Monday 28 February 2011

The Last Day of the Abu Sale in Arcadia

Today is the last day of winter in Arcadia and it is marked by the last day of the Abu Sale in Arcadia,  Detective Superintendent Sarah Lund may never get to Sweden but that need not prevent you from getting lost in Malmo.

Sunday 27 February 2011

Clive of Arcadia

On a Sunday morning in Arcadia as on any other morning there is nothing more uplifting than visiting a museum.  Invariably, this means searching through endless boxes in the Lock-Up or opening a drawer that has been closed for months.  But in some cases it means visiting a genuine museum, a collection of artefacts painstakingly and longingly put together by an obsessive at great personal cost purely for the good of others' souls.

The Richard Wheatley Museum is such a place.  It is dedicated to the work of the Wheatley family who manufacture fly boxes and have done so since the 1850's.  The curator of the museum a gentleman called Mr. Clive Edwards who lives in the western most extent of Arcadia in the town of Torquay.  Whenever I find an interesting Wheatley Box I immediately telephone Mr. Edwards in case it is one that he has yet to have seen.  I urge you to do the same and to visit the collection if you have not already done so.  

Saturday 26 February 2011

Mr. Baron Nahum meets the Hayes and Harlington Upstream

Found in an angler's scrapbook on the outskirts of Arcadia yesterday, this photograph of the owner, a member of the famous Hayes and Harlington Angling Club, fishing on the River Kennet in the early 1950's.  The angler came from a fourth generation family of fruit and veg dealers at the old Covent Garden Market.  The gentleman behind the lens was Baron Nahum, official photographer for the Sadler's Wells Ballet, and a member of the notorious drinkers the Thursday Club who, once a week, used to haunt an upstairs room of Wheeler's Restaurant in Soho.   The tale of how I came to find the scrapbook via the stall and a co-incidental story behind it will be told next Wednesday.

Friday 25 February 2011


A delightful day at Spitalfields yesterday, with the purchase from a gentleman hailing from the district of London known as Crystal Palace of a 1960's Allcock's Billy Lane Match Rod complete with integral swing tip, alternative butt section and opaque green rod stoppers.

Mr. Lane was fond of using a phrase often used in Arcadia when times are desperate, 'there's nowt like a few bream to cheer you up!'

Thursday 24 February 2011

A Haunting in Arcadia

Found in an auction lot last week a William Brown of Glasgow Phantom Minnow, made of the finest silk with original X stout gut mounts.  For evidence of more stout guts and one hundred year old ghosts please visit me at my stall today in Spitalfields Antiques Market

Wednesday 23 February 2011

Anderson of Edinburgh meets Miss Putnam Uptown

To be found in the north of Arcadia is a lady called Miss Putnam, a fine fly-tyer who writes the splendid angling blog, described by herself as the journal of an angler 'stumbling through life whilst daydreaming about fishing'.  In Arcadia, stumbling and daydreaming are what are known in other quarters as a map and compass.

Tuesday 22 February 2011

Finding an Audience

A large round of applause and a thank-you to all those of you who trooped across Tower Bridge in the fog of a February night to yesterday's Caught by the River Angling Evening.  We found the audience a delight and hoped that you enjoyed yourselves and left with a bellyful of ale and a soulful of words.

Monday 21 February 2011

Caught by the River Evening of Angling

The pubs on the Tower Bridge Road start to fill with early arrivals for the Caught by the River Angling Social after it was chosen as the place to go out today in The Times Daily Universal Register.

Sunday 20 February 2011

Nobody at Home

A blank yesterday at Frensham in dank, penetrating cold.  Every living soul on the common bar the birds still in hibernation.

Saturday 19 February 2011

Pike Fishing with Mr. Haworth

Heavy rain forecast for 06:00hrs and with the closed season on the horizon it is off to Frensham to fish for pike with my old friend Mr. Haworth.  The only burning question having spent Friday visiting the fishmongers for a bag of fresh herring as bait and The Southampton Arms for inspiration is whether to drive down in Mr. Haworth's old Land Rover or to proceed in the van.

Friday 18 February 2011


Once upon a time in Arcadia, most notably in the year 1953, Friday meant the delivery of the revolutionary new weekly angling newspaper 'Angling Times' which was launched by its inaugural editor Bernard Venables in that year.   Yesterday at the market it was a day for finding lost Angling Times items, in the form of not one, but two enamel badges for the Angling Times Kingfisher Guild.  Whilst pondering the chances of that happening I was pleasantly surprised by a visit from my old friend and veteran from Creation Records, Mr. Andy Saunders, who now spends his days hunting giant pike on Blickling Estate Lake.  Andy very kindly left me with a copy of the Angling Times book 'Fishing the Norfolk Broads', written by Peter Collins and first published in 1967.  After that it was time for me to lose myself for the rest of the afternoon on 'Woodbastwick Decoy Broad' (Page 58) and 'Other Lakes and Pits' (Page 77).

