fishing trip

Monday 8th was over to Peterborough, to stay with Geoff for a fishing trip on Tuesday. It’s a bit of an emotionally fraught trip for me – the first part of the rail journey (Worcester Foregate Street – Birmingham – Leicester) is the route that I took so many times (certainly over a hundred) over to Bedford with, to see, or to sort out Maurice.

I hadn’t realised that it was the end of the Ledbury festival, and the little 2-carriage train was packed. People lying on luggage racks, even. Needless to say, it was standing room only all the way to New Street, and running very late. In fact, there was only three minutes to catch the Cross-country train to Peterborough, so I had to run (as best I can, which is “not very” with a walking stick!). As it turned out, not only was I on the train before the advertised departure time, but it actually left five minutes late.

I arrived in Peterborough on time, and as I emerged from the station saw Geoff’s BMW drawing up, with Sim in the back seat. A trip over to the fishing venue (Lovell’s Lakes) to suss out pegs for the morning, calling in at Morrisons on the way for food for the fishing, then back to Geoff’s. Supper was a rather good chicken and mushroom pie he’d made, with spuds and broccoli. Thoughout the evening,there was much joking and amusement about Alexa, which he’s only just got and is still coming to grips with!

As Geoff has now sorted his spare bedroom, I got a reasonable night on a decent firm mattress (Sim was on the sofa downstairs). Alarm went off at 0445, I was up by 0500, we left at 0545 and were at the lake two minutes after start time of 0600.

A very pleasant day’s fishing ensued, with all of us catching plenty. My biggest carp was only a couple of pounds, though Sim had one probably around 7lb. There was quite a mix of Common Carp, Mirror Carp, and assorted curious hybrids.

The water bailiff came round, and I paid for all three of us – well, I owed Geoff for the Morrisons stuff from the day before, anyway. There was a lot of discussion – new rules had apparently been introduced on April 1st, though the bailiff had not previously mentioned them to Geoff. His partner produced three copies of a printout for us, but neither of them examined either my tackle or Sim’s, which was just as well! Geoff’s largely passed muster, though he was told to have a larger landing net next time …

All of which suggests that I’m going to have to up my game before our next trip! Actually, I’d more-or-less decided that I need to have a set of fishing gear in Worcester, as well as leaving my “main” set with my brother Sim. It all needs to be very portable, as any fishing trip I do in the Worcester area will have to be accessed by e-bike! That means a telescopic rod, short landing net, and so on.

We packed up at Lovells Lakes around quarter to five – largely at my suggestion. Nearly eleven hours of fishing is actually rather past my limits, especially as I currently have a troublesome right wrist and wear a brace on it much of the time. Back to Geoff’s for an hours, then off to catch the 1852 train. Just as well we left in plenty of time: the lift and adjacent staircase at Peterborough station were closed, so it was a detour of several hundred yards to use the ramps. I wasn’t happy that no effort had been made to assist people who find walking / luggage difficult!

So, home, exhausted, at around 2200h.


Briefly back in Worcester for two or three very busy days, then away again for several days, back in Oxford for my Aunt’s funeral.

I had a good break on the Norfolk Broads for four nights last week with Sim and Geoff – it’s a major thing in retaining my sanity at the moment!

I had a brilliant first day, with several decent-sized perch (my favourite fish),then tailed off. By contrast, Sim and Geoff had a poor start, but an excellent night on Wednesday! It’s a part of the charm of fishing that people less than the the 30-foot length of the boat apart can have such different experiences at the same time!

wind pump on the Broads
Geoff – night fishing

fishing trip

The weather was pretty good for the time of year.

The only place we moored where it was possible to jump off the boat to take a picture of it – on the river just south of Barton Broad.

Sim fishing from the back of the boat – near Barton Broad.

Our fishing trip this year was a bit later than usual. I tried to be organised in advance, and order some worms through the internet, but they failed to arrive (at the time of writing – a month later – they still have not arrived!). Then I looked for my fishing licence, and found one in my “important papers” place, then another … which turned out to be last years and the year before. Sim rang on the Friday evening about last-minute arrangements: it turned out that he also had only found his last-year’s licence. However, we knew that we’d both had licences when we went fishing earlier in the year. Sim suggested mine might be in with my fishing stuff in his shed, and volunteered to go out and look later on. Fortunately, I had the thought that my licence might be in an old jacket I use for fishing, which it was, so called him back to say that shed-firkling was not required.

This year, it didn’t work out to go and meet my friend Tony on the way to the fishing, so Sim met me off the train at Saxmundham mid-morning, and we went to the tackle shop there. Fortunately, they stocked worms (although not very lively ones), so I got a box: I rather fancied trying worms for large perch. Also stocked up on the usual bits and bobs – hooks, floats, etc. Then we went shopping for the perishables foodstuff – Sim had already got the storecupboard stuff. Geoff was already at Sim’s when we got there, so a quick coffee and off.

We had the usual slight panic about the route: somehow, we think we know where we’re going, and basically do, but often take alternative routes that we don’t really intend to. This year, it involved taking the A47 out of Great Yarmouth, rather than the preferred A149. Actually, I rather like this bit of the A47, which is a dead-straight road across the marshes, with a score or more of windmills and wind-pumps scattered across the otherwise almost featureless flatland. However, it did mean that we didn’t pass the place that we usually stop to get sandwiches for lunch … arrived at the boatyard unfed.

Being late in the season, the yard was not busy, and we were soon away, even though the yard guy did spend far more time going through the “boat features” than he needed to, or is usual for us. As we’d been fairly late booking, we had a slightly different boat from the ones we’ve had for the past few years, although it was the same overall length. The “features” included a single bed (me) at the back starboard running lengthwise, with the bathroom across a corridor, a double bedroom (Sim) next to the kitchen, and a front cabin/stateroom (Geoff). However, we discovered when we got there that the boat was designed with an absence of doors – nothing between the front cabin and the kitchen, and a waist-height curtain on the single bedroom. Not a real problem, but a bit disconcerting.

This year, Sim felt like a real break, so we’d arranged that we wouldn’t meet up with friends-and-family for lunch on Sunday. That gave us a lot more freedom to go a fair distance: the requirement to be within a couple of hours boating of Ludham Bridge (or anywhere else easy to get to by road) has rather limited this in the past.

It was a good trip: not much in the way of large fish, or indeed all that many fish (apart from Geoff who collected his usuall quantity!). And neither Sim nor I was at our best … Sim having a couple of panic attacks, and I was having a lot of trouble with my back, being on Tramadol the whole time. This may be my excuse as to why I was feeling particularly stupid: despite three intelligent men trying for at least three hours each evening for three nights, we failed to finish the Guardian crossword. Not just one or two clues – we managed not a lot more than half of it between us!

I was not up for much when I got back to London on Tuesday – this blog entry wasn’t made until the end of October!