Stolen days, Blueys and lessons learned

Dave Spence

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Dave, Dave, wake up; I opened my sleepy eyes and gazed lovingly at Sandie, Cmon Dave wake up said Sandie with that beautiful smile. Sandie was the absolute love of my life and I would do anything for her, including waking up when it was still dark and my bedroom was so cold I could see my breath hanging in clouds around my pillow. As my sleep fogged brain came to life I realised that Sandie Shaw could not be talking to me, she was a poster on my bedroom wall!

I sat up and saw Ken (my Dad) standing at the door, what day is it I asked sleepily.

A fishing day whispered Ken, now hurry up and get ready, Colins coming round in a minute; and dont wake your Mam or she will send you to school.

I didnt need telling twice and with a huge grin on my face I crept out of bed and picked up yesterdays clothes off my bedroom floor. I pulled on the clothes over my pyjamas, it was too cold to take them off; not many people had central heating in 1965 and double glazing was still in the realms of science fiction.

I blew a kiss to Sandie and crept downstairs, my excitement mounting, as I pondered a day off school to go fishing. Ken often did this, much to Vis (my Mother) annoyance and he knew he would get a rollicking when we got home.

Downstairs there was a huge coal fire roaring in the grate and I sat down by the side of it basking in the warm glow, Ken passed me a cup of tea and I sipped in bliss, there was no better start to a day than a cup of tea, a warm fire and the knowledge that Ken and I were off on an adventure. The fact that Kens mate Colin was coming as well made it even better.

Colin was a little stocky fella with an incredibly loud voice, what you would call a gobby so and so nowadays, but he had a heart of gold and he always gave me advice when we were fishing. In fact, all of Kens mates acted like my appointed guardians and I was, therefore, brought up by a motley crew of anglers, poachers and foragers.

Ken was just finishing making a pile of sandwiches for us when in walked Colin, Ken immediately put a finger to his lips to shush him before he even opened his mouth, dont wake Vi up or she will make him go to school he whispered pointing at me.

Cant have that David can we Colin, just like my mother always used my full name.

No I grinned back.

Ill show you how to catch some chub today and if you manage to beat your Dad I will give you half a crown

Brilliant, thank you I replied, half a crown was a full weeks spending money, but I knew it was unlikely to come my way as Ken was the best angler I knew.

We crept down the garden path and silently loaded the gear into the car; Ken had gone from motorbikes to cars about 6 months previously and was the proud owner of a Standard Vanguard which had already taken us on many adventures.

I sat between Ken and Colin on the big bench front seat and we pulled out of the, still sleeping, council estate on which we lived.

On the drive Ken and Colin had me in stitches with tales of their fishing escapades, in Stickney, fishing the Hob Hole and Bellwater. One tale that still makes me chuckle is when Ken had an attic room at the Duke of Wellington, where they used to stay, and all of his mates were coming up to his room to use the chamber pot; claiming that they didnt have one in their rooms. The reason they were really doing it was that Kens pot did not have any handles, a fact that they had soon latched on to, and they ensured that it was full to the brim by morning so that the poor landlady had to dip her thumbs in it to carry it downstairs. Any way I digress.

After about an hours drive, under Colins direction, Ken pulled off the road onto a bumpy farm track, we bounced down the path, pulled over under some bushes and parked up.

Here you are David said Colin handing me a penknife you will need this

What for I asked, taking the knife and putting it in my pocket

To cut some Blueys replied Colin.

Theyre like blue mushrooms said Ken Colin will show you
We walked into a field and Colin picked a mushroom out of the grass,

whats this David

A mushroom I replied

Almost he said; turning it over he showed me the blue veins on the underside of the cap and the bluish tinge on the stalk. This is a Bluebutton he told me much nicer than mushrooms and more valuable

In those days they would often sell surplus stuff in the pub on a Sunday lunch time; you could invariably obtain Rabbits, Hares, Mushrooms and Blueys from most of the pubs around our estate.

Within a couple of hours we had filled a pillow case each with Blueys and we headed back to the car, lets go and get some chub now said Colin rubbing his hands together in anticipation.

Heres your knife back I said holding out the pen knife he had given me. Colin looked to see if Ken was watching and said with a wink you can keep that, but dont tell your Dad Ive given it to you

OK I replied with a grin thank you. I was elated, my very own knife; it had a 4 inch blade, a horn handle and I still have it to this day, although it is in a toolbox in Kens shed.

We got back in the car and drove back up the dirt track to the road, 20 minutes later we were on the banks of the river. I am not sure which river it was, I assumed it was the Trent but, thinking back, I suspect it was the Witham at Claypole. It was fairly fast flowing and judging by the reeds along the edge being almost died off, I would assume it was October/November time.

Are you going to tackle up yourself or do you want some help asked Ken.

Ill do it myself I replied, I might have been only 10 years old but I considered myself a proper fisherman and as such I could tackle myself up.

Good lad David said Colin

I picked my swim and Ken put a piece of rope round my waist and tied it to a small tree so that I could not fall in.

I tackled up with a small porcupine quill; my Sundridge split cane rod, Speedia centerpin and 18 hook. My first cast revealed that the flow was much faster than I thought and I saw the sense in the rope around my waist. My float was no sooner in the water before it was at the end of my swim. I persevered, to no avail, for about half an hour and Colin came over to see how I was doing.

Any good David he asked.

No, its too fast I replied

Colin watched my next trot and sat down at my side. Youre fishing too light he said pass me your float wallet

I passed my float case over to him and after a quick rummage he said here, this ones perfect handing me a short, stubby, balsa float which I had never even been tempted to use.

