Thursday, 22 December 2016

Birds, but not Birding

Currently hanging out to dry in the garden are a landing net and weigh sling, while an unhooking mat lies airing on the gravel, damp side uppermost. An angler will know the significance of this. A birdwatcher, meanwhile, will know the significance of this:

A Robin. More specifically, a starving Robin on the scrounge. Look how thin it is. It's late December, deep into that period when our garden birds want us to supplement their diet with nutritious freebies. This garden bird was a very long way from a garden, but that didn't prevent it holding out its bony little hand. "Oi! Where's me maggots?!" Robins know that anglers all fester somewhat, and are therefore likely to harbour maggots. Frequently they are correct, but this one yesterday was out of luck. A few weeks ago I bought some mealworms for just this scenario but had forgotten to pack them. Ridiculously I felt guilty. So guilty that I tore off some of my cheese roll and crumbled it into appropriately tiny pieces. Mildly outraged, the Robin tutted loudly and bobbed up and down a bit. It then cocked an eye at my apologetic offering and checked for anything wriggly. Eventually, with a melodramatic sigh of resignation, it dropped onto the grass and grabbed a crumb.

Ungrateful wretch.

A frustrating highlight of yesterday's trip was a brief view of what I am 99% sure was an eared owl sp. Rob saw it too and even he, with his very unpractised eye, thought it was an owl. It was right on dusk and I had no bins. Anyway, never mind. After all, this is now an angling/cycling blog, so we can allow decent birds to get away from us willy-nilly without batting an eyelid. Therefore ignore that adjective in the first sentence - not frustrating. No, perfectly acceptable.

Well then, for the benefit of the two anglers who read this blog, why the wet net et al? More pike is why. A little jack of 4lb or so plus a nice low double of 11lb 10oz. The little one was absolutely pristine and gorgeous, the most vivid green with cream spots and stripes, while the bigger one had an amazing golden hue, the like of which I have never seen...


  1. Oooh I wondered if you would clock that! Anyway, what's happened to the cycling? It has been so long since we have seen any photos of red bike in a nice setting that I nearly didn't put it down. I couldn't quite believe that just because it's dark, cold and miserable that the bike has been put away. I mean the central motto is "harden the *something* up" isn't it?

    Me, my various injuries very sadly prevent me from being able to safely ride a bike....

    1. Illness is my excuse. I've just got over the nastiest bout of bronchitis I can recall, and I'm anxious to be fully mended before I start puffing up hills again. I seriously do not want a relapse of any kind. Rest assured, red bikes will return.

      Re the hardening up thing: I remember a friend in Colorado explaining what bull-riders do, and the mentality that motivates them. Then a joke: "What are a bull-rider's last words?" Punchline: "Watch this!"

      I am happy to embrace my inner wuss! :-)

  2. Great looking pike Gav. Do you think the colouration is due to a combination of clear water and night time?
    I'm a bit of a wuss on winter bike riding. The temperature has to be close to double figures before I'm tempted.

    1. Don't know why it's that colour Ric, though probably the clear water helps.
      I did do a bit of cycling during that cold snap a few weeks back, and I really don't mind as long as the roads aren't icy. My toes are the limiting factor - they're the first bit of me to go numb in the cold. I draw the line at frostbite! I've enjoyed a few cycling biographies and it's astonishing the conditions some endured, or the injuries they ignored in order to win a race, or even just to compete. Truly hard men. Tellingly though, they suffer for it in later years. Buy now, pay later! I'm too long in the tooth for all that nonsense...

  3. Cycling biographies! any in particular Gav?
    A few years back I read the Lance Armstrong set. Obviously he's fallen out of favour since then. I haven't got them now. One book went to a charity shop. The other I wrapped up and gave away as a secret present at some running do.

    1. Most recent: 'Put me back on my bike' (Tom Simpson), 'In search of Robert Millar' and 'Half man, half bike' (Eddy Merckx). All fascinating.