Tuesday, 30 June 2020

A Menage a Trois of Maud, Heidi and Bob Latchford

Come into the garden Maud,

for the black bat night has flown,

Except for Leicester,

whither poor Moley and the flat hills of his homeland.

On to the nonsense.

Bumped into The Earl English last week while mowing in the wood. With a virus on, he has eschewed mixing with the populace and wanders alone among the pines. His ginger curls are now beyond the aspirations of Heidi and approach Ronald Mcdonald proportions.

And while we are on Ronald Mcdonald, why is our lane the recipient of so much of their packaging in recent weeks. Madam was out walking the dogs the other evening when a car stopped and called for direction. With the necessary information duly imparted the lost tribe made their way up the lane spewing Big Mac, Filet “O” Fish and Mcflurry detritus as they went.

Anyway, where was I.

Oh Yes,

The Earl English, wandering about the wood.

Currently doesn’t like to mix and the wood and his estate share a boundary. A new path has been broken through the wood from the corner of his field that I now maintain on his behalf

Dubbed “The English Way” it should be coming to a Google map near you sometime soon.

Apologies to return to the current crisis, but just heard that the House of Commons Commission has rejected a proposal to reduce the safe social distance in Parliament from two metres to one metre.

You guys.......Tut

Please refer to title of last but one chunk of guff.

Apologies again,

Hang on,

Why do the learned members of the House (a big building) insist on maintaining a two metre social self distance while issuing instruction that it is ok for a fifty two year old pedagogue to engage with her charges (a sociable bunch) in a compact school building from a metre away as of next week?

I’ve had a few coves call about tardiness regarding posts in this corner of the internet.

Well, I’ll own that a certain mental inertia has taken hold and I spend an increasing amount of a day open mouthed staring off into space.

This week Madam joined me in this habit.

She has been back in school for a month, immersed in a bubble teaching the spawn of the loins of a dozen or more key workers. In preparation for the reopening of the school a fifty-page guidance document was distributed on advice on how schooling in a classroom should progress, the written advice on distance was two metres at all times. Madam still has the email.

Last week a member of the cabinet declared that the initial advice on social distance in schools was never so rigid as to insist on a distance of two metres at all times,

(although it is still rigidly enforced in Parliament – see guff above)

Once again,

You guys.....Tut

Once again, please refer to the title of the last but one chunk of guff.

I’ll pause briefly at this point for some breathing exercises in order to quell the vein on my forehead that has begun to throb again.

The river, yes the river.

Since the reopening of non essential shops the Fishing Hut is once again in use, as I do sell flies.

This reopening is in line with government advice and completely unrelated to the temporary gazebo collapsing spectacularly in a rain storm with two anglers taking Chota pegs while sheltering underneath it.

Well it was quite the June weed cut. As predicted I cut weed for seven or eight days and spent three days moving on cut weed.

Which is a good thing, as the June weed cut should be a heavy one.

Water levels remain good and the weed is growing again and should be clear of the water once more in July. No sign yet of any blanket weed or ugly algae and the gravel retains a sparkle that can only be imparted by reasonable winter flow. Hatches of fly have been a little disappointing and while a few fish look up, most have resorted to sub surface feeding. It may well be nymphs from the first of July. It’s been a windy week, which doesn’t help delicate invertebrates hatching from a river or an angler’s cast.

I’m no sailor, and I don’t see the point of wind.

There I said it, I don’t like wind.

Trees fall down, flicking a fly is difficult, gravid flies struggle to make it back to the water to release eggs and my hollyhocks fall over.

No, we would do well without wind.

Meadows and fen are coming into bloom and are alive with all things that buzz and flutter. The fen that we fire each year currently plays host to herds of Marble white butterflies that, like an elderly lady who I once knew are drawn like a magnet to the colour purple ( house, hair, hat and much more besides, all purple) We are bee rich and all manner of moths crash about the place at this time of the year. it’s just the aquatic inverts that are down in numbers, although there are plenty of damsel flies about the place.

Last weekend Madam, myself, Otis and Moss went for a bumble about Salisbury Plain. Moss covered most of the plain within thirty minutes of our six mile trudge up to the the little piece of Magdeburg that is the cold war mock up village at Copehill Down.

A Dystopian air hangs heavy in the air with burned out cars, a helicopter on its side and beat up village buildings. We sat down for our picnic sheltering from the wind behind the wreckage of a shot up Sikorsky.

The grass was long, Bonios were taken (Moss and Otis) and we tucked into home grown salad and eggs from our own hens and contemplated the bleak surroundings,

And then we saw them,

Orchids. Hundreds and hundreds of little orchids; vivid purple with a cone shaped head, we get a few at Bransbury, but not in this number.

We’d even sat upon a few.

And in this beat up shabby dystopian hellscape,

to a background track of twittering skylarks,

a Ready brek glow descended, and the travails of the last hundred days melted away.

