Thursday, 8 March 2012

Member Profile John Darwood

By John

I’m a refugee from the war, the Cod War that is. I came down here from Grimsby in 1985. At that time, before limits were imposed Grimsby was the fishing capital of England. Now its all frozen food.

I was born on August the 9th1952 in Cleethorpes a place called the Croft Baker Maternity Hospital. Not that I remember much about it. In fact it was not until 20 years later that I visited it when my niece was born there. It was a beautiful old place, individual oak panelled rooms and attention to detail, a far cry from today’s conveyor belt Hospitals.

We lived in Grimsby for a while and then moved to a small village called Ulceby.

Over the next few years I worked for my Father and we built 50 or so Houses. I married the present Mrs Darwood in 1971 and we had two boys.

By the time I was 33 my back had given in and I was told to give up bricklaying or risk being in a wheelchair, no contest really.

I retrained by being chosen for a 12month fulltime Clerk of Works course which entailed lodging in Doncaster.

About this time I had built my first little goldfish pond so the seed was set.

After qualifying as a Clerk of Works I just came further South with every interview before being offered a post with 3 Rivers District Council in Rickmansworth.

Initially we were to buy a place at Tring but that fell through and we ended up at Abbots Langley near Watford.

A surveyors Job came up and I was lucky enough to get it so it was back to college again for another qualification.

Time passed by kids got married, the youngest went to university and all of a sudden I had a bit of time and money

In 1999 I built a conservatory and thought it would be nice to hear the sound of running water in there. I installed a small freestanding Fibreglass pond and built a small rock face and waterfall, inevitably a few small Koi were introduced and they grew!!!!!

The plan was coming together, I convinced my wife Val they would need somewhere bigger and built an 8x4x4 lined plywood box, which served for another couple of years.

Eventually I decided if I was going to do it as a proper hobby I had better learn to do it properly.

I joined the BKKS and bought the Interpret Encyclopedia of Koi, and then found out about the old Chiltern Koi Club.

I joined them in December 2001 and spent a lot of time just listening, visiting other ponds and gaining a bit of knowledge and experience.

I set the pond out with a hose like everyone says, but the trick is tell the wife you will build inside the hose and then do it on the outside!!!!!!

I got the digger in July 2001 the pond was a 225 mm hollow block construction filled with concrete. Being in the trade none of this was a problem and I was ready to have it fibreglassed in September 02, ( I wasn’t rushing)

The filter house was constructed in September 02 and the Filters installed in December of that year.

The pond was finally filled in April 03, 6500gallons which is inclusive of 1000 gallons in the filters.

Equipment comprises 2 Midi Vortexes, 2, 3 bay midi filters all supplied by Paragon Plastics, (John Bulkley) . There are 2 bottom drains 100mm , 2 Sequence 750 pumps, surface skimmer with Oase 10,000 pump 2, 55 wattUVs 2 Secoh air pumps.

The filter materials are brushes in Bay 1 Kaldnes in Bay2 and Jap Matt in 3.

The fish have been added over the years starting with

Bill McGurk at Tewin

Malcolm Green at Koi Water Garden

Steve at Avenue Fisheries

And M&J Koi in Scunthorpe

In March 2009 I featured as the pond of the month in the 10th anniversary issue of Koi Magazine.

That about it really, during my time at Chiltern I served as Vice Chairman, and Treasurer, With Kangei I hope to take more of a back seat role, officially that is.

I am always available for Pond Visits etc and if I can be of any help to anyone please feel free.

See you at the next meeting!



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