Have I learned some lessons this week!!
On Saturday I spent the ante-meridian hours pleasantly laid-back, just slothing around and ‘recovering’ from the previous five days at work. My job is not physically demanding but it does require concentration and much attention to detail, so by Friday evening – like most of us, I suppose – I was looking forward to an extra hour in bed and a morning of nothing in particular.
By afternoon the urge to wet a line had taken hold of me, so with the river just minutes away from my back garden gate I assembled a few odds and sods and decided to walk to my favoured swim. But I’ve got lazy. I loaded my fine fishing tackle into the car with my two precious 10ft custom-built light leger rods fully made up; that is, fully assembled with their tips protruding out of the passenger window and resting between the wing-mirror and the body. I kid myself with increasing frequency that it’s not laziness that compels me to drive the few hundred yards with my tackle raring to go, but a pragmatic expedience that simply saves time…
I found the small riverside car-park struggling to contain the vehicles of so many visitors this beautifully sunny afternoon, three or four nudging the hedgerow of the approach lane and another obstructing a field entrance. I did, however, spy a small gapette and hurriedly clunked my Vectra into reverse…in it went without a hitch! Into neutral, hand-brake on, engine off…windows up.
I’d done it a thousand thousand times before but never with four hundred quid’s worth of fishing rods sticking out of the window! With half a second before the deftest decapitation I saw my mistake and desperately fumbled for the reverse button but all I managed to do was centrally lock the whole vehicle and alter the angle of the driver’s wing mirror, then…. SNIP! I froze in disbelief with my eyes fixed on the two twelve inch sections of carbon dangling from limp 8lb line on the other side of the glass. I looked away either to confirm that I wasn’t dreaming or merely to blot out the horror of my stupidity – I’m not sure which – but the fact was I’d just beheaded the rods bequeathed to me by one of this country’s finest anglers. Forcing myself to take a diverting interest in the movements of sheep I half-prayed to the god I’ve always denied for a miracle or for the realization that I was still in bed and suffering a nightmare, but no… Closing my eyes and turning my head before opening them again produced nothing less than a vision of abject misery: a pair of formerly proud purpose-built, close range tench rods cut off in their prime… two nine foot sections of finest Roger Hurst neatly divested of their heads by Madame Guillotine!