Who am I?

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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, 22 November 2015

Chew Valley wandering and wondering!

Bev and I are now back home, having spent a very pleasant couple of days staying with Darryl, her son, in Bath. On Friday evening we went back to The Hop Pole, in Weston, for a superb meal and a couple of "light ales" As was to be expected, the service was first class, as was the food - three of us fed and watered for less than £75 - including tip!
The Bath Christmas Market has been our usual excuse for the, now annual, visit - plus it coincides with Darryl's birthday. This year we were a little premature with our timing, the market still being under construction - shame! Our Saturday plan was very simple; Darryl & Bev went shopping in Bath whilst I took a drive across to Chew Valley Lake (Visitor's Centre) for a spot of birdering.

The view across Chew Valley Lake from the mound on "The Bittern Trail" (21.11.2015)
There can be no getting away from the fact that Chew is now the number one "Big Pike" venue in the UK - it still doesn't work for me? I had my camera slung over my shoulder, my bins around my neck, yet because I had my "Pike Anglers Club of GB" hat on - I didn't get involved in conversation with any of the birders I encountered around the venue. A situation that is no different to my recent birding experiences at Wilstone. Birders adopt a very superior attitude - is there any wonder why they are seen as aloof by other groups who spend their time in similar environments, but for very different reasons? To be perfectly honest, I'm as much to blame as anyone else. If someone doesn't wish to talk - I won't seek to pursue the subject further - I don't give a monkey's toss! I'm no longer a "twitcher" - so seeing someone else's discoveries isn't why I carry my bins!

A very pleasant session at a very ordinary/crap venue - just a personal perspective! I parked in the "Visitor Centre" car park and walked the route, including the Bittern Trail. The Bernard King Hide has been closed, until further notice - Sorry for any inconvenience! - An A4 laminated sign just before you reach your destination. Fuck off - I've just travelled from Ramsgate! I now have to concede that just as Dungeness, Sandwich Bay and Portland - even Newland's Farm - have their own allure - Chew doesn't cut it! It's a flooded valley in some magnificent countryside - but nothing more. The big pike, that inhabit it's murky depths, are nothing more than freaks - bloated, trout fed caricatures - nowhere close to those creatures which fired my youthful dreams.

I had the better part of six hours to waste - no problem! The Bernard King Hide saga, apart, there is plenty of opportunity to do your own thing around the shores and surroundings of Chew Valley Lake.
It was great to spend time in company of Siskin, Bullfinch and Goldcrest. Odd bunches of Goldfinches were encountered along my route. I discovered a group of 4 or 5 Chiffchaffs feeding in the lea of a wind swept hedgerow - none better than nominate "colybita"

1st winter Black-headed Gull
I returned to the "Visitor Centre car park" around noon - keep going! I walked across the dam wall and into the village of Chew Stoke. It was like walking into a time warp! I went for a pint in "The Stoke" - public bar! The land that time forgot - cider fuelled fuck-wits. Bristol City v's Hull City on Sky (It might have been BT?) - an experience that is not one I can recommend. I didn't feel intimidated by anything physical - mentally they orbited a planet that I've yet to visit! Because I was wearing my binoculars - "Have you been watching the hunt? - or you one of them twitching cunts? If I were a shrinking violet; I might have felt offended. Intellectual encounters, at this level, are something which are par for the course in any factory - so what if it's a pub? - I ain't shying away from the challenge. On this occasion my opponent would have had an IQ of 180 if he'd had 179 of his brothers with him! Thatcher's Cider with Orange - he was toast! Surround yourself with idiots - you're bound to shine?

Adult Common Gull

I walked away, un scathed, from the delights of Chew Stoke and headed back to the Visitor Centre, where I spent a while getting some images of the gulls that ply their trade around the cafĂ©. Good numbers of Common Gulls was a pleasant distraction, although a Black-headed Gull in full summer apparel was a surprise.

A proper surprise - an adult summer Black-headed Gull above the visitor centre at Chew Valley Lake (21.11.2015)
The sat-nav delivered me back to Darryl's, well before he and Bev got back from Bath, so I took a wander down to The King's Head, in Weston. Argentina v's the Barbarians on t/v and a nice pint of 1664 in decent company. I was under instruction to get back in plenty of time to make myself presentable - Darryl's girl friend, Alix, was going to accompany us for a meal at the Cote Brasserie in Bath.

Let's get this right - Darryl is a full grown adult, a Maths masters degree and thirty eight years into his journey - quite what Mum thinks she can add, at this stage, is a bit of a mystery? Still I went along with the gig - always another angle?
Alix is a fantastic lady - got Bev's approval instantly. Very intelligent (not always a good thing?), humorous and attractive - couldn't fail in my opinion.


  1. After all that Dyl, did you enjoy your visit?

    1. Derek - I had a great time thank-you. Walking into a strange pub, looking like a Yeti is always a recipe for adventure. I've done it in the East End of London and the wilds of the Cambridgeshire Fens - same results. Good times, good humour and a few beers; can't beat it? - Dyl

  2. You said what I was thinking, well done.