Stop - Unplug - Escape - Enjoy Stop - Unplug - Escape - Enjoy

Fennel’s JournalA Waterside Year

In A Waterside Year, lifestyle author Fennel Hudson takes time out to live beside a lake in rural England. Here he appreciates the healing qualities of water, studies the wildlife around him, lives at the pace of someone outside of normal daily life, and discovers the freedom that’s found in isolation. Getting so close to Nature, living and eating simply, doing some fishing, and generally spending time in idle fashion, enables him to discover a stronger sense of self. Ultimately he learns that freedom is not a place, but something that exists within us.

  • Contents

    Chapters

    1. Preface – A life by water.
    2. A Lake with a Purpose – Fennel explains the healing properties of water.
    3. Plumbing the Depths – Fennel rediscovers the map of a local pond.
    4. This Lake in Winter – Fennel introduces us to a special lake. Read sample chapter.
    5. A Lakeside Camp – Fennel sets up camp for the year. Read sample chapter.
    6. Marshes – An abundance of life, amongst the rushes.
    7. Water Craft – Making things beside the lake.
    8. Waterside Living – Quality of life, outside of time.
    9. The Wildlife of a Pond – Warmer weather brings the lake to life.
    10. Night of the Silver Rain – Fennel writes by moonlight.
    11. Invited Guests – The company of others.
    12. Back to the Future – Anglers arrive at the lake.
    13. Canehenge – Fennel imagines a lake for traditional anglers.
    14. Afloat in a Punt – A new perspective of a familiar scene. Read sample chapter.
    15. The Last Carp of Summer – Fennel fishes for pleasure.
    16. The MacFennel Challenge – Hunting, fishing, foraging.
    17. Woodland – Life above, and below.
    18. A Gift of Life – Fennel says thanks to his host.
    19. Freedom Within – Freedom is not a place, but rather a state of mind.
    20. Home from Home – Home really is 'where the heart is'.
    21. The Cottage Pool – Fennel remembers his favourite childhood lake.
    22. The Lake Within – Sustaining the vibrancy of life.

    Publication details

    Published by Fennel’s Priory Limited. Global book distribution by Ingram.

    • First shared as handwritten letters in 2007
    • Limited edition collectors' magazine published in 2012
    • Abridged eBook published in 2013
    • Extended version in hardback and paperback published in 2017
    • Audiobook published in 2018

    Copyright © Fennel Hudson 2007, 2017

    • Hardback ISBN 978-1-909947-06-1
    • Paperback ISBN 978-1-909947-07-8
    • eBook ISBN 978-1-909947-05-4
    • Kindle ISBN 978-1-909947-04-7
    • Audiobook download ISBN 978-1-909947-96-2
    • Audiobook CD ISBN 978-1-909947-97-9

    A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.


     

  • Commentary

    Fennel's Commentary

    A Waterside Year documents my adventures in 2007, a year when I spent the spring, summer and autumn months living beside a lake in rural Worcestershire. While 2006 described the new life I was building, I found that although the pieces were in place around me, my inner strength was paper thin. I needed 'time out' to think carefully about who I am and why I'm here.

    A 'home-working' job (and a tolerant fiancée) gave me the freedom to spend almost a year living in a tent, high up in the woods overlooking a lake. I wasn't totally isolated (Mrs H-to-be still visited and I had to go to work every now and then, plus I had a Saturday job on a local farm) but it was enough to give me the space and thinking time to 'get my head straight'.

    I explored the lake and surrounding woods and fields, enjoying the freedom to be found in isolation. I studied the nature around me and savoured the slow and relaxed lifestyle that can be achieved outside of the pace of normal daily life. The result was a book that represents a 'balanced' view of a year in the countryside. It discusses many things but, as you'd expect, revolves around the lake, traditional angling, and the seasons.

