Friday was busy and work couldn’t pass quickly enough. After a lightning quick turnaround I was alone at the Marsh fishing with two rods by 1900. I knew where I fancied fishing and set up so quickly that it was only when I sat down that I realised I hadn’t even bothered to look for signs of fish. My swim had a large bed of lily pads within easy distance and I’d cast both rods to the edge of this. One was fake pop up corn fished over about ten pouches of pellets, the other a heli/snowman rig with a PVA bag of crushed boilies. Before long groups of bubbles began to erupt around the pads, there were certainly fish about; I was in with a shout.
So far the day had stayed dry but rumbles of thunder had me quickly popping up the shelter, grim clouds seemed to be passing away to the east, someone was getting a soaking but I was lucky, so far. The storm clouds seemed to pass either side of the ring of tall trees that circle this old place but my luck couldn’t hold, could it? The wind was freshening and blowing from the South west, the opposite to what the forecast had told me. There were definitely fish in the swim, a large Tench rolled over the pellets. I was definitely in with a shout!
One of the good things about getting older is seeing younger members of the family grow up. My nephews are getting older and it’s good getting to know them as adults. One of them pooped down for a brew, a chat and a laugh. Unfortunately he brought the rain with him but it wasn’t too bad. Still fish bubbled and occasionally rolled in the area, I began getting liners too. Things were looking good.
The nephew left and as it got quickly dark I packed up the boilie rod. The swim was alive with bubbling and still Tench rolled, surely I would get a chance? With most of the gear packed up I stood in the dark giving it five more minutes which turned into half an hour as every time I thought about winding in another patch of bubbles appeared or another fish rolled. At 2210 I realised I’d forgotten my torch and I really should pack up. If only I’d had more time! If I’d have been able to stay all night I just know I would have caught!
Saturday was spent at work, enough said. Sunday morning saw a nice long lay in then Shelley and I took a midday day drive into another world. For me to go to London there has to be a damn good reason and there was, but more about that later. We had a hotel near Wembley, chosen because it was cheap not because of the location. At home a five minute walk takes us into the beautiful Suffolk countryside; fields, lakes and woods; Here we walked through concrete, derelict businesses and litter, with the North Circular road on one side and a septic looking canal on the other. After an average meal at the hotel we crashed, Monday would be busy.
After another lazy start to the day we got the tube into the city, Kensington to be precise which is another world again. Yes it’s concrete and steel once more but this part of town has money, nothing run down or derelict here. People watching revealed thousands of tourists along with wealthy looking people who seemed more at home. After fuelling up with a nice Lamb Rogan we visited the Natural History Museum, my first ever visit here. The dinosaur exhibition is brilliant but my overall impression of the place was mixed. On the one hand it’s fascinating but on the other it’s overwhelming; hot, crowded and noisy. It’s just too big. We left sooner than planned and found ourselves in the V&A which although less interesting to me was a much calmer, more relaxed experience. We even found some paintings of the Suffolk countryside by Mr Constable.
Our main reason for braving the capital was to see our favourite band in the world, “Eels” play at the Royal Albert Hall. With a little time to kill we sat on a bench near the Albert memorial and tried to while away the minutes. We’d seen Eels three times on the two previous tours and they’d been fabulous each time. This was our first visit to the RAH though and it looked impressive even from the outside. An annoying shower saw us head for shelter early. Our tickets were standing, way up at the very highest point of the hall and we found our entrance and started queuing.
With ten minutes to go someone opened the door and offered all of the handful queuing free ticket upgrades!! There were a few seats unsold to the side of the stage and we eagerly swapped ours! We went in, got a beer then wandered around, grinning with that “can’t believe our luck” feeling. We entered the hall and “Jesus Christ!” what a place! Seats were to the right hand side of the stage but only two rods back. The view was different but brilliant. Lights dimmed and… the support… I can’t remember what they were called and I have no wish to find out.
Then came the Eels, could tonight possibly match the brilliant emotional nights we’ve seen before? Yes they bloody well could! Every Eels tour is different. We’ve seen “Tremendous Dynamite” a blues brothers R&B show with a horn section then last year was “Wonderful Glorious”, just the five regular band members playing a hard rock and roll show. This year was the regular five again playing a mostly acoustic set. We heard many songs both old and new that we hadn’t seen performed live before and I can only remember 2 ½ songs that featured on last year’s tour. Three tours, three totally different sets. All of the band members can play several instruments and we were blown away by seeing them reveal skills we didn’t know they had. There were many different arrangements of familiar tunes, all of them worked. The set started slowly with what “Mr E” described as “sweet bummer rock” then built in tempo and swept the audience along. Standout tunes tonight; “It’s a mother-fucker”, “Last stop this town”, “Parallels” and “I like the way this is going”. “E” hugged the crowd, the band played a long encore then finally “Mr E” took over the massive pipe organ. The sound was brilliant, the atmosphere fantastic and the hall was splendid. However they decide to play Eels are the best live band I’ve seen in thirty years of gigging and the RAH was the perfect venue for this set.