Friday, April 3, 2015

Picasso, Admiral of the Fleet, does Yoga

Another dry week, and the river drops a little lower, there are a few too many tree roots on show in the margins for my liking at this time of year.

Please rain sometime soon.

I have heard several keepers of long standing express this view in recent weeks,

It's not just me, so I won't go on.

Well perhaps I will.

If winters like we have just had are now considered the norm and we continue our unsustainable method of pulling water out of the ground and sending it all away to sea, I predict the use by date for fishing this stretch of river will be sometime next century, when all that will remain is a spring ditch that flows after an occasional wet winter.

Pauses to prick finger and write Dever for Forever in blood on a piece of chalk before rummaging for old Madonna CD

Further musical analogy follows:

Aaaayyypril, come she will, when streams are ripe and swelled with rain.

Nope, sorry Art, your theory on flat rabbits may still be relevant, but this statement no longer applies.

Things are beginning to wake up, Yellow flags have cracked the surface of the water and now stand at six inches, while the inky black flowers of sedge in the fringe contrast with the elegantly curled leaves that give echoes of a fascinator atop a Judy at the rails taking in the Grand National.

The scorched earth policy continues and more reed beds have been burned, at one point I nearly reduced my chainsaw hat to a blob of melted plastic as I absent mindedly abandoned it in the track of a fast moving flames urged on by the merest zephyr.

And at this point we can report that the Merlin, that continues its sorcery about the parish, is currently capable of 35mph at low level flight. It appears, as if by magic, from the neighbouring hedge and flits up the road fifteen feet in front of the bumper, for what appears to be kicks alone, and while we're on cars, our mechanical marvel from the Bavarian motor company that caused such financial consternation earlier this year has been taken from us. We were visited (and while there may be some room for manoeuvre with regard to the actualite in much of this guff, this is as straight as Nelson and indeed his column) by an Italian skydiver from Basingstoke. The test drive was all that you would expect from an Italian who goes about his business accelerating at nine point eight meters per second squared, but he was good fun and his partner had won many medals in falling through the sky competitions. He didn't go a lot on Basingstoke, bar the opportunity to pick some five star Porcini mushrooms that the locals didn't seem too fussed about. He bought the car, was good fun and gave us several tips on tasks to undertake during our impending trip to Bologna.

And so with our fleet reduced to two, and yes I do don the tricorn hat of the Admiralty, particularly when MOTs and Tax hove into view on the horizon, we were left with Child B's ten year old Punto to potter about in, as he was away in Copenhagen looking at roads and buildings (finally some value for University fees) which focused the mind a little,

The ten year old Punto, not Child B's sojourn in the land of the midnight pastry.

Unbeknown to me, Madam had conducted extensive research into our next mode of transport and had identified the car that we should purchase next. More of the same apparently, and bugger the impracticality as an angling vehicle: it's fast, comfortable, economical and has a solid feel that she enjoys.

At which point I sighed and recognised a fait accompli when presented, and briefly pondered her use of the phrase "solid feel that she enjoys" but accepted the fact that the payback for driving a Citroen Picasso brim full of fishing tackle and bait to a river in mid Spain continues. We emerged at either end of our odyssey like the bones of Richard the third when they last held flesh and may well have uttered an exhortation for a horse,

The Picasso went at the end of that trip, but for an entirely different reason.

Making our way out of Spain we stopped at a garage to refuel, as I delivered the gas Madam visited the kiosk to hand over our zobs. Five miles up the road and approaching the border, Madam enquired as to why I had only put five zobs worth of petrol into the car, to which I replied that I hadn't, the tank was full and would see us some way past the Millau viaduct. As gun toting border control guards beckoned the penny dropped that we were the unwitting perpetrators of a fuel heist. Madam had got her dos and tres mixed up, a week fishing on the Ebro had led to her carrying the air of a biker moll and the kiosk clippy had assumed she was the pillion passenger of the scooter being refilled at the neighbouring pump.

We sweated our way across the border, then hightailed it across France and under the channel to home, where the Picasso was on ebay within a week, lest Interpol make enquiries.

At which point I'd like to balance this guff out with some positives on the Picasso. The chap who lives next door to my parents drives for a living and obviously looks after his, because here's a short film of his Diesel Picasso passing half a million miles:

Top effort, and practical as it was, I don't think I could suffer the stabbing pain in my left buttock that only ever occurred when I drove our Picasso, but that may well be down to the curve of my booty and nowt to do with the car.

Which brings us to comfort, which I am now told (and beginning to understand) is important. I have been fortunate enough to drive some very nice cars owned by my employer. I have driven for five hours in the early hours to Southport with a flatulent greyhound in the boot and emerged refreshed and full of vim, ready for all that the day may hold. By contrast I have popped to the shops in some models that we owned when money was tight (it still is, by the way) and hobbled to the till.

Comfort counts.

