You don’t need a river to go fishing!

It must have been thirty years ago. I worked on my own in those days, in the remote and wild Hampshire-Berkshire borderlands, in the shadow of Gallows Down, atop which stands Combe Gibbet. I was listening to Gardeners’ Question Time on one of those wirelesses. Clay Jones was the presenter.

A listener had called in to say that she lived in a flat on the 20th floor of a tower block in Smethwick. She only had a window box and wondered if the panel had any suggestions. One of them, I think it was Geoffrey Smith, blurted out “You don’t need a garden to grow trees!”

In the picture we see how Old Simon, the Abbot of St Edward’s, confined to his house with the gout, has found a way to satisfy his angling urge. You could do this too, if you can be bothered to saw a tun in half, fill it with water and raid the ornamental lake for stock.

Failing that, another way to get a vicarious fishing fix is to browse the pages of my website. It’ll take your mind off things. It may even send you into a deep and welcome sleep. Dream then, of a time when all of this is behind us. It’s just you and the water. A fish stirs. Another rises nearby. A beautiful split cane rod lies close at hand.

It was made by a couple of determined craftsmen in Newbury. They really know what they’re about. They take their daily exercise alone. It brings them to an isolated workshop where they work with solitary intensity. They arrive and leave separately. Their paths don’t cross.

For them too, this eremitic existence will pass and they will invite you to buy their sweet red roses –Oh damn there I go again with the gardening. Blast that Bob Flowerdew. I meant high class hand-made fishing tackle.

Until next time, stay well and look after yourselves,

Edward Barder and Colin Whitehouse

Still very much operational, available via phone and email, not breaking the law or endangering the health of others or themselves!