Who am I?

An individual, of no great importance, who is unable to 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!


Saturday 31 March 2018

A new venue

The Easter break means fours days away from the factory, thus an opportunity to cast a line at some point during the holiday period. Family commitments and some chores to be done, around the bungalow, pointed towards today as the day I could get out without messing up any of the plans. The Wantsum AA control Marshside Fishery and allow day ticket anglers to use the club facilities at very reasonable rates, and this includes night sessions on both Scroggin's and Homersham Lakes. Situated out on the Chislet Marshes, just south of Reculver, this fishery offers some great angling along with outstanding views across the surrounding mashland.

I fished Homersham today and have to admit that, although happy with my bait and rig presentation, an inability to locate any carp meant that I struggled. I eventually managed to snare a small "scamp" common, but didn't make the most of my angling time. It was a chance meeting with a club member that gave me a greater insight into the fishery potential and offered an alternative approach to fish finding on the, rather featureless, venue.

The "scamp" with a Mainline "Diamond White" pop-up on the landing net.
I know that it isn't going to produce the carp which I so desire, but will allow me chance to experiment with rigs and bait as there is an evening ticket available which is perfect for my early shift finishing time. I can get home, feed the aviary and still get a few hours in, without the need to drive excessive distances.

Friday 30 March 2018

Let battle recommence

I've never been so determined to see a project to a successful conclusion than I am with the "split cane thirty" challenge. In spite of the hurdles, that I've introduced, there is every chance 2018 will see me make significant progress towards achieving my eventual goal. My desire to catch a "wild" fish overrides all other thoughts. I have to do it this way for it to have any worthy meaning. I'd already set out the basic rules when I received that 60th birthday gift, way back in December 2015. The passing of my father, in August 2016, just intensified my resolve to keep the promise.
I have very serious reservations about the state of modern carp angling and the skewed bias that the pursuit of a single species has placed upon freshwater fishing within the UK. But it's my problem and shouldn't prevent modern anglers enjoying their very uni-dimensional approach to a wonderfully diverse hobby. That said, I have nothing but respect for those guys who set their stall to target specific carp. If it were not for their pioneering spirit, an awful lot of my modern terminal tackle wouldn't exist. The ease by which social media allows exchange of information, and/or ideas, has produced a huge "carp angling" resource to be explored and exploited by anyone who wishes to look. So, although I'll use vintage/ancient(?) rods and reels, the terminal tackle and rig mechanics will be the best I know how to use, thanks to the internet.
When I first came up with the idea, for this crazy adventure, I was adamant that I wouldn't cast a boily with a split cane rod. Two seasons down the road and I've changed my mind. If I'm happy to use the latest "fandango" rigs then, surely, these modern baits should also be part of the armoury?  It hasn't seen an abandonment of particles and their, hugely effective, use; but rather an acceptance that modern bait technology has resulted in some outstanding products which will do nothing other than assist my cause. To ignore such developments is pointless - "cutting your nose to spite your face" mentality! The project is all about enjoyment of the capture, not adherence to some long lost traditional aspect of a bygone era.
When I look at much of the Youtube stuff, in search of that odd snippet which might unlock the code, all I am seeing is carp anglers fishing for photos. The arm's length, push towards the lense, as the captor seeks to distort dimensions beyond reality. Magnificent images, just they don't work for me. In the 1980's, any angler pulling such strokes would be met with a very sceptic response - "how big?" - you're a liar! I rarely watch these anglers enjoying the experience of a prolonged fight and the main issue is with the modern rods they use. Anything which is designed to propel weights of 4 oz, plus, to the horizon (150m and beyond) is primarily a casting tool. To then expect it to cushion the, close range, lunges of a hard fighting fish is asking for a compromise which cannot be achieved. Yes, of course I've seen the huge fish that have been a real test for this type of kit. Crete Lakes, Gigantica, Les Teillats and Rainbow, etc, hold fish stocks which demand this heavy weight tackle; but not in the UK where our "bread and butter" commercial/club water fish rarely top mid-30's. No wonder there are so many carp with badly deformed mouths, when a 3 1/2 lb t/c rod is the entry-level essential for any modern angler; wherever they're carp fishing. We can debate, until the cows come home, the merits of barbed versus barbless hooks, yet it is over-gunned anglers at the bottom of this particular issue. When they say they had a hook pull - that's exactly what they did - ripped a hook out of the mouth of a carp because their rods were too powerful and the angler unable to react quickly enough. The disfigured carp a direct consequence of this, all to regular, situation and the powerful marketing techniques used by the big noises within the industry. "Learn to harness the power" being a comment from Kevin Nash when speaking about "Scope" 3 1/2 lbs t/c gimmicks - just another marketing fad, not an advance in angling technology.
In my opinion, thus the only one that counts on this blog - before you get all upset, anglers need to choose their rods to suit the situation, in a very similar manner to a golfer picking a club for a particular shot. It seems to me that modern carp anglers only have one club in their bag - and it's a bloody driver! I've just started to re-read Kevin Maddocks "Carp Fever" 1984, fully revised, 4th edition in the hope that I might stumble across some gem that I'd previously overlooked. Approach wise, it fails dimally - today's carp catchers are light years ahead of where this book left off. However, there is a magnificent insight into "old school" carp angling with a section headed Memorable Captures - and this includes a fantastic offering by Duncan Kay complete with his iconic "high twenty" photo.

