[Natural History] - [Sea Angling] - [Wine Making] - [Photography] - [Poetry]

Natural History:

My major interest has always been in natural history and whilst the interest has been broad and encompassing, the main avenue has always resided with invertebrates - those very creepy-crawlies which seem to disgust the majority of the populace. Many children, even today, seem avidly curious about inverts but also seem to carry a transferred disgust which they appear to pick up from their parents by osmosis, and which in most cases seems to be engendered more from ignorance rather than from intelligent thought. For further stories on my natural history work please click here.

Sea Angling:

I started angling (fishing) at about the age of 8 in the Leeds and Liverpool Canal at Maghull, Merseyside but apart from a few roach, perch and very large sticklebacks nothing amazing was ever caught.

The transference over to sea angling came about at approximately age 14 when, as a family, we began camping holidays at Red Wharf Bay in Anglesey. This period of angling started with me casting an eight-ounce weight from a willowy 6-foot fibre-glass spinning rod from the rocks at the head of Red Wharf Bay. A terrible strain on such a rod but it brought me my first successes with plaice, flounder, dab, whiting and mackerel. An excellent start.

On one of the very early holidays, but after I had changed over to a 12 foot beachcaster, we took a friend - Whacker - David Oakes - with us and we hit a time when the mackerel were running close inshore. After being approached by a couple of the other campers on the site we promised to provide fish for a party on the rocks that evening - a very foolish position to get into. At 7:00pm almost the whole camp-site was down on the rocks watching Dave and myself fishing away. Thankfully at about 7:45pm the mackerel shoals began to run about 70 yards out from the rocks. In the next half hour Dave and myself had over 140 mackerel landed. These were gutted and boiled up in an old tin bath under a rock overhang. Crates of beer were brought down from the club and three guitars were magically appeared. A great night with song, fish and beer which went on until the early hours under a glowing moon in the balmy warmth of summer. For further details of my angling exploits please click here.

Wine Making:

I was introduced to home wine-making in the early 1960's when my father (Jim McWilliam) and myself first became interested and attempted to produce wine from some unusual (to us) ingredients. Our first attempts were wine from carrots and from rice. I can certainly remember the Carrot Whisky (as it was called) as we made the mistake of grating the carrots and then seemed to have a mountain of carrot to get rid of after boling it all up - we were eating grated carrot for what seemed like a month. For recipes and further stories on our winemaking please click here.


At one point I did consider photography as a means of earning a living having been interested in the producing of photographic images of natural history subjects from the time the girl I was going out with, Marise Clewes, bought me a 35mm camera for Xmas - a gift which I was not expecting and which reduced me to tears. Having gone through the Mallinson's Home Study course for photographers I eventually decided upon a career in Information Technology and whilst I do not regret the decision it does make me wonder whether I could have made a living in nature photography. For some stories and a few of my pictures please click here.


Poetry has never had a dramatic hold upon me but during times of crisis in my life I have been known to turn to the pen and to outpour my emotional feelings in ragged verse. Most of my poems were produced during late teens, as is true of most people who resort to words to ease the pain of lost loved ones or 'dumping' girl-friends. To see some of my output of angst, sometimes without even a tenuous thread to what was going on at the time, please click here.

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