I have yet to cast a line in 2012, so I have been reflecting on years gone by from the leaves of my fishing diary. I hope the early days of 2012 are not so grim as those in 2011……..this day, from January 2010, turned out to be just the tonic for the January blues.
Sometimes just being there is enough. And being there was more than enough for me this week. More than enough to ease the pain of a troubled heart. For January, that most torrid of months, had delivered all manner of disasters and all without warning.
I needed some persuading – even to spend a day by the Wiltshire Ebble. I was more than happy to stew in my own juice at home, but I was assured it would be the tonic to get me through these difficult days. Not a day to angle alone, so a day akin to a tale from that most glorious of books “Hot Pot” by Francis Francis was in order for my pal Jim and I.
Think Dickens, happiness, feasting, Christmas, joviality, pies, tramps storytelling by the river, ale, beef tea and the lady of the stream and you may get the picture.
The Ebble is a joy to behold. It glistens like a stream of jewels - you can walk its banks, hop and skip across it and wade wellie deep, but what wonders it has in its shallow waters.
Walking the banks of this truly wild Wiltshire stream would have been tonic enough and I would not have been troubled for one moment if my cane had remained straight – just being there and following in the footsteps of my angling and naturalist hero Ollie Kite, who we would indeed toast later in the day, was a simple enough pleasure to see me right.
My lovely grayling float dances down the tiny stream and plunges so quickly it startles me with the ferocity in which the grayling takes the bait. I walk and fish, walk and fish for hours totally lost in my thoughts totally forgetting Jim who is doing the same somewhere else on this river.
These little silver darlings or ladies of the stream as they are affectionately known twist, turn and search for every nook and crannie to evade capture - grayling are lovely to eat, but who could take one on such a day? This is a day for reflection and they are to be admired and returned to glisten once more.
The church bell tells me it’s time to meet up and exchange tales of our mornings adventures. We will eat, drink and go our separate ways again until tea time and then meet up again at dusk in the Radnor Arms for a farewell libation in front of a roaring fire.
We both greet each other with child like smiles and tales of grayling large and small, both caught and lost, mentalist wild brown trout that greedily devour our maggot cocktail, the wildlife we have observed, but for now lunch is the order of the day.
Kelly Kettle beef tea, smoke, soot and fire, Bridport pie, mustards, fruit cake and all manner of delights are greeted with oohs and ahhs as they emerge from our secret bags. The joy of fishing, friendship and just being there has recharged and rejuvenated me.......reminded me of the small things that matter. The small things in life that help keep my world spinning round.
All is well again with my world.