brooke Bond at their Redbourn Factory and many an hour was spent in the Bell PH after a days' beating at Chalkdell, a game of darts and much banter. He attended my brother, Tim's, 40 th birthday party, we spent a Christmas Day's morning in the company of Johnie Gardner, supping Champagne in Boxmoor. He and Tanya attended Baz Baron's birthday celebration in a hotel outside Dunstable, the first time Bev was to meet him. They were a lovely, ordinary, couple and we send our heartfelt condolences at this difficult time for him and the family. Stay strong buddy!

Saturday, 29 June 2019

New dawn?

A two post day - that's almost ridiculous given my 2019 blogging output! I've just taken delivery of a new laptop, and have to thank the guys at Curry's PC World for their efforts and support. Not too sure how much this new acquisition will impact on my output but, it's certainly a lot faster than the aging Toshiba it replaces. Off out for another session very early tomorrow morning, so let's hope for some more carpy action - I'll keep you posted.

It's a start

Twelve days in and I finally get my first fish of the 2019 campaign! I had a short session, yesterday evening, and managed to winkle out a chunky little common tipping the scales at 12 lbs 14 oz. It's been a long time since such a modest fish has caused such emotion; I was absolutely buzzing when I secured the fish in my landing net.

I still haven't seen any sign of that monster, but will keep looking. This project is much more of a mental challenge, as opposed to the physical effort required to get to and from these remote venues. I am finding it to be a severe test of my resolve, as I so enjoyed the regular action of the surface fishing over at Homersham. One fish in eight visits can't be described as anything other than "gruelling" in comparison to the previous venture.
I am constantly thinking about my tactics, bait presentation, rigs and umpteen other aspects of the conundrums posed by these carp. The freezer, in my study, is filled with various particles and boilies which allow me the freedom to grab any opportunity without having to worry about bait. A slow cooker is one of the most valuable, non-angling, items in my possession, as it allows me to prepare my party mixes with the minimum of fuss. Doesn't matter if it's chick peas, hemp or pigeon tonic, the slow cooker does the job without me needing to be in constant attendance - perfect. As it was purchased specifically for this task, it doesn't matter if I add colour and flavours into the mix as I won't be doing a casserole in it later! The results mean that the freezer trays are kept regularly stocked, awaiting my next sojourn out onto the flatlands.

Saturday, 22 June 2019


Whilst Druids, hippies and other like-minded folk gathered in their hoards to witness the event at Stonehenge, I was alone, out on the flatlands enduring another blank!  Only one Beaver occurrence and I was, almost certainly, done over as I registered an aborted take on the left hand rod. Strangely, however, the night wasn't about the fishing. A lingering patch of illuminated sky, which traversed the horizon from ENE to NNE, well after sunset, was the focus of my attentions. Camera on a tripod, and exposure times up to 5 secs, I recorded some images of the spectacle that I'd been privileged to have witnessed without the need to join the throng on Salisbury Plain!

22.50 hrs

23.10 hrs

23.55 hrs