This is how carp fishing was portrayed in the 1970's  - it was great fun and the anglers were at the top
of their game. I can't remember seeing any angler, on social media, with this genuine display of joy
as is captured in this photo of Duncan Kay - RIP

As far as I am aware, there are only three (Leslies of Luton) Duncan Kay carp rods in existence in 2018 - I own them all! I'll happily change my claim if another angler is still enjoying the thrills of using such an item of historical importance. Duncan was, to me, a beacon of individualism in a sea of, non-thinking, conformity. An influence on my journey only topped by my parents and Dick Walker, he was a real cool dude. So about those rods, of which I am so proud. In the mid-80's they were proper snag - busters, all 1 lb 10 oz t/c of these magnificent fishing rods. How could this be so? Well, the snags we fished were under our feet, not on the other side of the pond. Reels locked tight, alarms at full volume and monkeys (on needles) with a minimal drop. This was cutting edge back then. Many things have changed in the intervening period, the effectiveness of a soft, through action, carp rod, is not one of them. Close range fishing, with very soft rods, remains at the core of my split cane challenge. When I do, finally, hook that fish; I want to enjoy every moment of the battle, every twist and turn - not feel the distant thumping via a rod with a similar action to a telegraph pole.
I suppose what I find most frustrating is the fact that modern carp anglers have never been able to experience the journey that I (and many of my friends) have experienced. There is no way that an angler (person/individual) can miss something they've never known?

Tuesday 27 March 2018

More backdoor birding

What a difference a day makes! Yesterday's glorious sunshine has been replaced by gloomy grey skies and sporadic rainfall. Hardly the conditions for raptor spotting but, with Spring fast approaching, the birds are still moving through, en route to their breeding territories. The first coffee of the day, saw me watching two female Chaffinches feeding on the aviary sweepings that I'd scattered on the lawn.

It remains quite mild, although the wind has switched to a more southerly direction, than of late, hence the rain? A male Sparrowhawk circled over the cauliflower stubble, beyond the boundary hedge, causing a large number of Wood Pigeons to erupt from their feeding frenzy amongst the harvested crop. There are huge numbers of these birds being seen at present and it is difficult to know whether they are genuine migrants or just a congregation of local birds making the most of this feeding opportunity? A few Meadow Pipits are also present, out in the cauliflowers, they being seen/heard when the lads flush them as they go about the harvest - in all weathers; these guys cut every cauliflower by hand! I was probably on coffee number three when a Chiffchaff dropped into the garden and foraged on the Ivy, around the decking (where that Peacock butterfly had been yesterday). I managed a few shots before it flitted off, over the garden fence, to continue it's journey to a destination, unknown.

