In my mid-teens, I got involved in coarse fishing (see here). I think it was through my brother but I’m not sure. The favorite spot was Bodiam Castle (see here), which has a river running just below it (more like a stream, really). It’s very old but now the experts think it was only a “boutique” or “designer” castle. This is close to Battle, which is close to Hastings.

I’d go on the train to nearby Robertsbridge. We’d fish all day and then sleep in a hop-pickers’ hut. Hop picking (see here) was a very traditional pastime for poor Londoners, a working holiday for many who couldn’t afford to pay for a week in a hotel by the sea or at a holiday camp (see here). Some of my relatives did it but we never did. We didn’t see much of the countryside, so fishing weekends were fun. There would be a campfire in the evening and people would drink and generally relax.

I visited the place again some years ago with mum and dad.

I recently saw a truly awful video from 1970 called Cucumber Castle, starring the Bee Gees and Lulu (married to one of them at the time). At the beginning, they come galloping through the gate of what I’m sure is Bodiam Castle.

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