Thursday, 3 July 2014

One swallow does not Ann Summers make - round 2


After we tried to eat the salty wooden bacon, we also tried to go fly-fishing from electric boats on a wind-swept lake, huddling between two or three vast mountains, close to where 'Swallows and Amazons' was set.

Johnny pointed to the island which was the fictitious kid's landing-place, and I said that the only thing I remembered from the book was that one girl was called 'Titty'.

We all laughed, but you have to understand that this was an all-male stag-party.

The fish were having none of it, and huddled together about eight feet from the surface as we whirred up on them.

Every now and then, there was a muffled, roaring, splashy sound as the huge feed dispenser in the lake discharged about a cwt of high-protein pellets for them. That didn't help. They weren't hungry enough.

Only about 3 of us had ever fly-fished before, so most of the time was spent in practice - trying to get as long a cast as possible with a twelve-foot lake rod from a seated position. There were a few mishaps - Johnny actually hooked himself in the ear.

Johnny was the second most experienced Piscator in the group, and I was lucky enough to be paired with the first. We - well, he, actually - landed two, bloated Rainbows of about five pounds each and that was the record for the day.

"I want to get closer to that bank there," commanded my team-mate, so I opened up the near-silent boat and headed toward it.

We got within about 10 feet of the bank, when I realise that the propellor was fouled with yards of green, slimy weed which made a retreat impossible.

I leant over the back of the dinghy and began pulling the weed from the blades in great handfuls. Then it dawned on me that I was using my other hand to steady myself, and it was wrapped around the twist-grip of the powerful electric engine. I was lucky not to lose a few fingers.

The one thing I learnt most about this fishing trip is that it is extremely difficult to snort a line of cocaine from the bottom of a wet dinghy in the middle of a wetter lake, under a 25 mile per hour wind.

When I raised my messy head from the gunwhales and stared into my captain's bloodshot eyes with my own pair, he collapsed with laughter at the sight, wishing he had a camera to record the vision.

The evening was spent in the pub again - where else? - and the stories flowed at the same speed as the beer.

Johnny recalled the time when, whilst fly-fishing in the twigh-light on the bank of a Summer river, he caught a bat.

The poor creature had been fooled by the hooked fly as it shot through the air 15 feet above Johnny's head - but the fish were not.

20 comments:

  1. Those silent electric outboard engines must be the least satisfying of all man-made machines.

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    1. I really liked them - better than a noisy two-stroke on a peaceful Summer day.

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  2. Boys have the most amazing adventures. A little entertainment, a little adventure, a little fish.

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    1. Bath is the Number One venue for Hen Nights in this country. I am glad I am not a hen.

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    2. But this was up in Lake Country. The line about cocaine under the gunwales caught my eye, and I wonder how old you were then and how old when you moved on.

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    3. It wasn't that long ago, so I was quite old, as well as being a new-comer in the first place. I don't do it any more - it was a mid-life phase.

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  3. Had you sobered up by the time of the wedding?

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    1. Yes, but it didn't last long.

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    2. That's still going on - in Australia now. 2 nice kids as well.

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  4. I saw those books at the bookstore recently and thought, "Why on earth would anyone name a character Titty?" Haha.

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    1. Letitia? I don't know, but we still call men 'Dick' around here sometimes.

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  5. I must admit to being a bit of a Swallows and Amazons nerd. Titty was based on a real-life character, Titty Altounian, one of a group of 5 children in the Altounian family who were all keen on sailing. Titty's real name was Mavis. She had a brother called Roger (also a character in Ransome's book) who went on to become a doctor - and invent the asthma inhaler.

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    1. Nice pair of Mavis's, then, from now on. Roger is another matter altogether.

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  6. The best thing about coke was that you could drink like a fish. (haha, see what I did there? huh? huh?)

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    1. Yes, I did, Carol. My coke days are over now, and only lasted a couple of years in any case. Whilst everyone drank themselves to oblivion on it, I slowed right down for some reason.

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    2. Mine, too. I only imbibed in the early 80s when folks shared theirs with me. I was (or should I say am? ) more of an opiate fan. I blame it all on my mother giving us paregoric as kids - damn, I LOVED that stuff.

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    3. I am pleased/disappointed (delete as appropriate) that I can no longer by full-sterngth codeine over the counter. I love that stuff.

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    4. It's a good thing we live so far apart and that now we're 'old' ...I fear we'd have been bad influences (or good?) on one another!

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