I had to look back through my journals to find exactly when it was that the paths of Nigel Fennel Hudson and myself first crossed. I was somewhat surprised to find it was in the 1990's at Jade lake in a forgotten corner of Wiltshire - the diary entry made me smile as I had forgotten most of it (one of the reasons why I keep a fishing journal). Both of us had no idea the other was fishing the pool on that dark, wet and windy night. I was protected from the elements by a gentleman's brolly and a cape. My lonely vigil was cheered somewhat by a candle in a jar and hourly brew ups with my Kelly Kettle..............I didn't catch that night.
The lake is haunted. I only had one occasion where I really was scared and knew I had to leave, which I did, but this was not such a night. More often than not the atmosphere was interesting and would take a turn in some strange direction to make the catching of carp easier or impossible - I always felt something unseen was watching me there.
Anyway, on this particular night through the rain I saw the occasional flicker and glow of a naked flame through the herbage on the far bank. I wasn't alone. I had always fished by myself here, never actually met another angler and hoped I never would. I had in fact turned back for home on more than one occasion if I saw another car parked on the dam. After the initial phantom thoughts I soon realised there was in fact someone else fishing this night. I had not seen this person arrive.
In the morning, a glorious sunny morning where everything steams after a wet night, I did spy my fellow piscator re-casting. After catching two feral carp I decided by lunchtime that perhaps I might go and investigate. I crept across the dam and found someone like me, a tramp under a brolly........it was Fennel or Nigel as I knew him then. I heard it was his first season on the lake too, how he cycled on opening night from his home near Hungerford with all his tackle, bait and provisions (took him a whole day), he was a gardener and he liked the things I liked. Whoever said that these are the times that likings are made is quite right. We are friends to this very day.
I heard a few years later that I too had freaked him out that night. Not only with my glimmering candle but the sudden volcanic eruptions from my tea brewing activities and then whilst he was dozing I crept up on him all monkish through the mud in my sandals and frightened the living daylights out of him...........probably why the name Angelus has stuck. I digress - this was meant to be about Fennel and his Priory which is a fascinating place (lots of nooks and crannies for the lover of all things vintage). Have a poke around at Fennel's Priory and if you like what you see I can heartily recommend Issue 1 of Fennel's Journal.
Fennel posted a few lines from a letter I wrote to him on his guest book: In this mad, chaotic world, the ethos and beliefs of the Priory make us stop and think and hopefully appreciate and evaluate what is important and what can wait. Slow is good - should be good. Take time to stop and drink everything in..... enjoy the small things in life which get neglected because some say fast is good. Appreciate this and life will be good. The Priory appreciates this - we appreciate it too! We all have to work and get caught up in the grind, but remember that if you remember to stop, unplug, escape, enjoy, your life will be all the more better.