Chris McCully

Fishing Diary

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Prawns and the pit 4

Sunday, 6 October 2019 at 08:46

Old The crayfish gentleman watched me landing a(nother) Percy. 'It's a set-up from the 1950s,' he said wonderingly, adding: 'Still works though, doesn't it?'. Yes: Allcock's Record Breaker, a fake Aerial loaded with 4.4lb. line, a perch bobber cocked on 4BB, size 12 barbless hook and Tesco's finest. I readily grant you that this sort of tackle isn't as efficient as today's ultra-light, quick-actioned, hi-tec gear (we call it 'gear', as if it's heroin). Yet if you're able to adjust your expectations, to fish with the seasons, to engage with the reciprocities of cane and water-condition and weather then... Yes, it does still work - after an old and lovely fashion.

Pissed blackbirds

Saturday, 5 October 2019 at 08:47

The bar One small thing that's given us joy is the way birds, insects and other wildlife have responded to the development of a more or less wild garden. Almost everything I've planted has either been edible or has been set out for the benefit of the birds, insects, mammals and wriggly things which use the plot. The vines, for instance: this year I kept cutting back the foliage so that the emerging fruit would ripen in full sun. The result was a compact bush replete with black grapes (variety: pinot, aka Chateau Hopeless). The blackbirds weren't slow to notice. Every morning and evening I see a pair of adult birds together with two or three younger ones rifling through the bush. One of our resident robins comes behind them, picking up anything that might have fallen. I sometimes think that I haven't achieved much in life, but then look out into the garden. After all, I made a family of pissed blackbirds - and that will have to be good enough.

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