Regrets...

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What could possibly be more important than the gargantuan chub you saw in the shadow of the bridge last Saturday? What could possibly be more important than the gargantuan chub you saw in the shadow of the bridge last Saturday?

Regrets? Cliff Hatton has had a few; but then again, too few to mention...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



I dunno though; it might be cathartic to pour out a little of my soul’s contents – if only as a warning to today’s tranche of young carp-trapping nutters. I emphasize here the degree to which it is possible for young men to become so profoundly besotted by the pull of angling because such fanaticism can actually have a less favourable side. When fishing fills every waking and sleeping moment of your weekends and every evening from Monday to Friday you’re clearly missing out on other stuff. This ‘other stuff’ may not seem important to you now because, well...what could possibly be more important than the gargantuan chub you saw in the shadow of the bridge last Saturday? And what fun could you conceivably derive from doing something other than fish next weekend? Does fishing get to you like this, matey? It did me...


Even when I discovered girls I couldn’t wait to introduce them to the delights of crusting for carp; it barely occurred to me that an evening at the flix just might be more appealing to a young lady keen to experiment with make-up and her big sister’s perfume. I exaggerate not one iota. I wasn’t able at that time of a young man’s awakening to even consider the possibility of something more appealing than the crisp, clear ‘cloop’ of a crust-chomping carp...now that was ecstasy!


I’m told I was a good looking young fella, and strolling down the Memory Lane of my various photograph albums I can of course see the truth of this. The thing is – if you’re presently like I used to be – you’re just too in love with fish and trees and golden dawns to consider the possibility that you might be seen as desirable...you’re oblivious to a girl’s compliments and subtler suggestions and you blindly take them fishing at your members-only lake as if to do them a favour: “We’re allowed to take a guest but it’s a fiver for a ticket... don’t worry though” You give her a roguish wink, “I’ll say you’re my sister”.


Do you tell the girls in your life something like this? Really think about it. Perhaps you plan your dates around your fishing activities: an afternoon stroll in the park so that you can be settled-in at the lake before dark, or something along those lines? And who’s top of the pops at the moment? Which singer or band is all the rage? Do you download their music, buy their CDs and DVDs but readily turn down the offer of a concert ticket because it’s for Friday night and you’ve got a date with a big ol’ common?


This was me all over, and today I regret quite bitterly my dismissal of The Hollies visit to town; my turning down tickets for the Stones, the Animals, CLAPTON, the Small Faces and...Oh! What a fool I was! I’ve recently made up for some of my misspent youth by seeing Jethro Tull a couple of times but...well...Ian Anderson’s bald now, and the one-legged flauty thing is clearly something of an effort for the ol’ boy: why didn’t I snap up that ten bob ticket and get down to the Ship and Shovel for 7.30pm on Wednesday 11th August 1967? I could’ve taken Elaine, the well developed girl who did Saturdays at the greengrocers. She wore stockings and a tight jumper and had something of a...well, I was told she could be quite friendly.


But what did I do? I spent all of the previous evening knocking-up bait and went fishing on the Wednesday while all my fifteen and sixteen year old pals were getting an under-age high on Watney’s Red Barrel and The Witch’s Promise – LIVE!  Likely as not they left the pub with a mini-skirted dolly and headed for a little privacy at the back of the shops while I sat beneath a damp umbrella with a cup of lukewarm tea and a Penguin. That said, it did seem right at the time, and I suppose it must have been right because that was what I really, really wanted to do. It’s only now when I reflect on all those rejected opportunities to see the Yardbirds, the Zombies, the Pretty Things and The Who for less than a quid that I see the error of my ways.


Occasionally I was able to tempt a girlfriend to the gravel pit but it never worked very well. As always, the prospect of mixing romance with carp fishing was very much better than the reality; yes, it was possible to fit two on a bedchair for a kiss and a cuddle but the faintest buzz from the Heron would see me standing breathless over the rod in an instant and my loved-one on the dusty deck with a bed-chair on top of her.  There was nothing – simply NOTHING – that could have stopped me springing-up as if from an ejector seat to address the briefest enquiry. It was in the DNA I’m afraid, Christine...


So what’s to be done? All I can do is to check out which of the less successful groups with an average age of 75 are still earning a crust in the clubs. They’ll be indistinguishable from their audiences but they won’t know the words so well; they’ll milk their greatest hit for all it’s worth, take their bows and walk off dodging the odd set of corsets, and I shall be left wondering what could have been.


But then, I’ll never forget that 15lb mirror and the 5lb tench...the weekend it never stopped raining and the time Tony Corless fell in the drink...


Happy days! 