Small, tight, flocks of Starlings continue to pass overhead in dribs and drabs and there is a noticeable increase in the number of Song Thrushes being seen. A pair of Mallards was spotted in flight over the main farm compound and the local Magpies are actively involved in nest building, one pair is in the Leylandii hedge just two gardens to the south of us. Not much, I admit, but still enough to keep me occupied as I await the start of another late shift.

Monday 26 March 2018

Newland's and the one that got away!

Apologies for the lack of recent posts - life has been very hectic just lately. Bev's 60th last Monday, so quite a bit of family socializing associated with this event. To top it off, Bev's best friend, Jayne, also celebrated her 60th during the same week and that entailed spending last weekend away, in Sheffield, to allow us to attend a "surprise" party - great stuff. I was allowed to drive Bev's CX-5, which was a joy in itself, and the party was a brilliant success. Jayne's face was a picture when she walked into the venue to be confronted by a mix of family, friends and work colleagues. I even managed a couple of year ticks as a result of the travelling. Red Kite was a given, knowing that we had to do the M25/M1 route. A quick wander around the Thorpe Hesley (Yorkshire) park was rewarded with splendid views of a pair of Nuthatch, engaged in refurbishing a nest hole. I also managed my first butterfly of the year when I discovered a Red Admiral nectaring on some Snowdrops - result!

Common Buzzards over the garden this morning
Back home late Sunday afternoon, a scan of the local weather predicted Monday to be perfect for some raptor movement. And so it proved, although I managed just five Common Buzzards from the garden, the massed spirals of gulls away to the south and west, told their own story as unseen BoP's moved through Thanet airspace. Before the sun had burnt off the cloud, I had taken a stroll around the Newland's Farm hedgerows, in the hope of an early Wheatear. Nothing doing, but my efforts were not in vain, as I recorded a Brambling and two White Wagtails for my troubles. A Chiffchaff in the garden, very briefly, and my second butterfly of 2018. A rather tatty Peacock took advantage of the Ivy around our decking, to enjoy the sunshine. Fishing is very much on the back-burner, at present, although I am hopeful of getting a session in during the Easter weekend.

A nice surprise whilst standing in the garden awaiting the local gulls to alert me to approaching Buzzards!
So what's all the "one that got away" stuff about? As I've already said fishing is very secondary at present. It was whilst I was stood at the kitchen doorway, enjoying my first coffee of the day when I espied a distant blob atop the mature trees that surround the paddocks of the main farm complex. I was using my 8 x 42 "Elites" but the distance was 500m plus and there was no way I could make out any detail. My hunch is that it was a Hawfinch, all bulky and upright. However, it dropped down from it's prominent perch never to reappear. It would be a patch tick, a bloody mega for Thanet, yet it doesn't matter any more. How the perception of importance changes with the passing of time?

Friday 16 March 2018

March - on time

The weather forecasters are at it again? "Beast from the East II", no less, due to cause total chaos - just not too sure exactly where, or when, as yet! Look out of the window and see if it's snowing; might be a prudent option, tomorrow, before deciding where to go and what to do. It was showing 13C on the car display, this afternoon, yet will fall to -3C over the weekend, if the forecasts are to be trusted. How can that, fake tanned, buffoon, claim there is no evidence of climate change? It's March, the Spring solstice fast approaching, the daylight hours lengthening perceivably, as the evenings extend past 17.00 hrs. The first Sand Martins and Wheatears are already being reported, thus genuine Spring migrants, to be confronted by absolute climate mayhem.

The first Chaffinch of the year, in the garden. Scratching about on the patio and below the feeders, coinciding with a
a decent movement of the species at Sandwich Bay and North Foreland.
There has certainly been a subtle change in the visitors to the garden feeding station, as the daylight increases, and the first Buzzard movements have been seen. Spring is happening, despite (or is that in spite?) of the weather. A Grey Wagtail over, as I fed the aviary, a flurry of Linnets, the odd Meadow Pipit, Song Thrushes (plural) in the garden hedge - sure signs of the changing seasons. Daylight being far more important than temperature when triggering a reaction from our avian friends.