He removed the porky', put the balsa on and started placing shot. I was horrified; I had never had so many weights on my line. Colin kept dropping the float in and adding weights until he was satisfied, then, passing the rod back to me he explained the reason for the position of the shot.

I cast in and had to admit that the extra weight made casting much easier, my float immediately sank, I struck but there was nothing there. This was repeated about 3 times before Colin said take your bait off and try with a bare hook. I thought this was a strange request but didnt argue, Colin was a very good angler (a couple of years after this adventure he made headlines in the local paper for catching 100lb of bream from Wollaton Park lake) and I would be silly not to take his advice, plus, there was half a crown at stake!

I cast in with a bare hook and exactly the same thing happened, is it bottom? I asked

No replied Colin Ive put more weight on than you need

How do I fish it then I asked

Colin took my rod, baited up and cast in; the float didnt sink straight away but trotted beautifully through the swim before darting under. Colin struck and a small chub was soon in my keep net.

The idea, David, is that you want your bait to go through slower than the current so you have to hold it back. Putting too much weight on means that you have to fish it properly or your float sinks, plus, the extra weight stops the bait being wafted up over the heads of the fish.

I digested this information and tried again, under the watchful eye of Colin. It took several trots before I got the hang of it but once I did, it seemed easy.

Ken, come and have a look at this lad of yours shouted Colin

Ken came over and I showed him my new found skill, casting in I trotted the float slowly through the swim, it dipped, I struck and hooked into a much bigger fish which ploughed off downstream. I slowly managed to get it back and Ken slipped the landing net under a chub of about a pound.

Well done son said Ken proudly Does this beat going to school?

Certainly does I grinned thinking of my mates who would be sat in class hardly daring to breathe in case they incurred the wrath of Mr Hutchinson, our teacher.

Hes gonna be good if he sticks at it Ken stated Colin

I think he will Col, its in his blood replied Ken.

They went back to their swims and I carried on, honing my new trotting skills and picking up small chub, with the occasional bigger one, on a regular basis.

At the end of the day we weighed my fish just over 11lb shouted Colin thats a great weight David

Have I beaten you Ken? I asked hopefully.

Well see said Ken.

Colin was next, he pulled out his keepnet and I was amazed at how many fish he had caught,

23lb mate said Ken well done

I think Ive done him David said Colin delightedly.

We got to Kens swim and he pulled out his net, Colin and I stood opened mouthed looking at Kens keep net, it was bulging with chub, some of which must have been approaching 4lb. The 25lb scales bottomed out and rather than doing multiple weighs, we were only pleasure fishing, Ken and Colin agreed on an estimate of 40 odd pound.

I had been beaten out of my half crown, but, I had a pen knife and a memory of a great day out.

We packed away our gear and made our way back to the car, well do him next time David wont we stated Colin.

Yeah, well get you next time Ken I said.

Ken laughed youve got a few years yet before you start winning but you did really well son

We arrived home to be met with Vi standing in the kitchen holding the note that I had left;

GONE FISHING WITH KEN
Love David

Colin cracked up; at least he let you know Vi he spluttered.

You cant keep letting him miss school Ken, he needs his education stormed Vi

He learns more with us than he ever will at school replied Ken, although a bit sheepishly, I think he was scared of her.

Ok replied Vi what have you learned today?

How to trot properly I said excitedly and; I ran back to the car and retrieved one of the pillow cases,

I learned how to pick these as well; can we have some for tea? I asked

Vi was cracking and a hint of a smile played around the corners of her mouth.

I suppose so she said resignedly; she knew when she was beat.


2017112322841_storypic.jpg


This is a picture showing Ken and Colin. Colin is back row far right (as you look at it) Ken is third from the right (the tallest one)
 
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Dave Spence

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When I uploaded the picture it showed the link but when I posted nothing appeared
 

Pompous git

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Hello Dave, enjoyed the story. When I was having trouble uploading photos I was
trying to do it from an SD card and it wouldn`t work but when I used a scanner
and put the snap on desktop it worked, I`m hopeless with computers but might be
worth a try.
 

Wise Owl

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Great read Dave [:T][:T] My old man didnt do fishing but i legged plenty of days off school to go me sen [;)]
 

emmaemma

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another cracking read Dave...Takes me back to when we had coal fires and a parrafin heater... bum bum bum bum...[:T]
 

drw

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lino floors, newspaper in the loo and frost on the inside of windows !
 

banksy

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Originally posted by emmaemma

another cracking read Dave...Takes me back to when we had coal fires and a parrafin heater... bum bum bum bum...[:T]

Esso Blue.

[:)]
 

Dave Spence

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Originally posted by drw

lino floors, newspaper in the loo and frost on the inside of windows !

And we had to walk across the room to change channels on the Telly, good job we only had BBC and ITV [:D][:D][:D][:D][:D]

I am having one more go with the picture, I have renamed, took out the gaps, resized and if it don't work this time this laptop is going through the window.

EUREKA!!!!



20171123215428_storypic.jpg
 

drw

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well done Dave. we never had a telly till '69 but my grandparents had one in about'67 zcars Dixon of dock green and doctor who Saturday night telly !
 

Total

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Peter,
..... Except Dave's posted the bloody wrong photo![:p][:D][:D][:D]
 
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Dave Spence

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Originally posted by Wise Owl

Great read Dave [:T][:T] My old man didnt do fishing but i legged plenty of days off school to go me sen [;)]

Once I started 'big school' the stolen days stopped. I had to be resourceful and hide some tackle near the front gate so that I could pick it up on my way. The problem was always carrying it up the street, at the end of the day, without being seen. [:T][:T][:T]
 
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