Malcolm Church was born in Turvey, later returning to be a repository of rural recollections. During his interview for Village Voices, he talked about leisure activities in Turvey. As a child in the early 60s, he frequently went out with friends in and around the Great Ouse “We used to spend a lot of time down the river, swimming, fishing.” This could be in Turvey village or along the river at Copy Moor. “It’s the local name for an area which is on the Turvey House Estate” ….. “the river comes across down there in front of the house, and past the boat house, and then a couple of fields later you’ve got a place called Copy Moor.”
Hooks and Lines
He was very resourceful in putting together the means to fish “All my fishing tackle came out of the bushes”. When asked to explain how fishing tackle came to be left along the river, he said “we’d go all along the river getting all the tackle out of the hedges, the lines, hooks, weights. Perhaps if you could find a nice long length of line, you were made up.” Fishermen often sat on one bank, extending their long rods to fish on the other side of the river thus ensuring the fish could not see their shadows on their side. If careless, they could hook a tree or shrub on the other side of the river. He explained that once the hooks were caught, they would “either pull it out and hope it comes, or pull it and break it” thus often leaving their lines, hooks and weights behind to the benefit of Turvey children.
Rods and Bait
He obtained his rod by visiting Turvey Abbey “Well I used to go down the Abbey and pinch some bamboo.” Bait for the fish was very easy at this time because Cristo Crisps were being produced in the Mill on the river. “All the waste used to go straight in the river. All the fat and all the waste, all the burnt bits”. This made the fish fat and happy. As a result “you could catch any fish in this river on a soggy crisp.”