A warm week and the Mayfly hatches continue with some heavy falls of spinners in the evening. A few spinners have fallen early in the morning giving a brief rise, the fish taking a lengthy siesta before rousing themselves for their evening feast. The weed growth is phenomenal, Water Celery a foot out of the water and Ranunculus in full flower, the water flow, although reduced after the long dry spell, is pushing over the banks due to the dense weed growth.
On a weekend cricketing foray to Woodgreen in the New Forest, we passed over the Avon a mile from the ground. The Ranunculus was up out of the water and flowering as far as I could see downstream.
The dearth of Swallows, Swifts and House Martins continues. There are several large broods of Mallard on the river along with Two tufted Ducks still sitting on clutches of eggs. The Ducklings are feasting on the heavy hatches of fly, as are the Wagtails that momentarily hover as they pluck an ascending fly from the air. I almost trod on a brood of French Partridge as I tramped my way through the wood, the mother refusing to leave her brood as they bumbled their way around my wellies. The current spell of hot dry weather is perfect for rearing chicks, plenty of insect life for food and no heavy rain that can kill a fluffy feathered chick in a matter of minutes.
A similar hot spell a few years ago would have resulted in a particularly amorous couple breaking cover. Always on a Wednesday afternoon, The Army officer who like his comrades was given the midweek afternoon off to do PT opted to put his privates through their paces with a bottle blond beau who also happened to be orange all over. Making themselves comfortable on a bridge with an aptly romantic sobriquet at the top of this beat, a picnic would be laid out, wine would be taken and before long the clothes would come off. I was first introduced to their antics by a rod who stopped me on my way home for lunch after some weedcutting. He informed me that there was a bit of a “Holiday Camp” atmosphere at the top of the beat and would I mind taking a look as it was disturbing his fishing. Unsure as to what to expect I grabbed my dog and set off, still in my waders, up the bank, jumping into the river before the final bend leading up to the bridge to cause the maximum surprise to what I expected to be kids mucking about. I charged around the corner and was stopped in my tracks by the pair, set to partners and galloping their way over the bridge, The Officer cool as you look tactically withdrew and stood to attention to meet my gaze,
Dumbstruck the best I could come up with was,
“I hope you’re not fishing!”
He assured me he wasn’t, my dog found his picnic before he could introduce me to his “wife” and I made my way downstream frantically calling the dog’s name.
They turned up a few more times that summer and although funny at first did become rather tiresome. By chance I bumped into him in Homebase in the winter, not with Lady Marmalade it has to be said and fleetingly he looked please to see me, until grey cells reminded him of where we met last.