Wednesday 26 February 2014

Return to Spitalfields

I am delighted to say that after a prolonged absence of some six weeks I shall be returning to my regular pitch at Spitalfields Antiques Market on Commercial Street in the district of London known as E.1. tomorrow between the hours of 8am and approximately 2pm.

Wednesday 19 February 2014

From the Grave of The Golden Perch

Bought recently from a gentleman an extremely rare advertising or trading token for John Cheek 'Fishing Rod and Tackle Manufacturer' whose premises were to be found at the sign of The Golden Perch, 132 Oxford Street between 1842 and 1860.  The token, which weighs just over 5 grammes and measures 26mm in diameter had been buried in a Kentish field for over a century and a half.  On its face is a representation in relief of 'The Golden Perch' alongside its legend and on the reverse the details:

 'John Cheek Fishing Rod and Tackle Manufacturer 132 Oxford Street London'.

For old fashioned modernists who find themselves abroad in the West End, 132 is now the site of John Lewis who took opened their first drapery there, four years after Cheek departed, in 1864.

Friday 14 February 2014


'Sixty miles north by north east of the dirty jewel of Scarborough, far out in the North Sea, beyond the Silver Pit, the bright electric glow of the yacht Nahlin lights up the night sky.  It is August 1933, the middle of a heatwave, a summer of lightning strikes, white speedboats, sea monsters and of a message in a bottle,

'Been in a rowing boat without oars since 11th'.'

My short piece entitled 'Tunnyland' originally published in Dexter Petley's 2009 anthology 'Powerlines - New Writing From the Water's Edge' is available again via the publisher Two Ravens Press. Go to their website where for the sum of five pounds you may find yourself off the map.  (Photograph: Private Collection: by late Lady Vera Broughton).

Wednesday 5 February 2014

'Just off to Wood Green'

Bought recently from a gentleman collector and for sale in an impromptu and quite sizeable outbreak of ephemera and other delights in the archival backwater of my website known as 'Just in, Sir' a postcard from Arcadia of the 'Fish and Eels' Public House on the banks of the River Lea at Hoddesdon.  The Fish and Eels was established in the early 1800's by the Christie Brewery.  

The back of the postcard was filled in and addressed but was never sent.  It is signed off 'Just off to Wood Green but returning here tonight I hope.  Cheerio'.

Tuesday 4 February 2014

The Lost Summer of '81

One evening immediately before Christmas in the upstairs room of The Queens Head Public House in Denman Street, Piccadilly, my good friend and collaborator Mr. Jeff Barrett gave me a copy of Chris Yates 'The Lost Diary' (Unbound) and asked me if I'd like to review it for Caught by the River.  The review is published today although it is more the description of a very personal and poignant journey to a lost summer that I thought I'd left behind. You may read it here.

Monday 3 February 2014

In the Shop Window

On display as of this 3 o'clock this afternoon to all passers-by 'In the Shop Window' of my website where it is for immediate sale to a New Old Fashioned Victorian Lady or Gentleman of Exquisite Taste a very fine F.T. Williams of Great Queen Street hand engraved ebonite, brass and nickel silver bound Nottingham style centre pin reel of immense rarity.