Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
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.