    Like A Meaningful Life, A Waterside Year is a nature study, but also a study of human nature. Mrs H-to-be granted me the temporary freedom to pursue my dream of escapism in Nature, to rediscover my roots and gain an intimate understanding of the wildlife around me. Getting this close to Nature, living and eating simply, doing some fishing and generally spending time in idle fashion while putting the world to rights, was something I needed to do to properly find myself.

    Searching for nature outside led me to discover so much more within. The adventure drew me to the conclusion that spending so much time away from home, my garden and the people I loved (albeit at a very beautiful place), only made me yearn to be home, with my new wife and with all my sentimental things and comforts around me.

    A Waterside Year touches upon themes discussed in more detail in later journals. It hints at the differences in angling – between modern and traditional anglers – setting the scene for Wild Carp and Traditional Angling, but it's not a fishing book, at least not in the conventional sense. It's a lifestyle journal that highlights the beauty and value of time spent beside water, and the importance of having interests that complement a normal, balanced, and contented home life.

    For me, this life is one spent with Mrs H in a cottage in the countryside, where hollyhocks bloom beside the kitchen window and a river meanders through a water meadow near to our home. It would be a quiet life, with many hours spent writing, as I did in my tent beside the lake in 2007.


     

  • Quotes

    Favourite Quote

    "Water is intrinsically linked to the mystery and excitement of discovering new worlds. Of dreams. And hopes. And thoughts of what ‘could be’. Dreams free us from normality. ...As the daydreams grew longer, the distinction between what was real and what was imaginary grew less. Soon I existed in a blissful world of my own creation. Reality, as I learned, is only a matter of perception...A life that is real to one is surreal to another."

    • Fennel Hudson, A Waterside Year, Fennel's Journal No. 2

    Other Quotes

    About freedom:

    "Freedom is not a place. It’s a state of mind. If you have burning desire to be free (as I have) you must first find this freedom within you. And to be free in this manner, you have to be comfortable with who and what you are."

    "It’s not possible to run away from yourself. Unless, of course, you’re schizophrenic and can take holidays outside your mind."

    "I am not at work, or at the supermarket, or waiting for a bus (metaphorically or otherwise). I am free."

    "A man can never be truly free when he knows that he is neglecting his duties elsewhere."

    • Fennel Hudson, A Waterside Year, Fennel's Journal No. 2

    About escapism:

    "There are times in one’s life when it is best to stay hidden from view, moments that should not be disturbed, else the magic is lost."

    "I’ve indulged all my escapist dreams. I’m here, away from everyone, living it up. Being a selfish and antisocial git."

    "As the daydreams grew longer, the distinction between what was real and what was imaginary grew less. Soon I existed in a blissful world of my own creation."

    "Doing nothing can be as rewarding as doing something. And doing very little can be as productive, in a creative sense, as doing a lot."

    • Fennel Hudson, A Waterside Year, Fennel's Journal No. 2

    About dreams:

    "In the dream world, anything is possible. It requires a fertile imagination, and a desire to explore the half-light between the known and the unknown...As with writing by candlelight, one’s greatest ideas come from ‘the flickering’ between darkness and light."

    "Dreams free us from normality. Daydreams, especially, take us somewhere between the real world and the dream world."

    "I keep on dreaming, but to find freedom, one must first search inwards. You’ll never find yourself anywhere other than where you are right now."

    "Freedom within is embodied in things as well as people. Like coins tossed into a wishing well, they contain our hopes and dreams."

    • Fennel Hudson, A Waterside Year, Fennel's Journal No. 2

    About reality:

    "Reality is just a matter of perception."

    "The degree to which we notice the obvious or the subtle, and the angle of light that we see falling upon it, depends upon how closely we look and the time we spend studying."

    "Touching, smelling, hearing, tasting and feeling something creates greater understanding. It’s this understanding that fascinates me."

    "It’s not always best to know what’s going on beneath the surface."

    • Fennel Hudson, A Waterside Year, Fennel's Journal No. 2

    About identity:

    "I spent too many years of my life living as someone else. Trying to be something I’m not. It resulted in darkness and confusion, where I couldn’t remember my own name."

