Tuesday 30 November 2010

St Andrews Day Snowfall

Floodlights over Arcadia at 07:00hrs, Kempton Antiques Market.

Monday 29 November 2010


An exhibition in Arcadia that I'm particularly looking forward to this week is at Cricket Fine Art, 2 Park Walk, London, temporary home for the Moncrieff-Bray Gallery (www.moncrieff-bray.com) where until Saturday they are showing paintings by the artist Lottie Cole in 'A London Life and a Sussex Summer.'  The one shown here is called 'Selsey Life Boat'.  I hope to be preparing for the viewing by combining both aspects at the Royal Oak Public House on Tabbard Street, the London home of that famous Sussex export, Harvey's Ale, where on occasion it has been necessary to hail a lifeboat in order to get home.

Saturday 27 November 2010

Going Fishing in the Snow

In Arcadia it is snowing.  For all those who have driven over oily rivers in the last twenty four hours with an eye on the black sky behind them, for Mick who cleans the windows at Hardy's, for Nick Hollow-Glass Cooper who cleaned up this picture and for the Brunswick Brothers, from whose archive it comes, this photograph of Brother Alf Groves walking to the Medway in the winter of '62.


Friday 26 November 2010


A day of great conversations in the cold yesterday at Spitalfields with Alf Kuyper from the Brunswick Brothers and Tony Holt from the Red Spinners.  About nights in the Arthur Public House and long walks to Dagenham Reach, about days going fishing.  The only thing of an angling nature that I bought was the only angling thing for sale, a copy of the journalist Negley Farson's 'Going Fishing', first published in 1942 by Country Life and nearly sixty years on still relevant, 'This is just the story of some rods, and the places they take you to', says Mr Farson in the Statement at the front of the book.  'Going Fishing' was such a relevant book when it was published that it was reprinted again in January 1943, June 1943 and April 1944, not to mention numerous times since.  A copy of it, allegedly given to Hugh Falkus by a prison guard, kept Falkus from going mad when in solitary confinement for three months.   You can find copies of the book today, in its tattered dust jacket or simply in its blue linen binding for around the sum of ten pounds.  It is illustrated by C. F. Tunnicliffe.

Wednesday 24 November 2010

Weather from the Arctic of Arcadia

Someone in the Arctic of Arcadia has been very kind and sent us some glorious early winter weather, which we salute with some suitable snapshots from some of the books plundered at the weekend in Redditch.  I will have them and other works in the Andrews of Arcadia Angling Library of the Lost on the stall tomorrow.   See you from a half past seven and remember your woollen socks.

Tuesday 23 November 2010

The Arcadia A-Road Service Crew

As the last of the dealers and vintage tackle enthusiasts made their way home from the town of Redditch after the National things threatened to get out of hand at the services on the A40.

Saturday 20 November 2010

Redditch Bound

All roads lead to the town of Redditch, the spiritual home of British fishing tackle for tomorrow's National Vintage Fishing Tackle Fair, an eagerly awaited riot of tackle dealers.  Doors open to the public at 9am sharp.

Friday 19 November 2010


A quiet day for buying at Spitalfields yesterday with only a few books emerging from a box as the bells of the City tolled eight o'clock. The most interesting being Neil Graesser's 'Advanced Salmon Fishing'.  'Advanced' is not a word used often in Arcadia but luckily this is a book of memories as much as it is a book of instruction.  And so I spent a quiet morning reading about a childhood holiday on the Tweed in February of 1940, 'When I woke the next morning, it was barely light.  I lay in bed full of anticipation and was perplexed at the creaks and  crunching noises which I could hear.  I tiptoed to the window of my bedroom and peered out into the gloom.  There was the river, a raging brown torrent, carrying on its surface huge ice floes buffeted to and fro, crashing into each other as they were swept seawards'.   The author then recounted how he spent the day fishing the torrent with a mounted Golden Sprat from Forrest of Kelso as bait whilst kitted out in a pair short tweed trousers.  In Arcadia that's what we call Advanced Salmon Fishing.

Wednesday 17 November 2010

Post War British Fishing Reels for the Soul

Going through some boxes in the lock-up in preparation for the market tomorrow I came across a growing collection of Post-War British made fishing reels made cheaply from alloy or tin.  None of them are expensive, arguably the Monarch by KP Morritts might be considered so, or the Hydraflow by Strike Right but most are cheap and cheerful like the Eton Sun.  A lot of them would have been out of reach of the pockets of a nation on rationing.  But what all of these brands have in common is that they all represent an age of optimism when anglers could look forward to better days.  In Arcadia we celebrate this as much as some revere the more obvious brands such as Hardy's or Allcock's.  

Tuesday 16 November 2010

Night Fell at Blood Knots Brasserie

The Dread Tyrant of the Watery Plain and the Silver Killer came to town dead in a sack and were eaten last night after the author Luke Jennings and the members of the Gang of Four had made a small corner of Dorset Street their own.  A mortal gift of thanks is due for generous hospitality to Hardy's Brasserie hostess Dominique and an altogether gracious audience reared on 7 per cent India Pale Ale, Fine Wine and the last verse of the Angler's Song.