I'm confident that there'll be better images than this as the Spring migration gets underway.
The first Lesser Black-backed Gull was back at the Pyson's Road Industrial Estate, breeding site, on 8th March, it's mate turning up yesterday! There are eight pairs, usually, so I expect the others to arrive shortly.  House Sparrows continue to dominate the feeding station, with regular counts of 50+. The males are starting to moult into their breeding finery, a joy to be able to watch them from the kitchen door.

Wednesday 14 March 2018

Final flourish

Out the bungalow at silly o'clock, headed for my final session of the, "English", pike season. I was torn between the river and the drains, eventually settling for the latter, as I am so much more familiar with them. Two baits cast out by 05.55 hrs, both Mackerel tail sections, popped-up with Fox bait poppers. I'd have preferred to use Sardines, but didn't have any left in the freezer, so used what I had.
Within 35 minutes the left-hander was away, I making a complete pig's ear of the strike and bumping the fish off the hooks as a result. 

Just before sun rise out on the marsh
The dawn was spectacular not only because of the sun rise but, also, the huge movement of Starlings flying east, out to sea. In the first hour I estimated some 20,000 but, because I am completely out of practice at this number assessment, would be happy to concede that possibly twice as many had passed over. Birds, in these numbers, are a magnificent spectacle, no matter what species.
I had two more bites, both fish landed, before I called it a day and headed for home and a kip before another late shift.

All the action came to my left-hand rod. Top fish is 10 lbs 2 oz, this one on the sling is 7 lbs 10 oz - nice way to finish!
One more addition to the year list, when two Great White Egrets were spotted over on Willow Farm, at Worth.

Sunday 11 March 2018

In praise of the Raven

Being born in London I spent my formative years, growing up, in the New Town of Hemel Hempstead, as my parents plied their trade, as school teachers, in various schools of the district. However, the vast majority of my relatives remained in the capital and visits were frequent as family ties were far more important than they are today? Visits to the museums were regular, as were those to Battersea Fun Fair and The Tower of London; so obviously my first experience of Ravens. Those mythical inhabitants whose presence kept the site secure, according to the legend.
Over the years, as family holidays took us to the west country, Wales and Scotland, I came into contact with these magnificent birds, but always associated them with the rugged landscapes of coastal granite and Scottish mountains purely because of these experiences. It was sometime, in the early/mid - 80's and I was fishing Wilstone Res. The headquarters of The British Trust for Ornithology was in Tring and many of the employees spent time around the reservoir complex and it was, a very young, Steve Dudley who called a Raven, one evening, as huge flocks of mixed corvids made their way towards a communal roost site away in Ashridge or Wendover Woods? He got ruined by the disbelievers - me included. Whoever heard such nonsense, a Raven in the Home Counties, not a cliff or mountain in sight - bloody clown! Everyone now knows who had the last laugh - Steve's sighting had been the vanguard of a rapid colonization, of the region, by these highly adaptive birds.

A photo from our Scottish pike trip 2016. It can't do justice to the "personality" this species exudes when
experienced first hand. It's far more impressive than simply being dismissed as a "big" crow!
Moving down to Kent, in 1993, I immediately became involved with the county birding scene and enjoyed some amazing adventures as I sought to assemble a respectable county list. I think it was over five years before Raven made it as an entry. I had to "twitch" a lone bird, which was feeding on a sheep's carcass, down at Dungeness in order to make that happen. Yet, less than ten years later, the species was colonising "The Garden of England" starting at the White Cliffs between Dover and St. Margaret's. In 2018, Ravens are being sighted from a variety of locations around the county and have already bred on Thanet - a pair successfully used the, exposed, framework of the old Richborough Power Station, before it was dismantled.
I am now confident of recording the species, during the course of a year, no matter where in Kent I go. The vast flatlands of the Romney Marshes or Ash Levels, are just as likely to provide a  sighting as the sea cliffs of Folkestone and Dover. I even have it on my garden list and hope that I'll never cease to be thrilled by their resonant low croaking contact calls and the impressive spectacle of these massive corvids as they "play" on the wind.