    "There’s merit in being different, inspiration in being individual, courage in being unique, and freedom in being yourself."

    • Fennel Hudson, A Waterside Year, Fennel's Journal No. 2

    About writing and creativity:

    "I write into an old book that smells of dust and whose pages are floppy with damp. Sometimes the ink splodges onto the paper, other times it will barely leave the nib of my pen. Rarely will I write indoors, even if it means getting wet during rain, or my hands numb in winter."

    "I’m delighted to be out in the open air, hearing this fountain pen scratch across the page at an inspired speed."

    "The greatest moments of creativity come in absolute solitude, when one’s mind is free from distraction and able to probe the depths of the impossible."

    "Too many conflicting views create a mesh of complexity that cocoons the original, brilliant, simple idea. Every layer of complexity creates greater distance from life’s simple truths. My time in the wilds has given me the opportunity to get my head decidedly unstraight. I now know that individuality and creativity are slowly dampened by a normal job with normal people."

    • Fennel Hudson, A Waterside Year, Fennel's Journal No. 2

    About lifestyle:

    "Life, as I see it, wraps around us, even when we think we are firmly embracing it."

    "Reality is in the ether, a blend of present-day experiences infused with one’s memories and dreams. A life that is real to one is surreal to another."

    "Sounds simple, doesn’t it, this notion of simplicity? Simple things done simply by a simple person. But it’s not as simple as it seems."

    • Fennel Hudson, A Waterside Year, Fennel's Journal No. 2

    About work-life balance:

    "I was driven by a desire for change, to not end up in the same lifeless situation as before, where a request to give a sample of blood would become a dinner date with the corporate vampire. I needed to find a place where I could enjoy my spare time and live without the gnawing reality of compromise. I would seek out a lake, spend time by water, and wash away the anxieties and frustrations of working in a corporate world where I didn’t belong."

    "Leaving the rat race is easy. All you have to do is quit your job, sell your house, and go and live in a tent in the middle of nowhere. It’s staying out of the rat race that’s tricky."

    • Fennel Hudson, A Waterside Year, Fennel's Journal No. 2

    About time:

    "Time is not something to be killed. Doing so suffocates a part of us, writing off part of our life that could, or rather should, be spent doing something meaningful."

    "You can’t kill time, only a part of your soul that would otherwise have been happy."

    "There’s no such thing as ‘not enough time’ out here in the woods. I don’t even have a watch. Time is my own, categorised as nothing more than ‘morning, afternoon, evening and night’."

    "I lived free from the hands of a watch, spending my days and nights in idle fashion. I was able to live harmoniously alongside the animals, fishes, birds, and plants of the lake and woods. I didn’t so much study them, as co-exist with them."

    "Time isn’t important. I’m enjoying a spontaneous moment that has no purpose other than to let my body and mind drift in an idle and dreamy state."

    • Fennel Hudson, A Waterside Year, Fennel's Journal No. 2

    About water:

    "Water, it is said, has the power to heal. It can quench a thirst, cleanse a wound and soothe a burn. But its healing properties extend beyond these obvious medical benefits. Water, you see, is magical. "

    "It’s the wonderment of water that makes it so appealing: thoughts of what’s beneath the surface, or out there beyond a watery horizon."

    • Fennel Hudson, A Waterside Year, Fennel's Journal No. 2

    About nature:

    "Life in the wild, as I’m observing, is about survival as much as pleasure."

    "Many people fear the unknown. They busy themselves at motorway speed so to excuse their lack of understanding of the world around them. Through careful observation, and being alert at the right time, we can experience Nature at her best."

    "Nature haters? We know them too well: lifeless creatures created without emotion or aware of anything that is peripheral to their purpose."

    "Throughout history people have gazed at the skies in wonder. You only have to stand at the base of a church steeple to understand why."

    "'Stop and unplug,' say I; 'look around you, at the vastness and greatness of the natural world.' Some stop. Others need binoculars to tie their shoelaces."

