Saturday, 3 September 2016

A Spoke In The Wheel Of Time.

Watched a few episodes of Rod and Line on Youtube. It is an old television series with Michael Hordern which uses a fishing guide book(Some might say the fishing guide book.) by Arthur Ransome as its point of reference. It is something of an ode, lovingly rendered to the melancholy joy of a sleepy England. To watch minnows break the surface of a fast running but gently bubbling brook as they break the surface to pick at flies or a determined fisherman escaping the wear and tear of the daily grind to maybe trick a fish from the water. It is warmly narrated by Michael Hordern who literally gets his feet wet by bringing to life the words and advice of Arthur Ransome. Hordern's wonderfully humane face is so expressive and engaging as he shares Ransome's words and insights with us. He is obviously an accomplished fisherman in his own right and brings a quiet but authoritative voice to the proceedings.
            While watching it I felt my soul go to a quieter more contemplative region. For at least the length of the short episodes and the return journey is almost as pleasant. a rest for the soul from the random unpleasantness of a world that makes one feel increasingly misanthropic as it seems to make less sense daily.
              Mind you it could be that my mind has been tricked into watching it for very different reasons. I remember watching Oh Whistle And I'll Come To You by MR James as adapted by Jonathan Miller in his 1968 black and white version for the BBC. It was magnificent and one of the scariest things I have ever seen. The memory of it haunted me for years. In that version it is also Michael Hordern who plays the dusty antiquarian Professor Parkin who strays way outside his comfort zone to confront phenomenon his rational mind is unable to cope with. He even appears to be wearing the same clothes in both shows as he tramps around the English countryside and wind swept coast. I think on some level I believed the fisherman in Rod And Line is the Professor from that MR James ghost story. As if this is what he did when he was not confronting supernatural entities with faces of crumpled linen.