Dawn Raiding - The Lode Experience
I spoke with my old friend Percy at our match on the Cam. He is definitely mellowing with age. He suggested that we might go dawn raiding once more. What after all these years, come on Percy I have gone all-respectable. I must admit I use to enjoy our raids in to the Fens, always up at around 5am and back by 12pm so Percy could have his lunchtime pint and I could enjoy the Sunday Roast! Ahh Bisto, Roast Lamb was my favorite, mint sauce, new potatoes, peas and carrots! Anyway this reminded me of one such raid we made on the Burwell Lode at the Cock-Up Bridge. For those of you that don’t know the Lode too well, it is in the middle of the Fen next to Wicken Nature Reserve, literally miles from anywhere. You have to go to it and then get from it on the same road there is no other way unless you walk! In those days we travelled either in Percy’s little blue Nissan van or my escort, usually my transport as Percy’s driving is a nightmare. Percy would telephone on the Thursday to make arrangements, we did always seem to do what he wanted but there again, as he constantly reminds us he is an elder statesman “Yes Percy”. The phone went “Its Percy Pickles here”. Said in a Sergeant Major accent. “where do you fancy fishing son?” He said. “Well Percy I heard Roach are being caught on the seed at Baits bite Lock” Percy not one to hold back replied “No good son, I’ve got our bait we are going to fish the Lode”/ “Wheat, that’s the game”. “Umm o.k. Percy, lets do that then”. So it was to be, fishing the Lode on wheat for Roach. I don’t know about you but I have favorite venues and those, which I never seem to do any good on and quite frankly the Lode is one such venue for me. Talk to somebody like Paul Sutton or Ian Darler and they will tell you different but me I’ve always thought it would make a bloody good road to Burwell. So, my enthusiasm was already dampened. Percy, Gary and I assembled on the bridge and looked down in to the gin-clear water. Not good. Percy undeterred pointed out the numerous Roach that were swimming under the bridge. It was quite bizarre really as they all seemed to be going towards Burwell and not one fish going the other way. Anyway, Percy insisted we fished and fair enough after about an hour he lamps in to a decent fish, Gary was next and then me catching Roach around the 10 oz mark. The Lode is quite shallow and with it being clear bites were few and far between but when you had one there was no mistake and we were all making up decent catches – well for us anyway. Then all of a sudden Percy got up and walked down the flood bank, hopped over a little dyke(ditch) and in to a field of potatoes. He crouched down, so I thought I had better not look as I thought he was going to the toilet. This was however not the case. Percy yelled out “Look, Looook” “what the hell are you doing,” I yelled. There was our Greengrass(as he was sometimes known), kneeling holding a big bunch of carrots and scrambling around in the potato field putting new spuds in his jacket pocket. “Percy put them back,” I yelled. He just replied “They go lovely with Roast |Lamb, son” which I had to admit is true. As usual, not content with just the odd root Percy was going for it, just like one of those old Looney tune cartoons with Bugs Bunny in it. You know, things flying everywhere in the field. Then out of nowhere came this terrific noise, we all ducked, Percy fell to the ground. The noise was absolutely deafening, it was the Red Arrows and we were on their flight path. I could see the pilots, the planes were so low. “Percy, come out of the field quick” I yelled. “Don’t worry son” he replied, look the farmer will never know. There he was taking the potatoes off the roots, lovely little white things and putting them in to his pocket. He was then placing the plant back where it came form. He genuinely believed they would continue to grow, what a nightmare. We did not hang about and were back home by 12pm. The fresh veg were lovely, I did wonder though whether after a few days the farmer thought his crop had got blight when the odd one turned yellow because our Percy had been at them. Oh well, I have confessed now. I don’t think I’ll be dawn raiding somehow as I say I have gone all-respectable.