 







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Comments (17 posted):

Peter Jacobs on 25/02/2014 13:07:26
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An interesting read Cliff. I personally work on the principle that I never "regret" anything. My decisions are taken using the available information and I trust my instincts not to make a bad one. Then, if those conditions change you cannot regret having made the original decision, can you? That said, there was this very lovely girl in Sweden, Corrine, but that is an altogether different story, and one not to be related whilst sober . . . . . .
Lord Paul of Sheffield on 25/02/2014 13:12:12
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There was a time when I put sports before evrything , rugby and cricket took precidence over all
neil1970 on 25/02/2014 13:24:46
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Great article, beautifully written, and definitely food for thought.
tiinker on 25/02/2014 13:34:02
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I have no regrets about my life. I have always made the best of what I have had. As a small boy I was bought up by my grandparents till I was seven years of age . My grandparents taught me to always give of your best in all things always strive to be successful in everything you ventured into and never be envious of other people. I can remember my grandfather telling me stories from books something I have never forgotten was I moaned because I had no shoes and then I saw a man with no feet. Always count your blessings he would say and never let it be said that you do not earn your corn. I have been showered with blessings in my life some I have helped along and some have fell at my feet. I consider myself to be a very fortunate man.:)
steph mckenzie on 25/02/2014 13:42:36
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Growing up i was a right Tw*t, still am for that matter. Do i have Regrets, A few, but i have always thought it right to take what ever consequences come my way for my own actions. Regrets .... Yes, but, i've learnt to live with them and they don't bother me to the point i feel i need to change them. Good to hear someone else's take on things though, No, Regrets, you should have lived harder IMO
geoffmaynard on 25/02/2014 23:20:02
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Don't mean to rub it in Cliff but... That Elaine in the greengrocers. She was really friendly... hur hur hur... :)
davey1943 on 26/02/2014 12:54:52
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Cracking read,:thumbs: Regrets,never.
martinsalter on 27/02/2014 06:26:28
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Nice one Cliff....we've all been there...I don't mean with Elaine...but how many girls did we drive away with our fishy obsessions? I take some comfort in the wise words of my old, and now sadly departed friend Marion, who once told me.."Regret nothing - when you've had one, firm thighed 18 year old, you've had them all" Of course, we haven't had them all or even all we could - but then, we will never catch all the fish...and why would we ever want to?!:)
Tee-Cee on 27/02/2014 08:02:35
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" we haven't had them all, or even all we could"...........absolutely true, but boy did I try hard!! No, regrets are not good IMHO and from my experiences it does your head a lot of harm to continually think about what you've missed, or might have missed out on. I've reached 71 years (probably more by good fortune than anything else) so I can look back over a long period of time to judge what I've done with my life and consider whether I achieved what I set out to do back on my twenties. I decided at an early age that travel was my bag and if I could do this via my chosen vocation then so much the better. This I did through the construction industry which saw me all over the world, living in some places, from 1969 to 1984. Obviously such a life is not all glam but generally speaking it was a wonderful time THAT I HAD PLANNED FOR MYSELF. Without doubt such a life will always involve the opposite sex and mine was no exception! One meets, in travel mode, a very wide variety of women that one might not otherwise meet in normal life. Chance meetings on aircraft either with passengers or the flight staff happened many times, some of which lead my life in a different direction to some extent, but always with my eyes wide open so NO regrets. Let's face it, it is very hard to avoid meeting women under such circumstances!! Marriage has taken it's toll with several failed attempts, but again never any 'regrets' with any of them or of any other 'close friend' for that matter....... Yes, from a very early age I sewed my wild oats and I never stepped back from this at any time in my life, but always with quality women, and always with someone who had something to offer. I can honestly say the 'one night stand' was not for me! Yes, I loved women's company and still do for that matter, even to the point where fishing was put on the back burner for considerable lengths of time (God forbid!) but I always returned to it eventually... So, for me, looking back, I've done pretty much what I wanted to do and consequently I can have no 'regrets'. In other words I dictated where I wanted to go with my life at all times and never shied away from painful decisions even if that meant a failed marriage. It all sound very straight forward but like all life it never, ever is, whoever you are, and I'm certainly no exception! Perhaps my very poor childhood drove me on, or my own mothers very sad life was a beacon for me to use as guidance in my own life (she was 60+ before she felt safe and free to run her life), but whatever, 'we are all responsible for our own actions' and I try to follow this mantra where possible.... I have met many who have 'regrets', including close family, but when I really listen to the various stories from such folk I cannot help thinking, in most cases, they really did not make any attempt to avoid the, what came to be, 'regrets', in any way shape or form - they didn't make any attempt to change things...... As I say we ALL have choices and we can all make them IF WE REALLY WANT TO, but most, seemingly choose not to, and then find themselves looking back over a life full of 'regrets'.......................and that I find very sad..
