I'd just got settled down with a pot of tea when the dreaded music for Emmerdale came on the telly. Little wife insists on watching that carp so I poured my tea down the sink and got a spinning rod out of the barn at the back of our house. It was already rigged up with an old Voblex spinner that I'd found in the river last year and had the hook replaced after it broke on a catfish last week.
The River Vienne is about 400 metres away down a farm track and across a sheep pasture. On my way down Alexander the Siberian builder who is working on the chateau stopped me to thank me for having his photo printed of a fish he caught last week before he bought his own camera. Previously he would bring the fish up to our house to be weighed and photographed.
Just after I got to the river and started casting he turned up with his telescopic rod and 'distressed' reel with half a spool of 40kg line topped off with an old spoon I remember from a Shakespeare catalogue circa 1969.
He watched me for a while and then we walked up to the river. Between us we can make ourselves understood despite my having no Russian words except the one for mole that he taught me last week. I picked another spot and he carried on to his favourite place about 50 metres from where I was.
I'd had a few casts along the bank and then started to cast across. A fish took instantly the spinner landed and I was into a good fish. "Alexander!" I shouted. "Feesh!" "Yes!" came the distant reply.
Turns out we both had one on. I landed mine in a Bob Church reservoir folding net. He hauled his out by hand. For a little bloke of 5' 7" he has hands and a grip of a 7' 5" bloke.
So, Alexander returned the favour and took my photo. Both fish were as near as dammit 113cm which makes them around 19lb going on past experience. Here he is with his fish and, what is more amazing is that he put it back!
And myself with its twin. Also returned.
I left the house at 8:00pm and was back home by 8:45pm