    • Fennel Hudson, A Waterside Year, Fennel's Journal No. 2

    About wild camping:

    "My tent doesn’t look like much but, as an estate agent might say, 'It is air-conditioned and has exceptional location'."

    "I’ve felt the toe-flinching terror of finding mice in my sleeping bag; endured the multi-swipe ineffectiveness of damp toilet paper; and the dread of knowing that my tent only remains waterproof for the first twenty minutes of a downpour."

    "I’ve learned from experience that drinking lake water, even when boiled, has an effect on my digestive system similar to the movement of a hangman’s trapdoor."

    "The thought of going camping on nicely level mown grass, with access to a shop, a bar, shower block, toilets, swimming pool and launderette? No. That’s not my style at all. I’d rather camp it out in my back garden."

    "Eight months in the woods have hardened me, or at least firmed up my beliefs that if a man’s going to fend for himself, then he needs to leave his credit card at home."

    • Fennel Hudson, A Waterside Year, Fennel's Journal No. 2

    About traditional angling:

    "The modern scene doesn’t appeal. It’s too urgent, too competitive, too ‘butch’. Instead, I seek something altogether gentler and subtler. There’s no place for competitiveness or urgency in angling. It’s supposed to be a recreation, a switch-off from the grind of daily life."

    "Fishing simply, with split cane rods and antique fishing tackle, is a deliberate, conscious, purposeful decision to steer away from the seedier side of angling...I am a man of the fly and float, of bamboo rods, simple baits and a desire to get as close as possible to the fish I intend to catch. It is this brighter side, the romantic side, the emotional side, that appeals to me."

    • Fennel Hudson, A Waterside Year, Fennel's Journal No. 2

     

  • Testimonials

    Reader Testimonials

    “A year in the wild. How we would all love to follow in Fennel’s stead and indulge our dreams, to come out the other side a stronger and wiser person.”

    “A wonderful and utterly unputdownable read. Well done!”

    “A truly blissful read full of inspiration and humour. That story of Fennel sitting in his tent, with the noises outside, had me laughing out loud.”

    “A Journal with a message – that we should take time out to think about what’s important, and see the beauty of the world.”


     

Chapters

  1. Preface – A life by water.
  2. A Lake with a Purpose – Fennel explains the healing properties of water.
  3. Plumbing the Depths – Fennel rediscovers the map of a local pond.
  4. This Lake in Winter – Fennel introduces us to a special lake. Read sample chapter.
  5. A Lakeside Camp – Fennel sets up camp for the year. Read sample chapter.
  6. Marshes – An abundance of life, amongst the rushes.
  7. Water Craft – Making things beside the lake.
  8. Waterside Living – Quality of life, outside of time.
  9. The Wildlife of a Pond – Warmer weather brings the lake to life.
  10. Night of the Silver Rain – Fennel writes by moonlight.
  11. Invited Guests – The company of others.
  12. Back to the Future – Anglers arrive at the lake.
  13. Canehenge – Fennel imagines a lake for traditional anglers.
  14. Afloat in a Punt – A new perspective of a familiar scene. Read sample chapter.
  15. The Last Carp of Summer – Fennel fishes for pleasure.
  16. The MacFennel Challenge – Hunting, fishing, foraging.
  17. Woodland – Life above, and below.
  18. A Gift of Life – Fennel says thanks to his host.
  19. Freedom Within – Freedom is not a place, but rather a state of mind.
  20. Home from Home – Home really is 'where the heart is'.
  21. The Cottage Pool – Fennel remembers his favourite childhood lake.
  22. The Lake Within – Sustaining the vibrancy of life.

Publication details

Published by Fennel’s Priory Limited. Global book distribution by Ingram.

  • First shared as handwritten letters in 2007
  • Limited edition collectors' magazine published in 2012
  • Abridged eBook published in 2013
  • Extended version in hardback and paperback published in 2017
  • Audiobook published in 2018

Copyright © Fennel Hudson 2007, 2017

  • Hardback ISBN 978-1-909947-06-1
  • Paperback ISBN 978-1-909947-07-8
  • eBook ISBN 978-1-909947-05-4
  • Kindle ISBN 978-1-909947-04-7
  • Audiobook download ISBN 978-1-909947-96-2
  • Audiobook CD ISBN 978-1-909947-97-9

A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.


