Recently there hasn’t been much to report about the river or fishing as the weather has put pay to any dangling of the angle or river walks. The rods have kept their sentinel position in the hallway throughout December. The regular walks by the river have given way to hours spent reading books and watching the rain fall from grey clouds.
Yesterday a walk back from Twickenham allowed ‘Little Tales’ and I the opportunity to witness for the first time a flock of nine herons standing in the flood water stalking prey.
Christmas has now past and we are only a day or so away from heralding in the New Year. This year started with the saga of the ceramic eggs, we witnessed the Queens Jubilee River Pageant, the 2012 Olympics, went crab catching on the North Norfolk Coast where ‘Little Tales’ achieved his personal best, endured a wet holiday in Cornwall in a VW camper van that let in more water than it kept out, stalled at every opportunity, had no brakes and where driving the Mille Miglia would have been easier. It also saved me a small fortune, in that I wont be buying one, the romantic notion of a life on the road was thwarted by the reality of the temperamental nature of one of these machines.
With brighter skies giving us a chance to walk the tow path from Barnes to Kew Bridge and back it was a welcome opportunity to walk off some of the Christmas excesses.
No matter how many times you walk the banks of the Thames you’ll see it in a different way, you’ll see things you’ve passed by without noticing time and time again, the changing allotments near Kew Riverside, new houseboats, plants and the nature reserves of the Two Lipped Snail, the riverside homes with festive decor and sculptures. The house with the cow in the garden and the one with a cow on the roof.
I was under strict instruction to walk and not forage or mudlark, I find it hard not to but I did my best to keep to the River Path and not head to the foreshore…well except for one deviation where I found near Kew Bridge a ceramic egg, No.1124 in plain cream glaze. The sense of joy and excitement when I found this egg was for me like a young boy opening a present left by the man himself, Father Christmas. I also found a small 5 inch sea float and the remains of a pike plug, this now makes up a trio found over the last couple of months.
It was in April when I found the first egg, to find another at 14.12pm on the 30th December was for me astonishing, with such high tides and the flow of ‘Old Father Thames’, this 3 inch ceramic egg should have long gone these shores. One can only assume that like others in the past this egg was held up in the debris between houseboats, foreshore silt or bankside vegetation.
For months I hadn’t given these ceramic eggs another thought other than on the occasion of being sent the odd communication that some had been found on the shore near Tilbury. Egg collecting became an obsession earlier in the year, where every walk by the river would be with the aim of finding another one. I guess there are still more to be found in this legacy of the unknown artist who put 5,000 of these ceramic eggs in varying sizes in the Thames upstream towards Richmond.
I came across two likely lads they reminded me of that early 70s sitcom ‘Whatever Happend To The Likely Lads’,they had decided to cast a line or two from the slipway near Brentford Boating Arch. In search of a Thames carp or bream, slices of white bread were skimming across the water like skimming stones. Using two 10ft carbon rods paired up Shimano 8000 reels a small teardrop lead and a lump of bread paste they where fishing the tide just before the turn. I bid them tight lines and a good New Year as I took the North bank East and back towards Barnes.