Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Water voles at work

      This apple had been floating the dyke near the orchard for a couple of days before the wind changed and finally pushed it up against the far bank. Then it began to mysteriously move against the flow until it was jammed firmly in this hole at water level.
      Those harmless little creatures the water voles had shepherded it along until their feast was jammed tight and then, over a couple of nights, they ate their way through their fruit feast.
      You have to give them full marks for seeing the opportunity and saving the apple. The two Jack Russell Terriers now leave the voles alone too, they eat the apples instead.
      I bet the voles are happy about that as well as a well stocked pantry.

Monday, 5 December 2016

Five in the net

      It was a strange Saturday afternoon. When I arrived at the waterside and parked the car in the corner of the field by the drain there was a strong breeze blowing, then while I was unpacking my gear from the car the wind just dropped and an eery calm fell. It was all very spooky.
      The surface of the drain was like a mirror and not a fish dimpled the surface, having put the rod together I walked along the bank for a couple of hundred yards and as far as I could see in either direction the surface was simply a flat calm, not even a coot or duck busying themselves. On the walk back to the car I did see one of my favourite anglers, the kingfisher, hard at work and he was catching plenty of fry and if there are fry around you can be sure the predators won't be to far away. I decided to start in the kingfisher's swim, he ignored me and just carried on hammering the fry.

      Almost immediately a run was missed due to routine incompetence and rushing but the first pike of the day wasn't long coming and although it wasn't a big fish, five or six pounds, it heightens the expectancy and sharpens the concentration but after half an hour no more takes. Back to the landing stages and there's yet another kingfisher hammering the fry. A good sign.

      In the next hour four more pike were landed, two runs were missed and two pike tail-walked and shook themselves free. The biggest fish weighed just shy of fourteen pounds and all-in-all it was an excellent afternoon session, you have to be happy with that kind of result.
      And even Norwich City put five in the net. Now that really was the surprise of the afternoon.

Friday, 2 December 2016

Fog on the water

      Out with the two Jack Russell Terriers for their morning walk, a little later than normal, and the remnants of fog that was there at dawn is still swirling through the orchards, over the fields and across the fen.
      I love the atmosphere this weather creates and it changes the entire appearance of the fenland landscape into something infinitely more mysterious intriguing. When a patch of fog does envelop you as you as you walk along with the terriers a strange calm and quietness descends then just as suddenly you walk out of it into glaring bright sunlight and there are the two terriers fifty or sixty yards ahead. Or heading back for a treat.

      By the time I took these pictures the wind had picked up to a steady breeze and was beginning to disperse the fog into more of a mist but the moist cold air that was still lying above the dykes and pools that had a reasonable amount of water in them was forming new fog patches. I'm glad I was walking and not driving
      It makes me want to go pike fishing and get away from it all.
      No surprise there says the boss.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Beginning and end

      The last day of November and there isn't much to choose between the two views at the beginning and end of the day. At the top we have the view to the east at around 07.20 on Wednesday morning complete with my muse, the transformer box.
      Below? Well that's the view from the front garden at around 16.15 and if you are into florid skies and also some subtle colours you can enjoy these two skyscapes to your hearts content. There are no dramatic cloud formations just those two lovely ladies dawn and dusk slugging it out to be top of the dramatic red sky competition.
      You simply can't beat a little bit of early morning and late evening meteorological exhibitionism.

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Bletting on the branch

      This year the boss has decided to pull medlar jelly from the production line so this winter the birds have another treat to feed on in the front garden.
      At present the medlars are still quite hard but as the frost get into them they will gradually soften until the flesh becomes a golden pulp, or bletted, but at what point our feathered friends will decimate the crop I do not know. One thing that I do know is that there are pounds and pounds of fruit on both of our trees so if some really cold weather does turn up during the first months of winter the birds will be able consume a lot of calories to keep them warm.
      Then when the trees have been cleared it'll be time to get the secateurs out and give the trees a pruners haircut.
      I always think that the top of the fruit looks like a dog's arse but the boss says typical sense of humour. I'm sure I read that the French still call them something like that.
     Say no more.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Lava red jelly

      Here you have it one of the seven jars of the boss' home-made crab apple and chilli jelly. In the sunshine it glows like molten lava and after all the grey days that we've 'enjoyed' that's more than just a novelty, sunshine cheers you up and so does that beautiful colour.
      The crab apples that the boss used were wild crab apples and the chillies that have been used are Serrano, their heat level is just up at the top of the medium band for heat and when we tested the jelly it left a very pleasant glow for about ten minutes.
      We'll have to hide the jars from the children when they visit.


Monday, 28 November 2016

More tea pike?

      A mild and sunny afternoon, little or no wind and not a ripple on the drain's surface which is almost mirror like, it all looks idyllic almost perfect. The drain is teeming with small roach, rudd, skimmer bream and perch, everything looks perfect and in ten minutes I've caught enough fresh bait for the afternoon and the kingfisher continues to splash into the water catching a small fish with every dive.
      Everything appears to be perfect and its a pleasure to be out on the fen when conditions are like this.
      Look a little harder, get past the idyllic setting and you notice that that the countless fry aren't being harried and there isn't a splash to be seen. Never mind, confidence is high so get that fresh bait out. An hour passes and not a touch. The bait is twitched back, drifted, fished hard against the rush and reed on the far side, under my feet, fished deep and fished shallow. Nothing seems to interested.

      A perch of about twelve ounces takes the dead roach and adds fifty per cent to its weight instantly, I suppose it is one way of packing some weight on quickly. The perch is a lovely coloured fish and the markings and colours positively glow, yet again I promise myself that I'll dig some worms and have a perch day during the week leaving the pike tackle at home. That will take some will-power.
      Another forty five minutes drifts by and the kingfisher continues to catch, he's like a match fisherman so great is his catch rate. Time for a cup of tea, float adjusted to over depth, cast out and settled into position, then just as the tea is being poured the float is away and the tea spilt.

      The fish is a single figure pike but a beautifully coloured and marked fish, the barbless hook is quickly removed and back he goes into the drain. A new fresh bait is cast out again in the same area right in the middle of the drain and as the tea is being poured away goes the float, the tea is spilt yet again but at least it warmed my hand.

      This time a better fish is on, landed and unhooked, the pike is into double figures and that is more than good enough. having returned the fish I decide to make things difficult for myself and sit on the mooring with my feet in the water, then I start to pour the dregs of the tea in the small flask but the spell has been broken. I get to drink it.
      I fish on and watch the kingfisher going for a personal record weight but the pike are not playing ball, the sun was setting so I decide that it was beer o'clock.
      As I drove away the kingfisher was still going at it like a metronome, I hope he doesn't get so full he can't fly.