 

Fennel's Commentary

A Waterside Year documents my adventures in 2007, a year when I spent the spring, summer and autumn months living beside a lake in rural Worcestershire. While 2006 described the new life I was building, I found that although the pieces were in place around me, my inner strength was paper thin. I needed 'time out' to think carefully about who I am and why I'm here.

A 'home-working' job (and a tolerant fiancée) gave me the freedom to spend almost a year living in a tent, high up in the woods overlooking a lake. I wasn't totally isolated (Mrs H-to-be still visited and I had to go to work every now and then, plus I had a Saturday job on a local farm) but it was enough to give me the space and thinking time to 'get my head straight'.

I explored the lake and surrounding woods and fields, enjoying the freedom to be found in isolation. I studied the nature around me and savoured the slow and relaxed lifestyle that can be achieved outside of the pace of normal daily life. The result was a book that represents a 'balanced' view of a year in the countryside. It discusses many things but, as you'd expect, revolves around the lake, traditional angling, and the seasons.

Like A Meaningful Life, A Waterside Year is a nature study, but also a study of human nature. Mrs H-to-be granted me the temporary freedom to pursue my dream of escapism in Nature, to rediscover my roots and gain an intimate understanding of the wildlife around me. Getting this close to Nature, living and eating simply, doing some fishing and generally spending time in idle fashion while putting the world to rights, was something I needed to do to properly find myself.

Searching for nature outside led me to discover so much more within. The adventure drew me to the conclusion that spending so much time away from home, my garden and the people I loved (albeit at a very beautiful place), only made me yearn to be home, with my new wife and with all my sentimental things and comforts around me.

A Waterside Year touches upon themes discussed in more detail in later journals. It hints at the differences in angling – between modern and traditional anglers – setting the scene for Wild Carp and Traditional Angling, but it's not a fishing book, at least not in the conventional sense. It's a lifestyle journal that highlights the beauty and value of time spent beside water, and the importance of having interests that complement a normal, balanced, and contented home life.

For me, this life is one spent with Mrs H in a cottage in the countryside, where hollyhocks bloom beside the kitchen window and a river meanders through a water meadow near to our home. It would be a quiet life, with many hours spent writing, as I did in my tent beside the lake in 2007.


 

Favourite Quote

"Water is intrinsically linked to the mystery and excitement of discovering new worlds. Of dreams. And hopes. And thoughts of what ‘could be’. Dreams free us from normality. ...As the daydreams grew longer, the distinction between what was real and what was imaginary grew less. Soon I existed in a blissful world of my own creation. Reality, as I learned, is only a matter of perception...A life that is real to one is surreal to another."

  • Fennel Hudson, A Waterside Year, Fennel's Journal No. 2

Other Quotes

About freedom:

"Freedom is not a place. It’s a state of mind. If you have burning desire to be free (as I have) you must first find this freedom within you. And to be free in this manner, you have to be comfortable with who and what you are."

"It’s not possible to run away from yourself. Unless, of course, you’re schizophrenic and can take holidays outside your mind."

"I am not at work, or at the supermarket, or waiting for a bus (metaphorically or otherwise). I am free."

"A man can never be truly free when he knows that he is neglecting his duties elsewhere."

  • Fennel Hudson, A Waterside Year, Fennel's Journal No. 2

About escapism:

"There are times in one’s life when it is best to stay hidden from view, moments that should not be disturbed, else the magic is lost."

"I’ve indulged all my escapist dreams. I’m here, away from everyone, living it up. Being a selfish and antisocial git."

"As the daydreams grew longer, the distinction between what was real and what was imaginary grew less. Soon I existed in a blissful world of my own creation."