Saturday 10 March 2018

Biteless not birdless

Another total blank on the canal, this morning, not a sound from the alarms although there were a few signs of fish in the section (species unknown). I was fishing to features and leapfrogged the rods along a few hundred metres in the hope of dropping in on a pike. It didn't happen and that might be it for the season? Wednesday morning could provide some final hope if I am able to muster the enthusiasm to visit the marshes for one last effort? I think that the weather will make the decision for me. Dry and I go, wet and I stay in bed! So far the BBC are saying dry, with sunny spells, and a light southerly. I'll know more on Tuesday!
So back to this morning and the birds which enlivened the session whilst I awaited some fishy action. I'd already picked up another year tick, as I spotted a Tawny Owl perched in roadside trees, as I drove along the Elham Valley - number 100! I also saw a Badger as I was driving through Etchinghill. Parking beside the canal, the dawn chorus was already underway despite the time being 05.50 hrs. The distant corvid roost was a cauldron of noise as the massed ranks of Rooks and Jackdaws greeted the dawn. Above all the din sounded the deep croaking of a pair of Ravens, as they flew past in the semi-darkness. The two birds continued to call and show, regularly, until 08.25 hrs when they headed off, south-west, across the marsh towards Dungeness? Unbelievably, another pair headed over, some two hours later, their abraded primaries allowing me to be confident that they were different individuals. Four Ravens in a day, and not a family party, in Kent! Crazy. It wasn't over, there were several singing male Yellowhammers, a nice flock of Redwing flew west, two Common Buzzards engaged in display flights, a Peregrine (year tick number two) caused panic amongst the feeding Wood Pigeons out on the kale fields, as it marauded overhead in the gloomy, grey skies. At least three singing Song Thrush, a Mistle Thrush, Blackbird, Robin, Wren, Wood Pigeon and Skylark enthusiastically greeted the dawn, providing a wonderful ambience to the venue. Fishless, who cares? It was great to be outdoors. I'd recorded 41 species before I packed up, just after 11.00 hrs - a very enjoyable session.

Friday 9 March 2018

Pike season over?

Pike fishing, in the morning, because grand parenting duties are likely to cause problems on Sunday? I know the section of the RMC I will be fishing and have all the kit assembled in readiness. I'm toying with an idea of using floats but, realistically, know that my attention span is not suited to this method of bite registration - there's just so much else to look at! A float, in conjunction with a bite alarm, has some merit, given the close proximity of my bait and the desire to reduce resistance to a minimum, should a pike pick up my offering.  My head is awash with such thoughts! I'll see what happens come the morrow?
Probably my final pike session of 2017/18, although I might manage to sneak one in on Wednesday morning? I can have no complaints about the fish I have captured since 3rd November 2017 - when I started the campaign. Eleven doubles, to 13 lbs 8 oz, from thirty-seven pike landed, I'll put up with that knowing how little effort I have expended. I've had great fun and not endured a sustained period, of self-induced failure, because I couldn't catch a "target" fish; I didn't have one!  I now, therefore, look forward to my carp project creating such pressure - not!

Thursday 8 March 2018

Dream on

That session, with Luke, last Sunday has proven a very fertile experience despite the lack of action. Our conversations revolved around hopes and aspirations for the coming summer and how we'd measure success. Of course, I mustn't waiver from my desire to land a "thirty" on the split canes. So could me catching a 28 be a PB, failure, both or just another rung on the ladder? Luke, however, seeks far larger quarry across The Channel. He and Benno have their sights set on the Wels Catfish, of a certain French river, and are already planning several long weekends. They are both self-employed, so don't have to worry about holiday entitlement but, also, they don't get paid when not at work - they make the call. As much as I enjoyed fishing for Wels, during the mid-80's/early 90's, I have no plans to attempt any serious return to their capture, thus am not enthused by this project - YET!

