Contemplation in Surreal Times

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Life is a little surreal right now perhaps with more time for contemplation. Pauline was sorting through an old tin of my late mothers’ memories. Most of the images raised little interest for me as I read a recently acquired book by my favourite author.

Then she came upon this old photo. Who was the fisherman in this old black and white photograph I wondered? I suspect it was my Uncle Jack who my mother recalled was a keen angler. The River was likely to be the Warwickshire Avon on a tranquil summers day in the 1940’s or early fifties.

I recall fishing the Avon several years ago on a warm September evening. Pauline and I sat beside the River opposite the Shakespeare Theatre and I drifted a float that dipped from time to time as plump gudgeon and roach seized the maggots. I was pleased to catch the gudgeon as it was these delightful fish that my mother once told me she had caught close to this very spot. Pauline and I chatted to a cheerful young man with a dog. Strange how some memories remain etched in the mind. Sometimes I wonder where the fishing gene came from for my family are not awash with keen anglers.

Part way through these jottings we went for our daily exercise or Boris walk as some have christened it. The sun was slowly sinking and wispy clouds decorated the evening sky. As we walked towards an old farm house swallows and martins swooped above in a timeless scene. Perhaps we as anglers haunt the same waters over many generations returning as time slowly drifts through the ages.

Thought for VE Day

In these troubled times we look back at the dark days of the second world war and some have drawn parallels to those dark times. Can we really compare the sacrifice of staying home to stay safe with the terror and destruction of a conflict that raged for more than six years?

I recalled a photo I saw a few years ago sat upon the mantle piece of a fishing hut beside the peacefully flowing River Torridge. It is somehow reassuring to stand beside a river and feel the continuity of nature. I am sure there were anglers who rested here thankful to have survived the horrors of conflict whilst casting a line across tranquil waters.

In the coming months it is to be hoped that anglers can once again return to the waters edge. Sadly the numbers of salmon are much depleted since those days 75 years ago when the nation celebrated Victory in Europe.