"Doing nothing can be as rewarding as doing something. And doing very little can be as productive, in a creative sense, as doing a lot."

  • Fennel Hudson, A Waterside Year, Fennel's Journal No. 2

About dreams:

"In the dream world, anything is possible. It requires a fertile imagination, and a desire to explore the half-light between the known and the unknown...As with writing by candlelight, one’s greatest ideas come from ‘the flickering’ between darkness and light."

"Dreams free us from normality. Daydreams, especially, take us somewhere between the real world and the dream world."

"I keep on dreaming, but to find freedom, one must first search inwards. You’ll never find yourself anywhere other than where you are right now."

"Freedom within is embodied in things as well as people. Like coins tossed into a wishing well, they contain our hopes and dreams."

  • Fennel Hudson, A Waterside Year, Fennel's Journal No. 2

About reality:

"Reality is just a matter of perception."

"The degree to which we notice the obvious or the subtle, and the angle of light that we see falling upon it, depends upon how closely we look and the time we spend studying."

"Touching, smelling, hearing, tasting and feeling something creates greater understanding. It’s this understanding that fascinates me."

"It’s not always best to know what’s going on beneath the surface."

  • Fennel Hudson, A Waterside Year, Fennel's Journal No. 2

About identity:

"I spent too many years of my life living as someone else. Trying to be something I’m not. It resulted in darkness and confusion, where I couldn’t remember my own name."

"There’s merit in being different, inspiration in being individual, courage in being unique, and freedom in being yourself."

  • Fennel Hudson, A Waterside Year, Fennel's Journal No. 2

About writing and creativity:

"I write into an old book that smells of dust and whose pages are floppy with damp. Sometimes the ink splodges onto the paper, other times it will barely leave the nib of my pen. Rarely will I write indoors, even if it means getting wet during rain, or my hands numb in winter."

"I’m delighted to be out in the open air, hearing this fountain pen scratch across the page at an inspired speed."

"The greatest moments of creativity come in absolute solitude, when one’s mind is free from distraction and able to probe the depths of the impossible."

"Too many conflicting views create a mesh of complexity that cocoons the original, brilliant, simple idea. Every layer of complexity creates greater distance from life’s simple truths. My time in the wilds has given me the opportunity to get my head decidedly unstraight. I now know that individuality and creativity are slowly dampened by a normal job with normal people."

  • Fennel Hudson, A Waterside Year, Fennel's Journal No. 2

About lifestyle:

"Life, as I see it, wraps around us, even when we think we are firmly embracing it."

"Reality is in the ether, a blend of present-day experiences infused with one’s memories and dreams. A life that is real to one is surreal to another."

"Sounds simple, doesn’t it, this notion of simplicity? Simple things done simply by a simple person. But it’s not as simple as it seems."

  • Fennel Hudson, A Waterside Year, Fennel's Journal No. 2

About work-life balance:

"I was driven by a desire for change, to not end up in the same lifeless situation as before, where a request to give a sample of blood would become a dinner date with the corporate vampire. I needed to find a place where I could enjoy my spare time and live without the gnawing reality of compromise. I would seek out a lake, spend time by water, and wash away the anxieties and frustrations of working in a corporate world where I didn’t belong."

"Leaving the rat race is easy. All you have to do is quit your job, sell your house, and go and live in a tent in the middle of nowhere. It’s staying out of the rat race that’s tricky."

  • Fennel Hudson, A Waterside Year, Fennel's Journal No. 2

About time:

"Time is not something to be killed. Doing so suffocates a part of us, writing off part of our life that could, or rather should, be spent doing something meaningful."

"You can’t kill time, only a part of your soul that would otherwise have been happy."

"There’s no such thing as ‘not enough time’ out here in the woods. I don’t even have a watch. Time is my own, categorised as nothing more than ‘morning, afternoon, evening and night’."

"I lived free from the hands of a watch, spending my days and nights in idle fashion. I was able to live harmoniously alongside the animals, fishes, birds, and plants of the lake and woods. I didn’t so much study them, as co-exist with them."