Luke with some French river success - more in 2018 please!
For me the, English, pike season ends on 14th March, thus just one more weekend before I have to switch to another quarry. My logic is heavily flawed, but still driven by the experiences of yesteryear when the traditional coarse angling season applied, carte blanche, on all freshwaters. Under no circumstances am I willing to cast a bait into a flowing water during the "close season" yet am now happy to continue to fish for other species, in enclosed  waters, largely due to the advent of "commercial fisheries" and the dominance of  (plastic, off the shelf) carp angling.

21.14 of wild Common Carp, on the split canes, from an East Kent drain - a thirty next?
That wild carp, I so desire, will come when it's ready - of that I am certain. With so many other factors falling into place, just recently, my ability to chase this ambition is now a realistic goal given that I will have more time in which to pursue my target. I'm not talking, time bandit, bivvy sessions - nope, just the ability to get in a few more short sessions during periods of suitable conditions. By using my time wisely, I feel confident of achieving that promise. I am also aided in my cause by the simple fact that I don't require anyone else to assist/accompany me. I can just as easily going fishing on my own as I can with Benno, Luke or Sye! As a group we are very fortunate that we share the same outlooks and values. We have no secrets, from each other, no jealousy of success nor boasting of prowess when it actually happens. Our angling is about enjoyment and being able to share that is fundamental to the relationships; none of us have to catch that fish in order to have a good day!

The pike that changed my life! The first Scottish Twenty I'd ever seen.
Caught by Benno, it was a monumental event and I was part of it. I stuck the net under it and took the photos!
I've been down to Camo's, this afternoon, to pick up a few bits for the coming weekend's pike fishing on the RMC. Conversation was varied, but the prospect of the abandonment of the "close season" on UK rivers was a particularly lively exchange. Being of a similar vintage we hold strong feelings about the "old days" and that build up to mid-night of 15th June and battle resumes. I have so many compelling memories of that first cast; the Tring Syndicate members were fanatical in their pursuit of tench yet almost, to a man, equally committed to that mid-night hour and the stroke of the distant church clock before a cast was made. The modern generation have never experienced that thrill, the build up to a "new season" and the adrenaline moment when that first rod was picked from the rests. My conversation, with Camo, was all about the fact that modern anglers had no reason to miss this experience, because it no longer has any relevance. You can't miss what you've never had? In an era when anglers are able to buy experience from the shelves of a tackle shop, rather than spending time on the bank with other, older, anglers - learning their trade. Don't look back in anger - just sadness, that the things which were once held as important now are compromised due to the quest for the dollar! There is no other reason why the close season has been lost - tradition has no place in rampant capitalism. Fortunately, I have lived through an era when such things still had a value and I was able to gain a great deal of benefit from being part of it. I've often used the term "No good getting old. if you don't get artful" when exchanging banter within the factory - it remains true whenever I say it!

Never to be repeated? Tench fishing at Wilstone in the 1980's. I don't care about what size this species
now attains - that period was the most important in the history of UK tench angling. Oh, yeah - I was part of it!!!!

Monday 5 March 2018

Fool's gold

Luke and I were down at the Royal Military for 06.00 hrs, on Sunday morning, hoping to pick up where he and Benno had left off the previous week. They had taken eleven pike, to 16 lbs 9 oz, in a short session just before the onset of that crazy cold spell. What folly! Snow melt water had entered the canal - the result being a complete blank! We stayed for nearly six hours, not a sign of a fish.

A magnificent sunrise - "Fool's Gold"? We didn't have a touch.
It wasn't a session without enjoyment; Luke and I haven't fished together since the catfish sessions at Greenacres, way back in the previous summer. Plenty to chat about, plans for carp, catfish, perch and pike - places to go, fish to catch. As the sun came up, the canal looked fabulous and our expectations were very upbeat. The fish, obviously, had other plans and we failed in our task - "not much of an advert for pike fishing?" being my comment. Lots of other folk, enjoying the facility, walking their dogs, riding bikes & horses, or simply having a stroll - some very nice conversations, with complete strangers, being a brilliant compensation for the lack of feeding pike.