tiinker on 27/02/2014 08:19:57
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" we haven't had them all, or even all we could"...........absolutely true, but boy did I try hard!! No, regrets are not good IMHO and from my experiences it does your head a lot of harm to continually think about what you've missed, or might have missed out on. I've reached 71 years (probably more by good fortune than anything else) so I can look back over a long period of time to judge what I've done with my life and consider whether I achieved what I set out to do back on my twenties. I decided at an early age that travel was my bag and if I could do this via my chosen vocation then so much the better. This I did through the construction industry which saw me all over the world, living in some places, from 1969 to 1984. Obviously such a life is not all glam but generally speaking it was a wonderful time THAT I HAD PLANNED FOR MYSELF. Without doubt such a life will always involve the opposite sex and mine was no exception! One meets, in travel mode, a very wide variety of women that one might not otherwise meet in normal life. Chance meetings on aircraft either with passengers or the flight staff happened many times, some of which lead my life in a different direction to some extent, but always with my eyes wide open so NO regrets. Let's face it, it is very hard to avoid meeting women under such circumstances!! Marriage has taken it's toll with several failed attempts, but again never any 'regrets' with any of them or of any other 'close friend' for that matter....... Yes, from a very early age I sewed my wild oats and I never stepped back from this at any time in my life, but always with quality women, and always with someone who had something to offer. I can honestly say the 'one night stand' was not for me! Yes, I loved women's company and still do for that matter, even to the point where fishing was put on the back burner for considerable lengths of time (God forbid!) but I always returned to it eventually... So, for me, looking back, I've done pretty much what I wanted to do and consequently I can have no 'regrets'. In other words I dictated where I wanted to go with my life at all times and never shied away from painful decisions even if that meant a failed marriage. It all sound very straight forward but like all life it never, ever is, whoever you are, and I'm certainly no exception! Perhaps my very poor childhood drove me on, or my own mothers very sad life was a beacon for me to use as guidance in my own life (she was 60+ before she felt safe and free to run her life), but whatever, 'we are all responsible for our own actions' and I try to follow this mantra where possible.... I have met many who have 'regrets', including close family, but when I really listen to the various stories from such folk I cannot help thinking, in most cases, they really did not make any attempt to avoid the, what came to be, 'regrets', in any way shape or form - they didn't make any attempt to change things...... As I say we ALL have choices and we can all make them IF WE REALLY WANT TO, but most, seemingly choose not to, and then find themselves looking back over a life full of 'regrets'.......................and that I find very sad.. I used my father as a object lesson and made sure I did not make the same mistakes as him. Life is what you make it if you muck it up it is down to yourself nobody else.
Tee-Cee on 27/02/2014 16:49:52
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..............and that's all you can do, learn from the mistakes of others. The trouble is tinker, is that some people WANT to blame someone else rather than take responsibility....but that's human nature I suppose. Just as well we're not all perfect like us eh?? Add a smilie here...
tiinker on 27/02/2014 18:08:21
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..............and that's all you can do, learn from the mistakes of others. The trouble is tinker, is that some people WANT to blame someone else rather than take responsibility....but that's human nature I suppose. Just as well we're not all perfect like us eh?? Add a smilie here... Satisfied people are always happy people.:)
james on 28/02/2014 16:45:43
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Time spent in pursuit of fish rarely has anything worth regretting about it, whereas it seems almost every girl I've ever pursued has ended me up with a right load of grief, and seriously reduced my available angling opportunities in the process! ;) :D
Cliff Hatton 2 on 02/03/2014 10:44:19
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Tee-Cee....so pleased to have presented you with the opportunity to say what you said (wrote)...I can tell you've been dying to get that on 'paper'! It was a wonderful precis which gave me - and others - a fair idea of your life so far and it does appear to have been PRETTY-BLOODY-GOOD! I liked your somewhat camouflaged account of meeting women on aeroplanes...the only club I'm in is the Moor Hall & Belhus Angling Society!
tiinker on 02/03/2014 13:13:35
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Tee-Cee....so pleased to have presented you with the opportunity to say what you said (wrote)...I can tell you've been dying to get that on 'paper'! It was a wonderful precis which gave me - and others - a fair idea of your life so far and it does appear to have been PRETTY-BLOODY-GOOD! I liked your somewhat camouflaged account of meeting women on aeroplanes...the only club I'm in is the Moor Hall & Belhus Angling Society! I was a member of Moor Hall in the late 60s early 70s Left when the water near Ockendon station got polluted by what was dumped when they filled in Ham rivers in the early 60s
Cliff Hatton 2 on 03/03/2014 19:02:35
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...I must know you then, Tinker!
tiinker on 03/03/2014 19:11:16
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...I must know you then, Tinker! Your name rings a bell but I cannot put a face to it. I have been involved with Becontree & district since 70 There were a few of us that fished Moor hall until the pollution.


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