on a promise: Riverside Meeting at Paxton


field drawing © Kate Foster

We watched the nets being laid out across the tide, learning that some fish ‘cheat the net’.


field drawing © Kate Foster


What, I wonder is the N for, on the coble’s stern?


field drawing © Kate Foster

N … for Norham? The coble’s fishing port?We talk to a bailiff.

The possibility is raised that it is labelled N because the boat always swings North – just like a magnet.

We talk to the boat owner.

N, for Ned. No, NET.

That’s to say it’s registered to fish, in legal hours


photo © Kate Foster

Another boat arrives, I am excited: we will sail with the falling tide, on brine, to Berwick-upon-Tweed.


field drawing © Kate Foster

I can’t help noticing how big the sheep are, in England.


field drawing © Kate Foster

Sport not Profit, a notice on our vessel remarks. Swans, herons, cormorants. Our youngest crew member is disappointed that nothing pink is visible on the banks.


field drawing © Kate Foster


field drawing © Kate Foster

So many shiels that need saving! Ninety six altogether on the river we are told: some are just a pile of stones though.We also learn about the bridges: the by-pass bridge built in 1885. The concrete cast bridge from 1935. The railway bridge, the longest in its day in 1850 – opened by Queen Victoria. She thereafter closed the curtains in Newcastle as she travelled by (because refreshments at that station made her late for her Berwick bridge appointment).  And a much much older bridge, built by an early King, who was afraid that the tide and wind would prevent his return to London.

We ourselves land, in sunshine and calm seas.

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