Never mind smelling the flowers, don’t forget to take time out to see the satirical side of fishing life and grab a laugh along the way as well. So here’s a regular column from Kevin Perkins to remind us that life is for laughing at, or taking the p*** out of, whenever we can.
A couple of forum threads have recently jump-started my memory, but isn’t it so easy to look back through those rose-tinted specs and only store the highlights. Perhaps we all filter out the less pleasant, or more mundane occurrences.
The recent onset of wintry weather took me back to my early years, in particular, getting up in the morning. Living in a terraced house, we had the benefit of the neighbour’s alarm clocks on both sides to rouse us from our slumbers. Those solid and dependable wind-up Westclocks with their double chrome plated gongs would not gently coax you from the arms of Morpheus. No, such was the cacophony they created at the appointed time that you would literally find yourself launched out of the covers and running for the stairs before you knew what had happened. None of this modern namby-pamby clock radio, snooze button life we live now.
If one of the neighbour’s alarm clocks didn’t get you, the sound of someone raking the ash out of the grate and making the fire in their front room, in an effort to get the back boiler going and thereby warm up some hot water would usually suffice. This action wouldn’t heat up the house though, as we didn’t have the unheard of luxury of central heating. This was more than evident in the intricate frost patterns that used to appear on the inside of our (single glazed and draughty) bedroom windows.
The onset of a rubber fetish?
When you did finally get down to the kitchen, you would normally find the oven door open, and/or the back two gas rings alight, in an attempt to warm things up a bit. Breakfast was either cornflakes with hot milk, or ‘proper’ porridge – none of that instant Reddi-Brek stuff. Fortified with stodge, you rushed off to the bathroom to get washed, shivering, and then dressed in freezing cold clothes, unless you had the luxury of a hot, freshly ironed shirt (put on over your vest, not allowed out the house without one!) before you ventured out the door.
Duffel coat and wellies
Did you ever get chilblains?
With regard to the winter sport in those far off days, I never remember it being that brilliant. No matter where I went along that flooded river I never found a slack like those favoured by Mister Crabtree. You know the one where he sits back a bit from the edge, with young Peter watching intently as he chucks in half a lobworm, the rod tip nods a bit, then “STRIKE!” and out comes a bream, chub, barbel, etc, etc. If I ever came across an eddy like that to fish in during a flood, it invariably contained leaves, weed, plastic bags and branches, which I dutifully cleared out so the next bloke to fish it would have a better chance!