Thursday, 22 December 2016

Tony Miles R.I.P.

While looking at some angling related blogs, I am shocked to discover that Tony Miles has passed away.  I knew he had had a heart attack last year and had only got back into fishing in the last six months or so.  Apparently he died on a fishing trip on the Ouse - perhaps a good way for him to go, but many years earlier than he might have.

I first met Tony on the River Leam near Leamington when I was about 14 in the late 1970s.  He often wrote fishing articles for the Coventry Evening Telegraph or the Sports Argus that my dad used to buy on a Saturday.  As a result of his writings, barbel and chub fishing became my favourite type of fishing.

Over the years, he has been my favourite fishing writer by a long way.  I have 8 of his books and indeed I was planning to read two of them over Christmas - Elite Barbel and 50 years on the Ouse.

We met again, quite a few years later, on the Hampshire Avon where Tony was spending a couple of days preparing an article for Practical Course Fishing magazine.  Much to my surprise, he featured me quite heavily in the feature and included a photo he took that day of me float fishing in his Fishing for Big Chub book a few years later.

We struck up a good correspondence after that and probably shared about two dozen letters over the next couple of years, mainly discussing small river barbel tactics.

I last had contact with him about a year ago when we swapped a few emails about a small pocket of huge barbel that I had discovered in a local river and which I thought he might be interested in having a go at - don't think he ever did though

Very sad news indeed.

The demise of Coarse Angling Today

One of the things I have most missed about being based on France is going fishing.  In principle, it is possible for me to go fishing down here - indeed, the local river Charente is rumoured to contain some huge barbel.  But for one reason or another, I haven't managed it.

Recently I discovered that Course Angling Today has ceased publication.  I am actually quite saddened by this as it was the only fishing magazine that covered my time of fishing (primarily river fishing for chub and barbel).  It seems that the UK magazine market is only able to support magazines dedicated to carp fishing - perhaps carp anglers read these while sitting through the interminable periods when nothing is happening when they fish?

But I have found a load of bag issues which I am intending to take back to France with me.

Our current plan is to return to the UK in the spring of 2018, and fishing is one of the things that I am definitely planning for.

Danielle Dax - again

For the first time in a while I have been listening to Danielle Dax, having recently acquired a new compilation of her work - Dark Adapted Eye - and an old Lemon Kitten's album, The Big Dentist.

Its strange how every few years I return to her work - between listening I seem to forget just how inventive a performer she was.  And the video to "Pariah" is one of my absolute favourites - an extraordinary performance.

I wonder what she is doing now?

Saturday, 19 November 2016

Le Beaujolais nouveau est arrivee . . . .

It was Beaujolais Nouveau day in France this week.

Years ago, this used to be quite a big event in the UK with people racing to be the first back into London with some.

In fact, in 1983 myself and two friends from university actually entered the race, collecting two cases at midnight on the Thursday night and then driving back to the UK with them.  We drove in a blue MG which was rather nice.

We didn't win though - someone flew back and parachuted into London with a bottle or two.

Wife and I drank a bottle tonight - I was incredibly fruity, it has to be said.


Monday, 14 November 2016

The US Election

Like many people I was totally stunned by the US Election.

I don't really have anything to say about the lunacy of the vote - maybe the election was fixed?  But I did rather like this photo of Hillary Clinton from a few days afterwards.

Maybe Hillary just needed to appear as a more normal person to have won?

LSD Microdosing

The Guardian has an article today on the supposed creative benefits of micro-dosing with LSD.

For some reason, this is illustrated with the following photo of a proponent of such creative benefits - it does seem a very un-Guardian-like picture to use.

I live in hope that one day I will visit one of the states in the USA that is legalizing marijuana.  I already have a list of music that I plan to listen to!

Not bothered about LSD though

Nocturnal Animals

An article in the Sunday papers features the following picture from the movie Nocturnal Animals which is out soon.

I do rather like the pose of the woman

But why are there naked fat people in the background?  I suppose the movie might explain

Big Bang Theory - naughty pics

Our current favorite weekly TV is Big Bang Theory and this week has seen some rather naughty pictures posted online by, I think, Kaley Cuoco, after she and Leonard have converted Sheldon's bedroom into a sex dungeon.

Penny does look rather fetching in her outfit.

And I came across a rather nice photo of the girl who plays Bernadette - I once went out with a girl called Bernadette.  She didn't look much like this though.  She was a teacher from Cardiff!

Other Blogs 2 - Adventures in Speculation

Some years ago, this blog used to refer to my trading in financial markets.

I am back doing that again at the moment and I have a separate blog now for this.

The link is:

And this one is nearly up-to-date at the moment!

Other Blogs 1 - French Renovation

For much of the last year I have been keeping a blog about our house renovation in France.

This is also not up-to-date and I need to tidy it up and get it finished.

It can be found at,

Dead Barn Owl

I came across a second dead barn owl in two weeks by the road this morning.

There are definitely quite large numbers of barn owls in our area of France - one morning I saw three within 10 minutes.

But they do fly low across the roads and presumably that is why they are frequently killed.  It does seem such a shame, a view I no doubt have because they are so rare in the UK.  I used to occasionally see them in the evening when I was fishing on the River Thames near our home - always a treat.

There were two detached feathers from its wings which I have kept and which are in a pot in my office.

Serafina Steer

And so I can start again on more normal posts

My current favorite music is the Serafina Steer CD The Moths are Real, especially the tracks Disco Compilation and Night Before Mutiny.  Of course I have only heard these because of Stuart Maconie's freak shows on BBC 6 Music - constant listening for me at the moment.

I am particularly taken with how life-affirming the track Disco Compilation is, with its message of the redemptive power of music to cure all ills.  To make it right, tonight, tonight . . . . as she says

Night before Mutiny has some of the most complex vocal phrasing I have heard on a track for years - truly great

My 1001st Blog Post

But is it really a Blog Post if it doesn't actually say anything

. . . . the joys of self-referential statements . . . .

My1000th Blog Post

Never thought I would publish this many

Post 999

What to write in the post immediately before reaching the 1000th?

Who knows?

The sooner I get past 1000, the better!

Post 998

It's amazing to think it has been more than 18 months since I last made a post here.

At the time, I remember I was thinking a lot about reaching the milestone of 1000 posts and wondering if I should wait till I had something special to talk about.  That delayed my usual posts of just random stuff.

Then soon after the last post, we decided that we would spend quite am a lot of time in France.  This would involve the renovation of a farmhouse and, as will be revealed in a later entry, I created a separate blog for this project.

So anyway, I do plan to start doing regular posts again on this blog over the coming weeks.

I wonder if I will ever reach 2000 posts or whether my total page views will reach 250,000?