This all seems to be turning into a pitch for Clarkson's shoes, but to get to the point, Madam's point that comfort counts, sits well at the moment. The German thing was comfortable, half a day driving in any direction (often the wrong) was enjoyable, we took it to many corners of the continent and never had a doubt that we would get there or be in a crippled condition and no state to enjoy our new environs. No it wasn't so bad, it just didn't do fishing rods well, but hey ho!

Last week saw us braving the perils of the M25 in a squeaky Punto to parley with men of Kent over a similar motor. They had many many autos, a car supermarket I think they call it, and the deal was done in a day. Madam assures me that it will be just like the last one, bar the bills, but I'm not so sure, half way home it started talking to my mobile phone and outside the house it was intimate with Madam's phone. Chuck a tablet in the bag, and a cabal has been formed through the power of blue teeth that far outweighs the human input of clutch, brake and gear change operation. Some mats and some pots for growing herbs indoors on window sills have now turned up, it appears the car is ordering it's own accessories at Amazon.

It's clever stuff and baby steps towards driverless cars and I really like driving the thing, but issues remain over the carriage of fishing rods, so today a roof box and bars have been purloined to replace the roof box that is currently employed as a toboggan. The box is big enough to take a two piece carp rod and a fair amount of bait and has the added advantage of delivering an angler to a swim at a significant rate of knots,

Yes, with a little tweaking we can make this thing fit for fishing.

Just delivered Vino and the requested provender to Madam on the sofa and caught the warning on a TV show from across the pond that the following programme may contain scenes of an emotional nature,

emotional nature?

Violent and sexual, ok, you pays your money you takes your choice, but emotional?


emote away

I'd prefer to be warned of the anodyne if I'm honest.

The annual fishing lunch took place last week, which was a surprise because haven't we just had Christmas? Some crank posed the preposterous proposal that this year was 2015, a little too much "back to the Future" thought I, as it is only three years since the new millennium began, and if it was 2015 this would be the 29th year I have been winging this gig.

I humoured him of course, and peppered our conversation with oblique reference to Delorean cars and Michael J Fox. The queer looks he shot me, confirmed that he is clearly on the slide.

2015 indeed

If we examine this a little further, scripture from the 1970s tells us that in the year 2015 we will all be pulling on hover shoes and cars will have little wings, and no wheels (Bleep & Booster Blue Peter Annual 1974) although the premise that cars will be placing orders on Amazon receives no mention and the exhortation to produce a home made interweb via tin cans and bits of string comes over a little clunky, but the germ of the idea is clearly there.

Once again, 2015 indeed....Ha!

Anyway, returning to the REAL world, and important matters such as fishing, early season sport should be good. We have a river full of fish, hawthorn hatches should be reasonable after a winter of dry meadows, and plenty of mayfly got back on to the water last year to lay their eggs for this year's fly fishing fiesta.

Last week we went to church, no epiphany but a memorial service for one fat lady. The Church was St Brides just off Fleet St and the choir were the best I have ever heard. They are a professional bunch and conduct lunchtime recitals, to which I may drag madam one day. Particular highlights included a fantastic version of Boney M's Rasputin and a rendition of Verdi's Libiamo that sent many a neck hair erect. It was a great turn out, and we can report that Tim Wonnacot is currently a spectacular shade of orange although this may have something to do with a Strictly Come Dancing live tour. The uplifting mood was tempered however by the behaviour of Central London motorists who were rude, aggressive and a little too fond of the horn for this countryside cruiser. Emails were fired off to a big noise at Transport for London, in which the experience was likened to the lawless streets of Naples which we negotiated a few years back, although following one parp on a horn, mid Strand, I found myself shrugging my shoulders and uttering "Excuses je sui Anglais" a phrase I have proffered to a fellow motorist many times on the Peripherique.

Expect change soon, the emails were well worded and hard hitting, watch this space and the streets of central London.

With the mystical age of forty seven, now a reality, it has been pointed out that I occasionally talk in tongues,

Involuntarily and often inopportune, but tongues nonetheless.

A series of medical investigations and extensive research on the internet confirm that I have either early onset of Taurettes, something that can only be fixed with expensive juju wood, or a small spot in my lower back that makes me cry "Oh bugger" every time it is agitated.

An observation was made that I no longer glide across the ground in the manner that I used to in my twenties and at one stage the words stoop and stomp may have beeen used, so we have plumped for the small spot theory. Madam also gets a few knot spots in her upper back and during one of our, "we are not as young as we used to be and here is a list of our ailments" diatribes to Child A, she put us onto a Yoga App that she uses.

Now I remember the Beatles promoting this kind of caper sometime around the release of Rubber Soul, and at this point I'd like to remind all present that I fly in the face of Tofu and scoff at all chakras, but a week of subtle stretching that serves as gentle exercise has freed me up as would a prune to a recalcitrant colon. Ok, the leotard chafes a tad and the pan pipes and cowbells backing track grates a little, but the upside of being able to get down to clean out the woodburner without blurting out an "Oh bugger" is fair recompense.

My name is Chris de Cani and I am currently a Yogaist,

There I said it..........I'll give it a week, tops.

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