Whilst on our trip to record the Colchester Piscatorial Fishing Match a while back, we found Dave hunkered under a bivvy waiting for chub to take his bait. He hadn't had a bite all morning though, so had a chat with us instead about the river, fishing and the water itself. We swapped contact details and arranged to meet up at Cuckoo Farm Studios where Ruth has a studio, as it wasn't too far from where Dave now lives in Great Horkesley.
He was early and on good form which was more than we were. It didn't take long for Dave to reveal that he has been busy writing some poems for this very meeting and took great enthusiasm in reciting them for us (see attached images). We certainly weren't expecting to have verse written for the project, and especially ourselves, so it was a pleasant surprise and addition to the things we have been collecting from along the river. Dave explained to us that sometimes he wakes up with words in his head and quickly writes them down before he forgets. Poems often come fully formed and sometimes don't need many alterations or changes. I have been working on a piece involving poetry myself and whilst talking to people up and down the river I have been collecting words and phrases for a new project called River of Words so it was interesting to talk with him about the writing process.
It is clear that he has a great attachment to the environment as he is a keen fisherman and archaeologist and over the past few years he has been helping with digs in the area such as those at Court Knoll and Fordham, which he can spend more time on since his retirement. During his working life he'd studied Biochemistry which led him to gain a job as the first Chemical Bacteriologist at Hanningfield Reservoir. He then worked as the Chief Chemist at Ardleigh Reservoir before setting up a lab for Anglian Water and Tendring Council to run audits and quality control tests on bacterial, chemical and biological samples from all of the reservoirs in the area. I imagine him analysing the water as he sits on the river bank waiting for the fish to bite. Unfortunately, as he informed us, he didn't get a single bite during the match and so the trophy went to someone else (possibly Gareth, as we saw him catch three fish within ten minutes). Well, at least he can use that time to formulate new poems.
Additional: 01/12/2017 - Text versions of the poems from Dave.
THE RIVER RUNS THROUGH ME.
THE RIVER RUNS THROUGH US
GIVING LIFE IN ALL ITS FORMS
LIKE LIFE AND THE BLOOD IN OUR VEINS
PEAKS AND TROUGHS,HIGHS AND LOWS,OCCASIONAL STORMS.
WE SHOULD ONLY SEE THE GOOD
THERE IS,IN FACT,VERY LITTLE BAD
IN AND ON THE RIVER STOUR SUCH DIVERSITY
THAT SHOULD REALLY MAKE EVERYBODY GLAD.
EVERYTHING CAN HAPPEN IN A RIVER CONTEXT
WALKS AND TALKS AND EDUCATION FOR ONE AND ALL
YOU ARE NEVER LONELY NEAR THE RIVER
THERE IS SO MUCH TO ENJOY AND ENTHRAL.
WHAT ALWAYS FASCINATES ME IS WINTER TREES(COUNTLESS
SEEING THROUGH THE WILLOWS,MISTY AUTUMN DAYS
CHURCH BELLS TELLING EVERY QUARTER HOUR
WHAT IS THERE NOT TO ADMIRE AND PRAISE.
WHAT ABOUT ALL THE REFLECTIONS IN THE WATER
AND WATCHING THE AUTUMN LEAVES FLOATING DOWN
THINK ABOUT ALL THE DIFFERENT COLOUR GREENS
ANNOUNCING A RIVER OF GREAT RENOWN
FOR ME THE GREATEST JOY APART FROM FISHING
SLICING JUST ABOVE THE WATER LIKE A KNIFE
ON EVERY VISIT ,MULTIPLE KINGFISHER SIGHTINGS
THE RIVER STOUR IS TRULY A RIVER OF LIFE!
RUTH'S RIVER RUNS.
REVEALS RURAL RAPPORT.
REAL RELENTLESS RESEARCHER
RIVERAIN REEDY REFLECTIONS REVEAL RARE RESOURCES.
REVIEWING,REPORTING RAISES REAL REMEMBRANCES.
REGISTER RETRACES REMINDED RALLIES.
REMARKABLE RARE RESEARCH.
STUART SEARCHES SCENIC STOUR SURROUNDINGS
SCOPING SUBTLE STORIES.
SUNSHINE,SHADOWS,SPIRES,SKILFULLY SHARED SOUNDWISE.
SERIATE SUBJECTS SCREENED.
SALIENT STREAM SETTINGS SHOWN.
STRESSFREE STEADY SHOOTING.SUPERB.