Monday 15 November 2010

The Lost Supper

In Arcadia it is not unknown for us to sing for our supper.  And tonight is no exception when from 7pm there will be an evening of angling reading and rioting at Hardy's Brasserie in Marylebone.  Headlining the bill is Luke Jennings, author of Blood Knots, supported by Charles Rangeley-Wilson, David Profumo and Old Andrews of Arcadia himself.  The weather is forecast to be suitably foggy, and the menu tells us that 'Wines have been carefully chosen to match as have traditional & continental beers'.  We don't drink continental beers in Arcadia unless on the continent, but may make an exception tonight as Marylebone is fairly European.

More details of the evening can be found at: http://caughtbytheriver.net/

Saturday 13 November 2010

The National Vintage Fishing Tackle Fair

No Saturday trip to Wimbledon Car Boot today, instead a lie-in and shameless self promotion via mobile telephone on BBC Hereford and Worcester to tell the good people of that corner of the kingdom about next Sunday's National Vintage Fishing Tackle Fair, a riot of vintage tackle dealers that takes place at the Speedway sounding Abbey Stadium Sports Centre in Redditch.  The doors open at 9am, Mr Samuel Guyatt will have his tea and burger van  fired up well before then so come, be British, and start queueing.   If you arrive a day early Arcadia recommends an exhibition about how the town of Redditch became the spiritual home of our fishing tackle manufacturing industry at the nearby Forge Mill Museum - www.forgemill.org.uk

Friday 12 November 2010


Myself and the Empress of Arcadia have been to two exhibitions of artworks this week, the first being the opening night of St Jude's in the City - www.stjudescity.co.uk at the Bankside Gallery where we looked longingly at posters for Danny and the Champions of The World printed by James Brown and toyed with the idea of blowing a month's money on a Mark Hearld, but the second exhibition was the one that won our hearts, a tour around the house of Spitalfields Market Champions, Edele and Steve Sorrell, purchasers of fine wicker creels and Old Town obsessives, by the chronicler Curious Eye -http://thecuriouseye.blogspot.com/2010/11/objets-n-art-chez-sorrell.html

In Arcadia we recommend both exhibitions, inspirational as they are, St Jude's runs until Sunday 21st November and the Sorrell is archived under Tuesday 9th November at thecuriouseye.blogspot.com.

Wednesday 10 November 2010

Nevamiss Floats

More treasure from Ludlow, a quantity of Nevamiss Floats from the 1960's, originally manufactured by Auger of Tottenham.   A few examples are shown here.

Tuesday 9 November 2010

Camouflaged Gut

In the decade known as the 1930's artists worked in the commercial arena as product and packaging designers to keep the aspidistra flying.  One such worked at the Midland Works of  Foster Brothers of Ashbourne in Derbyshire where he designed this packet for Camouflaged Gut.  Oh, but I could have a camouflaged gut of my own. 

Monday 8 November 2010

Stag's Head Eyes

Amongst the many lost items found in the bar at Ludlow Racecourse were this pair of Stag's Head Eyes, shown next to a two penny piece and commonly known in the taxidermy trade as Flints.  They were passed to me by another dealer.

Sunday 7 November 2010

Return From Ludlow

Returned late last night from the western fringes of Arcadia, where much horse trading took place in the bar at Ludlow Racecourse, and building work continued on the castle in the sky.  Selected pieces of treasure plundered whilst there will be posted throughout the forthcoming week.

Thursday 4 November 2010


Not stalling out at Spitalfields today as later on the road will rise to meet me and the wind will be at my back when I head off to the market town of Ludlow for an auction and fair.  You can find a small part of the bar in Ludlow Racecourse that will be forever Arcadia on Friday and Saturday where I will be selling Vintage Fishing Tackle for the Soul.

I did take a turn around the market first thing after there was a rumour of a box of reels but it turned out to be nothing.  Modern Century Steve was sporting a fine pair of Denim Dreadnoughts from our friends at Old Town.  I bought a small oak box and a Two Shilling 1949 Penguin Paperback Guide to Herts and Bucks.  God Bless L. Russell Muirhead.

Wednesday 3 November 2010

Russian Beer

In Arcadia the odd ale is known to be taken.  On occasion lager beer is also consumed.  Last night was such an occasion  as Russian lager beer was drunk at the opening of the Russian Criminal Tattoo Exhibition - Original Drawings and Photographs from The Russian Criminal Tattoo Encyclopaedia curated by Damon Murray and Stephen Sorrell of Fuel.  The exhibition runs at 4 Wilkes Street London E1 until 28th November.  You can find out more at www.fuel-design.com

The memory of these works mean that walks down Wilkes Street to my stall at Spitalfields Market will never be the same again.