Sunday, November 18, 2012

Get a grip Dave!

More mire for the BBC to beat its brow over as Dave Arch suffers a dodgy orchestral performance at Wembley, particularly during Denise’s Charleston. Will Bruce be issuing an apology after next week’s dance number two as opposed to the usual eulogy to the ear muffled maestro?

Fishing on the Frome was fun. A substantial stretch just below Dorchester and a little larger than the Dever, it was dropping after rain three days prior and had just about got itself back within its banks. Trotted maggot accounted for sixteen grayling including a fish 47cm long that I estimated to weigh around two and a half pounds.

Even the smallest fish gave considerable battle on a stick float fished on two and a bit pound line and the big fish tail walked twice before succumbing to the net; hook a big grayling on the Dever and they are more inclined to chug around on the bottom . My host hooked a six pound salmon on double maggot on a size eighteen hook that leapt twice before throwing the hook quashing the myth that salmon do not feed in fresh water, the water was coloured and I can’t imagine that a red and white maggot drifting slowly by would invoke Salmo Salar’s aggressive instincts. I picked up a couple of trout, but grayling predominate and it would be no surprise if a British record fish is caught from this river this year or next.

The Water Framework Directive meeting was interesting, well presented and informative. Further meetings/summits are promised from various parties over the coming months and for one not used to sitting down indoor under electric light for any length of time, I can feel a serious case of “meeting fatigue” coming on.
In essence, previous surveys conducted in the name of the WFD have deemed the Test and Itchen to be in a “failing state” reports will be issued to relevant parties as to the work that is required to bring the rivers up to an “improving state” in the coming months. Compliance is currently voluntary, and the whole shemozzle relies heavily on keepers and riparian owners buying into the idea. In terms of Fishery Management, there are some very sound principles proposed, with a dusting of the daft, “black and white” thinking that needs to be a little more grey, although not fifty shades, and to use current parliamentary parlance, those who walk each bend of the chalkstreams each and every day in the name of riverkeeping are still viewed in some quarters as “a bunch of plebs” whose opinion counts for nought. The Directive is EU derived, and fines are promised to those countries who have not reached the required standard by 2015, but it remains to be seen how the failing economies of the southern EU meet the criteria of the Directive when their coffers contain five eighths of f*** a**.

The Lanes around here are regularly clogged with those seeking to have their photo taken hugging an Ash tree before the lot are wiped out by Christmas, and my mate Ash continues to lament the fact that little concern was shown over his fungal infected feet that he has had to bear for several years, and will not now meet the medico for fear of being prescribed a course of burning at the stake.
We now have a couple of baskets of eggs in the hatching troughs, a little later than most years and the fish in the river have started kicking up their redds. Invasion by Swans is imminent and thirty plus make forays upstream from the common, causing consternation amongst the Indian Runners who had claimed this domain as their own.
On the Itchen, some large Grayling have been taken from the top pool on some super fast sinking nymphs that may also have drawn the eye of a few Salmon that also currently reside in the pool.

The week was finished at Cheltenham with the Countryside race day the warm up to Saturday’s Paddy Power Gold Cup. For several years we took Greyhounds and run them behind a lure on the finishing straight around lunchtime as one of many pre race country sport demonstrations. The long wet grass sometimes caused problems and on more than one occasion I was reduced to chasing a Greyhound with a lure in its mouth trailing a hundred yards of string back down the straight in front of a cast of thousands, while my employer tried to explain where it had all gone wrong from the commentary box high in the stand. For the past few years a parade of hounds and other demonstrations has sufficed

Friday saw clouds on Cleeve Hill and drizzle on the wind. Racing seems to be fairly recession proof as a large crowd turned out for a Friday afternoon over the jumps. Two races in, neither of the horses that I backed finished as the going proved to be quite heavy, the second ridden by teak tough Tony McCoy who was recently kicked in the face by one of his steeds receiving thirty stitches in his fizz and a touch of plastic surgery, the very next day he rode two winners.

At the height of the cold war there was a myth that if the bomb ever went off, from the resulting rubble and dust the indestructible Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones would rise to exclaim:

“I saw the lights and I thought we were on”

to the list of indestructible survivors I would add my wobbly Spaniel who would wobble from the fall out held on a lead by Tony McCoy.

Before the start of the third race I was standing next to the parade ring taking in the next lot of horses and earwigging an interesting debate between a man and his wife over bets placed on the next race. Sir had been dispatched to the Tote to place Madam's bets, drink had been taken on board and during the short walk from parade ring to bookie he completely forgot his beloved's selection. The money was placed on the wrong horse and five minutes before the start of the race she was berating him for his uselessnes.

In a triumph for drunken blundering a tense race ensued in which the horse that the husband had mistakenly chosen beat his wife's initial selection by a head.

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