Thursday 17 February 2011

A Gentleman in Upstate New York

It is not uncommon in Arcadia for there to be visitors to my website or to the stall from the city of New York and other places in the Americas.  Earlier in the week I awoke to find several hundred standing outside the lock-up in search of Vintage Fishing Tackle for the Soul courtesy of a review of the stall by Mr. David Coggins of the most excellent and discerning website 'A Continuous Lean'

Ladies and Gentlemen from New York and other places in the Americas are ever welcome at either the lock-up or the stall and especially at the doors of my website which remain open overnight to accomodate travellers from across the Atlantic who may live in another time zone.  In Arcadia we live permanently in another time zone and salute those who do also!

Wednesday 16 February 2011

The Tackle Maker meets The Master Barber Uptown

Occasionally in Arcadia one stumbles across an item of Vintage Fishing Tackle for the Soul and someone else immediately comes to mind along with the infamous words 'This One's got Your Name on It!' Having spent a very jolly Saturday afternoon at The Curious Comb drinking tea and having a haircut with the Master Barber, Angler and Fire Eater 'Mr. Natty' aka Matt Raine Sunday the Empress of Arcadia and I proceeded north on the A10 in the van to collect some forgotten auction lots.  There, hermetically sealed in a wallet that had not been opened for several decades and possibly even as long as a century, an envelope of fly tying materials, stamped in green ink with the legend: R. Raine - a Gun, Cartridge & Fishing Tackle Maker, whose premises stood at 20 Butchergate in the town of Carlisle in the County of Eden.

Tuesday 15 February 2011


This evening in the heart of the city of Arcadia, at a bar called The Social in a place known as Little Portland Street between the hours of 6 and 9pm there is the opening of a touring exhibition called Sideshow which is being put together by my friends Mr. Will Burns and Miss Nina Herve.   You can avail yourself of information at  

The exhibition is a collaborative affair featuring the drawings of the artist Jason Butler and the writings and spoken word of the poet Will Burns.  Musical accompaniment will be provided by a gentleman from Soulsavers and a gentleman from The Tailors.  Should I see you at the bar my favoured drink in this fine establishment is a pint of Youngs Kew Gold.

Monday 14 February 2011

The Feast of St. Valentine in Arcadia

In Arcadia as in other zones and districts it is the Feast of St. Valentine.  Here is a selection of cards and keepsakes that were discovered about the persons during a quick search at closing time in the Golden Heart Public House.

Sunday 13 February 2011

Abu In Arcadia Sale

Being a dealer is not always about finding treasure at a steal.  Sometimes, and indeed more often than not, it is about letting things that one bought in the recent past go for a loss so that one can keep on the long road to the next auction room and beyond.  And so, until the last day of February visitors to my website will find themselves in the favourable position of being able to buy a selection of Vintage Abu Fishing Reels for the Soul at special sale prices.  To browse through the reels in question take nearest mouse to   

Saturday 12 February 2011

Still Looking for Mr. Chub

In Arcadia, on the way home from car boots and en route to auctions, with the coarse fishing season about to enter its final month, the search for Vintage Fishing Tackle for the Soul competes with the need for a chub to cheer oneself up.

Friday 11 February 2011

A Spitalfields Life

A long market yesterday, beginning as usual with a pot of tea and birdsong as dawn broke over the Heath and ending with several rounds of drinks with the Empress of Arcadia and our old friends retired Company Sergeant Major George Cossington and his delightful wife Shirley as well as a host of other market faces in the snug at The Golden Heart Public House.  Every chipped china cup and every glass was raised as a congratulatory toast in raucous celebration of the opening of the 'Market Portraits' exhibition which runs until March 10th in three locations, the clothing shop Agnes B in Lamb Street, the public house The Golden Heart on Commercial Street and the record shop Rough Trade East in the Truman Brewery.  The exhibition of photographs by Mr. Jeremy Freedman and accompanying biographies by 'The Gentle Author' is said to be a profile of the antiques market at Spitalfields but it is really a testament to the truly historical and inspirational work of the Gentle Author Himself, a discreet and gracious figure who was correctly described by one newspaper as the 'real Samuel Pepys' and whose work forms the daily journal  

Wednesday 9 February 2011

A Taste of Honey

Found at Kempton yesterday, a parcel posted from Madison Avenue in the 1950's to John England (Ltd) of Rusholme in Manchester.  The contents - wooden plug baits with glass eyes - to be used perhaps on the Manchester to Liverpool Shipping Canal for pike on a wet and grey February morning.