The First of (sadly) Many

January 24, 2014

I have wanted to do this for a long time….well…half an hour. Seriously, I have. Best intentions, tree-la, tree-la. This time though… a regular diary of the rather odd world that I seem to inhabit. Well, everyone else thinks odd. Me? It’s pure normality.

One thing though. What I will not be doing – and this I find utterly infuriating in other such “blogs” – is to bombard you  poor folk with daily outporings  of trivia and utter drivel. Gah! One  every other week  is far and away, enough.

Now the madness that is my life. The problem is, activities. One moment, I am a person coordinating a national schools initiative; the next painting pictures…the next writing…(well OK, trying to string a sentence together), the next guiding….coaching….Lord!

There is a reason. The march and press of time. At sixty with a wickedly fluctuating, unhealthy 2013 behind me, moments count. Every second: every hour . The truth is, that in my teens and twenties life stretched out before me…endlessly. Now? Backward glances almost the entire time: a bit like looking from a speeding train at a blurred world outside.

But I love what I do. Every facet, every annoyance, challenge or new issue. Life’s rich pageant, as my late and lovely Mum used to say. And she was right. I have no time or truck with folk who just sit and wait. Get out there: embrace what the world offers and crack on. Don’t bitch and moan (though sometimes it is therapeutic, I admit) .

That is why, my regime this year is; fitness by throwing myself into the gym (sometimes the only way in my early morning comatose state) and taking things head on, not yielding when I need to be robust and absolutely no vacillation.  So there.

I am gazing at more sunsets than dawns, now;  so I want to extend that rosy glow as long as I can. My key ambition? To make the England squad.  Having now been instated and apparently  involved in the up and coming Commonwealth event in the West Country, I am hungry for full status. It matters a jot whether most folk are far younger.

It does mean though, a sterner fitness regime and greater attention to detail.

Until next time …that will do.

Meeting the Oldman….again.

September 11, 2012

This river, The Oldman, just assaults the senses. It captivates.

The problem is, that others think so, too. I guess that one has to admit that even in the comparative frontier wilderness and the wester plains vastness, a Saturday is, well, a Saturday: and if you have publicly accesible waters then you are going to have, er…um….the general public; well some of them, at least. the ones with fishing rods.

However, weirdness abounds. Should I do the last bit first? or the first bit first?… dilemma.  Let’s do the obvious. Let’s get one thing: nope two things, straight here. I was not on hallucinogenic  substances; We had enjoyed a reasonable amount of sleep and as far as I could tell neither Peter or I suffered from a mental illness. It was just very difficult to relay to the other members of the team that had gone ahead  why we were late….

Driving out  from the hotel car park, there it was; trotting along, bold as brass, high stepping with a sort of jaunty casualness. A buck Whit-tail deer. I kind you not..straight down the path by the road: hell, it even stopped monetarily at the intersection; paused fo traffic then crossed to the other side.  What topped it off was the black bin liner strung through the antler prongs in the  a weird hat – or Deer version of a back-tie: clearly dressing to go  shopping in town on a Saturday.just odd…nope: surreal. Honestly

Bit like the conversation with one of the serving staff in a well known coffe house chain in Canada TH is a clue… clearly their staff do not have to pass a stringent Iq test.

The conversation went something like this:

CeeJ: Hello; can I have two white coffees’ please.

Assistant: Two black coffees

Ceej: No: two white coffees, please.

Assistant: two what?

Ceej: Coffeeeeee with Milk.

Assistant: You want two coffees and two milks…..?

CeeJ (losing a certain will to live): Noooooo….two coffees with milk in them! Please!!!

Assistant…silent…looking at ceiling with an odd baffled look then realigning and  making diffident movements towards  the coffee machine


Then it arrived….and on prising the lid…there it lay, forlornly, two cups of cold Milk witha dash a warm of coffee. Gah!


Anyway; mixed fortunes on the rivers…weather has be weird, too. One day that looked perfect; low cloud base, warmish…and the Crowsnest would – should – have been on fire. nothing no fly…precious few noses. Peter did manage a fish on a tiny midge, but that was about it.

Disarmingly the walk to the pools that day  on the Crow, took us through a good many riverside berry bushes and a trail where the bear crap was getting fresher and fresher  as we got nearer the chosen areas; and intermittently places where clearly, either a small army of children had been harvesting berries…. or some very big bears, indeed. worryingly our money was on the later and my Bear Spray was very, very close and ready. Seriously.

Then there was yesterday: and The St Mary River a tail water from the reservoir carving a huge magnificent swathe through an arid canyon; all looked set for a wonderful day hunting down big rainbows on dry flies.

(see Mr Fat Albert below.)

that was before every plan we had ever had was scuppered by winds blowing 80mph gusting 105mph.. . Keith’s Hardy reel utterly seizing ….I then realised I was carrying a banana. There is something to the Banana theory; no bananas for me on fishing trips here on in…None. Lord the day was like a Hieronymus Bosch painting: the interpretation of fly fishing and the end of the world.Hell in a canyon.

….And two super-freakin’-charged  – fish utterly beating us up….so badly it was actually funny. They laughed at 8lb tippet. Carl caught one:  I must return. Without bananas.


First Days of the Canada Trip

September 8, 2012

…well, in various states of repair we have made it; and now reside in an hotel that forms a human cluster in the middle of the vast plains of Alberta  just west of Calgary with a natural towering fence line of the Rockies: a mixture of sleep depravation and excitement presides. There always that intriguing almost “first day back at school” excitement of meeting new folk, understanding what they want from this trip and then meshing this altogether in view of their fishing prowess: it is all part of it. Fraud and or Jung would have  an absolute field day. 

The first day – yesterday – is always chaotic (actually the day ahead, is probably not going to be a whole lot better! We already lost the Irish and Devonian contingent to the bar last nigh,t so just about anything can happen). A form of “meet and greet” a new world. And it certainly is that…lord is this place different.

Firstly; the sun shone from an utterly cloudless sky of pure ultramarine the whole time, light danced on the Crowsnest river like a million diamonds…and of course no trout rose. It is the way of things. I have had to get across to the group that nature makes things happen on these rivers – not man or previous experiences.  If the fly are not hatching: then the trout don’t feed. it really is that simple. We are talking Wild here – a place where the smell of bear’s is redolent and the signs obvios, where a rattle in brush could be a snake or a amorous male grasshopper, where a cougar might be a noiseless menace on a branch above. 

It is a long way from the Derbyshire Dove or the Test… a long way….it is why we are here. Fishing as an adventure: raw and untamed. 

Oh and we did catch some fish…..The Oldman beckons today, I think….if I can retrieve Devon and Ireland from post Alberta bar room shock…..

Hello world!

January 6, 2009

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