23. Upstream again



This fish photo reminded me of the iconic 9/11 shot inserted into blog 14.

The poor bugger had been unable to swim around our pond properly for the past fortnight, and finally died this morning. I removed it, and walked down the garden, cradling it in my hands, softly repeating the Great Compassion mantra beloved of Buddhists. Then placed it on the compost heap, for the birds or rodents to devour. We lose 3 or 4 fish a year to old age.

Couldn’t resist the briefest of visits back upstream to Bowers Gifford yesterday, en route to Thurrock. Here’s the old house, snapped from the car, before they could call the police. No sign of the pterodactyl, nor any lingering rhythmic sound of Deep Purple


Sad to say that the old gaff looks depressingly gentrified and timidly neutral compared to Eric’s colourful 1970s treatment in an azure shade of blue. He came by a job lot of paint, maybe bartered for ingots or copper wire. Maureen and I stopped up the road by the old school, then drove down through Pitsea, past Howards Park, where I first got beaten up. A kid annoyed me on a roundabout, and clearly needed a Wild West saloon-style punch. But he didn’t buckle, and was stronger than me as we wrestled. Then I got to experience my first ‘bunch of fives’, in Eric’s parlance. A painful life lesson.

Another 12 minutes and we arrived at our destination, in the land of Russell Brand. Thurrock Thameside Nature Park. My second visit, having met John Madden and John Devane there in May. An Essex Wildlife Trust nature reserve located atop a former Mucking Marshes Landfill. Great views over the Thames.



We spotted many avocets and, I think, a mass of dunlins in faraway mud. The day’s sightings are chalked on the notice board, and at last revealed where my old sparring partner has ended up, cunningly disguised with a new spelling.




You cannot beat a nice day out with the missus.






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