Thursday, May 25, 2017

Breakdown, Recovery plus Scouts and Guides



Hello everybody, here goes with another thousand words of guff,

But first an appeal.

We all see them. Sitting silently with pleading eyes in all weathers at the entrance to shops. Shabbily dressed, pleading, desperate for offerings. We all pass them by, quickening our step or averting our gaze. A silent minority whose plight we all seek to ignore.



This bank holiday weekend spare a thought for the AA salesmen, whether outside your local supermarket or in the foyer of the motorway services. Stop when they hail you and show some compassion and feign interest in their plight.

The Big Issue gets all the heat when it comes to rattling a cup at Joe Public but spare a thought for Roadside assistance packages and Free Onward Travel.

AA street salesmen, the forgotten few.

Well that's the appeal box ticked to preserve the charitable status of the house, so on to the fishing.

Mayfly is in full swing and last evening while prone in a bath I was joined by a hundred voyeuristic mayfly who danced outside the window throughout my ablutions. There have already been some good falls of spent and fish rise to both dunns and spinners from early afternoon on. Most beats are booked and guides and scouts parade up and down Stockbridge High street persuading their clients that this Mayfly fishing is a damned difficult business. It's a perennial four week festival of dry fly fishing on a chalk river at its sparkling best and on some beats more fish will be caught in one week in May than throughout the whole of August. Last week we had two inches of rain which freshened things up a bit, but the lift in water a few days after the rain fell that is indicative of aquifer replenishment never came and all of what fell was claimed by the top layer of soil and its plants and vegetation, but it was a start and two inches of rain a week from now until the end of June should have an impact.

So fingers crossed for the weather forecast,

News just in from Mr Schaffenacker, dry for a while,

As you were everyone.

Popped up to the Carron to flick a fly at Salmon for a few days last week. You may think it's a long way to go for two days fishing, but it is a very special bit of river and one that I could never afford to fish on my own fishing budget so it is always a very welcome invitation. There is a house, a merry band of four rods willing to share and Margaret the Magnificent comes to cook each evening (scallops the size of your hand with a ring of black pudding atop - now that's a starter!).

There wasn't much water this year, the two inches that we had at home missed the north of Scotland, and fish were holed up in pots and gullies, clearly visible from above as they stuck two fins up to even the most carefully presented Black Francis.
I was woken each morning by nothing more than a cuckoo outside the window and the occasional bleat of a sheep. No fish were caught but a tremendous trip all the same. Thank you once again for having me.



On the way home I purchased the necessary gifts for the ever officious security team at the airport that serves as a gateway to the Highlands and Islands (they never send a thank you card, even for the 110ml of shampoo I handed over last year) and returned home.

Where Madam had kindly held the fort and undertaken every dog walk and other associated outdoor tasks in torrents of rain

The grass has grown a lot and all trees bar the Mulberry and Ash (many of which are not in the best of health) are in full leaf, rain has caused bank side willows to nod a little towards the river making a few of those lies that were called out as "far to easy" at the fishing lunch in April a little more tricky. I won't be cutting much weed on either the Dever or Itchen in June, although it may be a different story in July. I have yet to see a brood of duck which seems quite late, although several are sitting and today I saw my first snake of the year, taking a siesta in the early afternoon sun after feasting on frogs in the flight pond.



I was also invited up to the top of the Avon for an afternoon. Always a fun trip there were many mayfly, much weed and I caught fish off the top in a river that was short of water and a little more murky than one would normally expect.





And then we woke one morning to the madness in Manchester.

It's a tremendous city, and one which I frequented many times in my youth, drawn with friends to the fleshpots of Affleck's Palace off Oldham St and its ready supply of ripped 501's and fancy shoes and jackets, yes I was quite the thing once, what with the ear ring positively piratical.

I am the father of a young man aged twenty two and young woman of twenty four who are on the cusp of embarking on the adventure that is the oft complicated but ultimately rich soup of life.

What drives another young person of similar age to plan and commit such an act is beyond my comprehension,

There is evil afoot.

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