"Time isn’t important. I’m enjoying a spontaneous moment that has no purpose other than to let my body and mind drift in an idle and dreamy state."

  • Fennel Hudson, A Waterside Year, Fennel's Journal No. 2

About water:

"Water, it is said, has the power to heal. It can quench a thirst, cleanse a wound and soothe a burn. But its healing properties extend beyond these obvious medical benefits. Water, you see, is magical. "

"It’s the wonderment of water that makes it so appealing: thoughts of what’s beneath the surface, or out there beyond a watery horizon."

  • Fennel Hudson, A Waterside Year, Fennel's Journal No. 2

About nature:

"Life in the wild, as I’m observing, is about survival as much as pleasure."

"Many people fear the unknown. They busy themselves at motorway speed so to excuse their lack of understanding of the world around them. Through careful observation, and being alert at the right time, we can experience Nature at her best."

"Nature haters? We know them too well: lifeless creatures created without emotion or aware of anything that is peripheral to their purpose."

"Throughout history people have gazed at the skies in wonder. You only have to stand at the base of a church steeple to understand why."

"'Stop and unplug,' say I; 'look around you, at the vastness and greatness of the natural world.' Some stop. Others need binoculars to tie their shoelaces."

  • Fennel Hudson, A Waterside Year, Fennel's Journal No. 2

About wild camping:

"My tent doesn’t look like much but, as an estate agent might say, 'It is air-conditioned and has exceptional location'."

"I’ve felt the toe-flinching terror of finding mice in my sleeping bag; endured the multi-swipe ineffectiveness of damp toilet paper; and the dread of knowing that my tent only remains waterproof for the first twenty minutes of a downpour."

"I’ve learned from experience that drinking lake water, even when boiled, has an effect on my digestive system similar to the movement of a hangman’s trapdoor."

"The thought of going camping on nicely level mown grass, with access to a shop, a bar, shower block, toilets, swimming pool and launderette? No. That’s not my style at all. I’d rather camp it out in my back garden."

"Eight months in the woods have hardened me, or at least firmed up my beliefs that if a man’s going to fend for himself, then he needs to leave his credit card at home."

  • Fennel Hudson, A Waterside Year, Fennel's Journal No. 2

About traditional angling:

"The modern scene doesn’t appeal. It’s too urgent, too competitive, too ‘butch’. Instead, I seek something altogether gentler and subtler. There’s no place for competitiveness or urgency in angling. It’s supposed to be a recreation, a switch-off from the grind of daily life."

"Fishing simply, with split cane rods and antique fishing tackle, is a deliberate, conscious, purposeful decision to steer away from the seedier side of angling...I am a man of the fly and float, of bamboo rods, simple baits and a desire to get as close as possible to the fish I intend to catch. It is this brighter side, the romantic side, the emotional side, that appeals to me."

  • Fennel Hudson, A Waterside Year, Fennel's Journal No. 2

 

Reader Testimonials

“A year in the wild. How we would all love to follow in Fennel’s stead and indulge our dreams, to come out the other side a stronger and wiser person.”

“A wonderful and utterly unputdownable read. Well done!”

“A truly blissful read full of inspiration and humour. That story of Fennel sitting in his tent, with the noises outside, had me laughing out loud.”

“A Journal with a message – that we should take time out to think about what’s important, and see the beauty of the world.”


 

Explore the Journals

Fennel’s Journal is the heartfelt and entertaining account of one man’s search for an old-fashioned and peaceful rural life. Written by lifestyle author Fennel Hudson, the Journal traces his attempts to balance the pressures of modern living by following the mantra of ‘Stop – Unplug – Escape – Enjoy’.

The Priory, what's in a name?

The Priory is a philosophy and a belief system that says it is possible to balance the ever-growing complexities and pace of modern life. It is also a celebration of wildlife and country living, those things that serve as an antidote to the concrete claustrophobia of towns and cities.

The Priory Philosophy

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