Three days in from having my jab and I’ve spent the last forty eight hours with a Helen Reddy earworm,
“I am strong, I am invincible, I am womaaaaan”
It kinda fits and to quote another songster from that era
“two out of three ain’t bad”
The twenty four hours following the deed were a tad peculiar but today we find ourselves brim full of pep, vim and vigour.
This Oxford jollup is quite the tonic, I also have hair, the wrinkles around my eyes are definitely in retreat and my times over the hundred metres have come down significantly.
The thing was administered to madam and myself at Basingstoke Fire Station on Sunday afternoon. Questions were posed by navy girl Donna and the thing put in my arm by soldier boy Ezekial. Thank you to everyone who are going to such great lengths to dish this thing out in such a safe and jolly manner.
Up the river the grayling have been getting jiggy all week. Not in the large numbers that we witnessed six or seven years ago but perhaps half a dozen getting together on most shallows in conditions perfect for spawning. Haven’t seen many two pound plus fish, but plenty in the pound to a pound and half bracket. Big senior fish occasionally show up in April on the hatch in front of the house. Exhausted at a great age by the rigors of spawning they often succumb to fungal infections of lesions to the body caused by cutting a redd.
The fishing hut received it’s annual treatment last week.
It is twenty six years old this month and formed from softwood so an annual treatment for such an edifice standing in a damp environment is a must. It’s a high end wood treatment by the people at Cuprinol. It is very watery and may contain alcohol, although people who know about paint and like alcohol, and I’m looking at you here Lord Ludg, may know better. More of a protective stain really, but it seems to work. We’ve used the same stuff for the last twenty six years.
Treatment complete I tentatively reach for the spirit level to ascertain whether the thing remains level. There is no base, its stands on four stilts made from Telegraph poles, the peg tile roof weighs just under a ton and how the thing hasn’t gone on the wonk at some point is a constant source of surprise for me and many others. The site is inaccessible to machinery and the four eight foot long telegraph pole stilts were banged into the ground by hand with the mother of all post bumpers (the one I hit myself on the head with in February last year – it’s on here somewhere) I was a bit stronger back then and it took two days to bang the telegraph poles seven feet through the ground and on into the gravel. How the thing ended up a uniform shape is also a source of constant amazement.
Anyway, it is level, treated and good to go for the impending trout season.
A few weeks ago we received the sad news that a great supporter of this house had passed on.
Graham Mole lived in Winchester and had a long career in television and journalism. An Angling Trust ambassador, we first touched base early in the millennium regarding a piece he was writing for a national newspaper regarding something that I can’t quite remember but may have been hunting related. Here’s something he wrote for Trout & Salmon magazine ten years ago regarding some old horse who plods the banks of the Dever.
I was aware of his work from articles he had written in the angling press as he was also a life long fanatical fisherman.
During the opening skirmishes of our first conversation I mentioned that I was currently contributing a few bits of guff and photos to local papers, mostly the sports pages regarding local football and cricket.
His sage advice was “Chris, always try and write about a subject of which you have some knowledge”
Graham was a source of great encouragement and a supporter of this guff. Latterly he lectured in journalism at Winchester University and pushed a few students in this direction as an example of I know not what, but possibly why its important not to chuck up anything too "off the wall" if you want to get ahead in journalism. He was a member of the Portsmouth Services Fly Fishing Club and compiled the Wessex Waters river report for Trout and Salmon magazine with sporadic references to this guff (there was a monthly “what’s the scoop” email to a few in various valleys) He fished here a few times each year at the weekend and invariably arrived with a bottle of wine and a story. He was a gentle soul, entertaining company and will be much missed in these parts by both myself and my employer.
Go well Mr Mole.