Sunday, 31 December 2017

On the Threshold of Another Year...

Forty years ago this evening my mate Pete and I attended the New Year's Eve revelries in Trafalgar Square. The famous fountain was switched off, but at midnight I nevertheless waded in the pool and may or may not have kissed a policewoman, depending on whether I fully trust my memory. Some time in the early hours we sat in a Fleet Street canteen where my stepfather, a printer, treated us to a hearty fry-up while we dripped Trafalgar Square fountain water onto the floor. And thus began 1978.

If I'd been blogging back then I could have done a review of 1977...
  • Built my first bike from scratch
  • Hair longest it's ever been. Cool!
  • Mucked up the A-levels a bit
  • Started university, but knew within a fortnight I was going to hate the course
  • Hawkwind at the Roundhouse!
  • There's this 'punk rock' thing...don't like it much
  • Etc...
If I were to review 2017 there would certainly be some highlights. Finding a Hoopoe and jamming a spring flock of 12 Poms on minimal birding, for example. And catching a 23lb pike. And discovering that I can still run after a quarter-century layoff. That last one was a very nice surprise, and thinking about it, I'm pretty sure I haven't yet written a post on the topic. Now there's something to look forward to...

I'm amused to realise that my 2017 list would similarly include building a bike from scratch. I can honestly say it has absolutely nothing else in common with the 1977 version though. Apart from a keen interest in the appearance of my hair of course.

I was a very enthusiastic angler in 1977 and would definitely have predicted that I'd still be at it forty years later. That I actually am is a pleasant surprise to me today. What I would not have predicted was having so many years off in the interim and flogging all my tackle at least twice! Mind you, at the age of 18 I had yet to learn about my horrendous fickle streak, and had no idea what 'phasing' was...

Two years after Trafalgar Square I spent the final day of 1979 on the Hampshire Avon's Royalty Fishery at Christchurch, in company with my old fishing buddy Ric. If you'd told me at the time that my much older self would be planning a dawn pike raid on January 1st, 2018, well, I think I would have been rather pleased...

Ric, waiting for a bite...
...and after getting one. A 1970s barbel.

Anyway, I shall sign off at this point, and wish you all the best for whatever plans you have sketched out for the coming twelve months.


  1. Gav, I remember that day well. You and me both caught a barbel while Malcolm lost one.
    It was the first experience I had of fish attacking the actual swim-feeder, with the fish I had, being caught on a single maggot & 14 hook.
    The bottom of the river, later that day, I recall turned out to be 'paved with Eels'.
    I still have that ABU 44x reel somewhere, but the rod (Fred J Taylor Trotter) I gave back to the original owner, 30 odd years after he sold it to me.

    1. Ric, it couldn't have been very long after the Royalty maggot ban was lifted (sometime between '77 and '79) so the fish must have been well up for some 'gentles'!!

      Oh, how I remember those poxy eels!