Benno with a 16.09 - just a week ago!

Saturday 3 March 2018

A very good day

We needed to be at Hegdale Commercials for 09.00 hrs, so I could pick up the van and not be driving around in the Mazda 5, un-insured, such is the clinical precision of insurance policies. I had the birds to feed and motor to clear before we were on our way. I was up before 07.00 hrs, coffee supped, chores done, by 07.50 hrs. All we had to do was drive twenty-odd miles, without incident, and the van insurance would kick in at the stroke of 09.00 hrs. Bugger! Looking out the kitchen door, a Goldcrest was on the fat-ball feeder, a garden first. I grabbed the camera and pointed in the direction of the bird - settings as they came! (photo is more to do with computers than any skills I have)

We made the journey on time and complete the transaction with the insurance mechanics being seamless. I was able to tax the vehicle and drive away in the knowledge that I was legally on the road - job's a good'n! Breakfast in The Norman Wisdom, in Deal, well I needed to have a drive! Home for mid-day, I wanted to have a look to see what the prospects for pike fishing were for Sunday. Fortunately Luke had already been down to the RMC and rang me with a very up-beat summary of the conditions - so we're out fishing tomorrow! I still wanted to have a drive; so Seaton GP's were my destination, there being a few year ticks to be found, weather permitting? A brilliant couple of hours resulted in six additions to the list - well happy. Conditions for photography were less than perfect, dull, dank and murky at best, but a drake Goosander provided a test and I'm happy enough with the result under the circumstances.

I was almost back to the van when I spotted a male Kestrel, perched on the roadside wires. ISO 800 and 1/500th sec managed to secure a useable image? Back home for the second half of Spurs v's Huddersfield - job done! Fishing in the morning - life doesn't get much better than this?

Friday 2 March 2018

A simple question? The computer says No!

The time is almost up, I collect my Nissan NV200 panel van tomorrow, and needed to sort out some insurance, prior to the event. I'd assumed that a simple policy transfer between the Mazda 5 and this new purchase would be a straight forward process and completed with a few taps on my insurer's key-pad! Nothing in life is that simple - it's a "commercial" so requires a different policy! No it's not, it's a bloody fishing motor, exactly the same as the MPV, just it doesn't have any rear seats or windows! Arguing with my broker was a pointless exercise, they were doing their job, as best they knew how (always been good enough until today) and I came to the conclusion that I was, in fact, now in that "computer says no!" world of David Walliams and Little Britain.
I have no idea how many (carp) anglers now drive vans (VW Transporters if you're in vogue?) yet, surely there must be a niche insurance market for such vehicles?  I know that Korda attempted a dabble in tackle insurance, a few years back - a folly. Angler's van insurance, in 2018, must have some market value? In the meantime, I'm now paying an extra £130/annum, for a van with a smaller engine and five less seats - just to go fishing!

Thursday 1 March 2018

My room with a view

The BBC weather forecast, for Dumpton, couldn't be more wrong if they'd forecast a heatwave. Grey skies and a severe easterly gale, with temperatures hovering around zero. Not a bit of it! It's -4C and snow is falling steadily, the wind brisk, but nothing close to the 45 mph predicted. There'd be a lot of unemployed weather forecasters if it was a results driven business?

Looking west, through the kitchen window, at the feeding station, the aviary and
Newlands Farm, beyond.
Any, pre-shift, outdoor activity was quickly ruled out by the simple ploy of looking out of the window in the kitchen door! I made the effort to replenish the feeding station and provide some fresh water in the bird bath, sort out the aviary, before retreating to the comfort of the kitchen; coffee to hand. I've not attempted any photography this morning, the snow is swirling around and sticking to the window, thus making it even less receptive to obtaining decent images than normal. I did, however, spend some time, yesterday, pointing the cameras through the glass and managed to get a few images that capture the feel of the present situation. Not that it's much different from anywhere else within the UK?

I will put up with mice taking advantage of the food put out for the birds. Rats? I draw the line and grab my Webley Mk III