An addendum:

And those who are not fans of football may want to dip out here, and apologies if I come over all Uncle Colm (Derry Girls by the way, brilliant comedy, but we do have to have the subtitles on)

It won’t sit well with some, but well done the Klopper

After thirty years Liverpool are League champions once again.

I’ve been a full on supporter of Liverpool FC from the age of 7, although the first football match I attended was Everton v Coventry City at Goodison Park on 27th November 1977 in which Bob Latchford scored a hat trick in a 6 - 0 win for the Toffees.

I first stood on the kop with my Dad on a Wednesday night in March. A derby with Everton that Liverpool won one one nil. While at secondary school I would regularly stand near the same spot on the kop with a few school mates. A couple of quid to get in, we caught the bus from Chester to Stanley Park or cadged a lift with a work colleague of my Dad (who was also a very good coarse fisherman, the work colleague, not my Dad) to park in a street near the ground where a kind local youth would “look after the car” for 50p.

I was present when Liverpool were presented with the league title twice (Liverpool always won the league back in the day) once against Aston Villa from a seat in the Anfield Rd end the Anfield Rd end (single tier then) and second against Norwich or possibly Southampton.

I was there when experiments with early kick offs were underway, 11.30am against Swansea sitting on wooden benches in the Kemlyn Rd stand. The game finished three nil to Liverpool (Ian Rush got one, who I also saw play for Chester). The reason for the early start? An attempt to boost the crowd at the Grand National later that afternoon.

This is one of two occasions When I saw a member of the 1966 World Cup winning side play. Martin Peters was skipper of Norwich and in his testimonial year. The other was when Alan Ball was in his final year at Southampton.

Saw them play three times at the old Wembley.

The West Ham Charity Shield game was a little lively pre match, and I do remember returning from the old Wembley by train from the game against Arsenal with somebody hiding from the police under our table. The men’s loos in the old Wembley were akin to the cascade at Chatsworth, the stench of ammonia hurt your eyes.

I don’t know why, but my Dad attended a testimonial dinner for old Crazy Horse himself at The Runcorn Eurocrest Hotel in November 1978.

Ginger McCain sat on their table and Red Rum was led into the room between courses.

the menu from the meal,

And the brochure for Emlyn’s testimonial.

The menu and brochure are signed by Bob Paisley, Steve Heighway, Alan Hansen, Phil Neal, Emlyn, Cliff Morgan, Terry McDermott, Ray Kennedy, David Fairclough, Jimmy Case, Colin Irwin and Ginger himself.

The day that Alan Kennedy signed for Liverpool for three hundred and thirty thousand pound, a British record for a fullback at the time, he was briefly billeted with another colleague of my Dad.

A ten year old me spoke to Alan on the phone, wished him well and informed him that my favourite Liverpool player would remain Kenny Dalglish. Despite this snub, Alan kindly sent me a signed photo, albeit in black and white, I still have it somewhere.

Alan went on to score the winning goal in two European Cup finals, first against Real Madrid and second in the penalty shoot out against Roma.

Alan or Barney as he became known (after Barney Rubble) was understandably a crowd favourite (but still not on the level of King Kenny), had a peach of a left foot but was sometimes found out with his right foot which always drew the sixteen or so thousand on the Kop (nobody knew how many people were really in there) to chant:

Barney’s got big boots on,
Barney’s got big boots on,

Which he would more often than not acknowledge with a wave.

watching a few reruns of their matches earlier this season served as to a reminder of the quality of football Liverpool were playing before the virus took hold. They are worthy winners of the league title, and for me, another step towards restoring normal order.

But then I would say that wouldn’t I.


Bureboyblog said...

Wind, or bastard wind as I call it can do one. Even more pointless than coots.

Test Valley River Keeper said...

I've heard it called that before.

Bastard wind it is.

Hope your ok and thanks as ever for getting in touch,


James Denison Angling said...

Was enjoying that, all butterflies and riverine ramblings, then came the Liverpool stuff ;) I knew you’d be a happy man!

Rightly so mind you, played a brilliant season so far and fully deserved of the champions crown!

Amazing to think it took so long, but can believe it’s 15 years since Leeds got relegated from the Prem’!

Time does move on so quickly.

Test Valley River Keeper said...

HI James,

Hope you and your family are well.

Fifteen years!!!!!!! It was only the other week they were in the champions league semi final,


The Two Terriers said...

In our part of West Norfolk it seems to be 'That bloody wind' or 'That effing wind' but we all know what it means. I've got a friend who's a lifelong Everton supporter and he thinks Liverpool winning has hurt him more than catching the virus bak in February or March. Bill Shankly must have been right with his famous life and death quote. Loved the bit about the orchids. Stay well, John

Test Valley River Keeper said...

Cheers John,

Never seen so manŷ orchids in one place. There seems to be a groundswell of opinion that wind should be banned. Might get something going on crowd funding in order to lobby parliament on the matter.

Hope you and yours are well and thanks, as ever, for getting in touch,


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