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Alone on an Island .Edd Stafford ?

Recently I watched a guy attempt to break a record on an Island , completely unaided and only in his bare skin, he was to survive for a period of 60 days plus I think, or was it 90 days ?

Now, this guy was supposed to be an ex officer of the British Army, no unit mentioned ? Plus he had walked the length of the Amazon River or something fantastic ! Not the easiest fete I’m sure?

I watched the episodes with great interest.

Now I understand that there will be some serious editing going on of the self filming/recording of his time etc… he carried a small camera and head cam too. His connection to the outside world was only with a Doctor if there was serious threat to his life. There were also predetermined drop off points for his recorded days and replacement batteries. He was to have no other connection to the outside world. He was to survive on his own , unaided and naked !

I was intrigued by his initial survey of the small Island he marooned on …I would certainly have done a better job. I would have surveyed, scoured and finely combed that Island within the first hours of being abandoned there, if I was him ! (Not that I will ever be given that chance .)

Yet for some reason he didn’t go over the Island with a fine toothed comb so to speak ?

The Island had running water, wild goats, birds, lizards etc. Fresh coconuts, potato plants. Palm leaves, caves. A huge amount of trash had found its way to the island , ie, plastic bottles, old engine parts. rope. tins containers etc…yet he did not use them from day one ? Why ? Or is this kind of television supposed to be entertainment for the severely stupid ?

I’m an ex soldier myself . I served over 8 years in our Queens Armed forces.

If I had been given the chance to do that challenge , I think I could have lived there indefinitely. I certainly think I would have been a whole lot quicker at getting things from the Island than he did. Most certainly would have improvised a lot more than he did. The program seemed to air towards his suffering under such extreme conditions ? Yet from what we could see what was available to him, it was paradise !

As I watched him struggle through the days . I got increasingly annoyed.

He could have had it so easy and yet he chose to struggle !

So if any one ever reads this , that has anything to do with the production of that documentary…I wager that I could have stayed there twice as long as he did and with lots more home comforts, given what was available ! It is often said that Bull54it baffles brains, but not in this case I’m afraid !

Rant over !

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Its a Lottery?

My story begins with a guy who is asked by his wife

“to pop out to the local supermarket to get some quick necessary “bits and bobs.”

 Bread , milk, orange juice , etc…

Nothing spectacular about his drive to the supermarket! He had driven along that route so many times. He could have driven blindfolded.

Our  guy in question is an ex soldier . He has a propensity to miss nothing going on around him. Small every day movements of people and their appearances. Going about their business.Everyday occurrences that people take for granted. Quite an observant guy, who is a vigilant observer by nature.

The stroll around the store was easy and none eventful. Taking mental notes of an attractive, well dressed lady doing her shopping.

He thought “she was quite overdressed for the occasion.”

He pays for the groceries and makes his way towards the exit.

However upon leaving and walking through the automatic doors he notices a Lottery scratch card on the floor. With a  nonchalant look at the scratch results, facing him, he immediately notices there are three fives uncovered! He picks up the card for further examination. The card is a winner of three of kind? Why was it discarded? Had somebody dropped it ? Turning on his heels to look around for anybody who may be looking like they had lost something, but nobody was! He returns to the counter in the reception area and approaches the Lottery counter. Without a word he hands over the card to the assistant.

The assistant checks the card and confirms it with a beeping scan from the lazer on the lottery machine.

She hands over the five pound note with a small smile , saying ” well done.”

Grinning, he says “Thank you .”

With that winning grin the guy repeats his walk out of the store towards his car across the car park. He began to think  ” he never noticed the card being there earlier, when he entered  the store ? “

 He triumphantly examines the note whilst walking and realises there are a certain amount of numbers he could choose from on the notes serial numbers. He could use on the weekly Saturday lottery draw.The thought of letting the luck run gave him the inspiration. He pocketed the note and drove home in automatic mode, giving no more thought to the five pound note…except for the imaginary speculation of winning the Lottery…”what would he do first if he did win ?”

What should he do?

Should he pocket the money and spend it on whatever he needs etc…

Or go back and ride the luck and  buy five “Lucky dips?”

Would appreciate your answers…….

Don’t Ask !

The morning was as beautiful as you could ask for.

Clear skies, sun was shining for all its might. The frosty shadows behind the bare trees were still remaining on the ground.

You know the kind of day ? Crisp and clear where you could still see your breath ? It was my respite day.

I’m Disabled by 50% through severe sports injuries to my spine…Fly fishing is my only competitive streak left , that I am capable of doing… it is my passion and has been for the past 2-3 years….

I had dropped my little princess off at her Nanny’s and I had the day to myself .  All to share…. to do with what I wished ?

Fly Fishing was my choice of  activity for the day.  It’s my passion , you see. My love; second only to my family.   ( although the wife says differently ha ha ).

I arrived at the car park of my fishing venue , opening the door to a crescendo of bird song. Early Spring does that to them I suppose.Singing their hearts out . Either attracting a mate or marking their territories? There was still  a chill in the air , but not enough to freeze the visitors dog bowl full of water, outside the lodge. I had arrived just at that time the local fishing clubs members were disappearing through the gate and over a small hill to the lake. Another pleasure angler was in the throes of getting changed and preparing himself for his day on the water. We entered in to small talk , he and I , talking about our past visits and other waters we enjoyed  visiting etc…

Taking our time , so as to give those local anglers who we found out were in a monthly club match… I decided to make myself a coffee as I was going to take it easy getting myself ready,  also to give the club anglers plenty of time to settle themselves in and get their match underway…I was enjoying the chat with the guy in the car park anyway , so there wasn’t that much of hurry. Our conversation dwindled away as we were both concentrating on each of our rods and tying on droppers etc.. The bird song was still harmonious and a pleasure to listen to. Those species of finches like the shy Gold finch are not a regular visitor to my garden , and it is always a pleasure to hear them singing. Throwing out their chests for all their might singing from the highest bough . Intermittently joined by a lone Robin. A good 20-25 minutes had passed by this time and the guy in the car park and I were almost ready to make our way down to the lake…When our very small talk was interrupted by a visitor.

One of the match men had already caught his four fish/bag of Trout. We congratulated him on what looked like a bag of large fish…Probably in the area of about 3-4lb each. The match man continued his walk whilst chatting , towards the weighing room. Both my friend and I in the car park exchanged facial movements, nodding and indicating what a great catch of fish and that the match-man had done so well to get his bag , in such a short time etc…

Locking my car and preparing to accompany my new friend for our walk down to the lake , the match man appeared from the weighing room looking mighty pleased with himself .

As if by cue, we both asked him with friendly tones “what was your weight matey?”

The match-man replied with a huge grin across his face, a look that could have launched a thousand ships…a pleasing weight was announced .

Sincerely, without thinking , the words just rolled off my tongue… “Oh fantastic I replied, what did you catch them on?”

As if by some ornithological power,  the atmosphere of bird song fell ……

……………… to complete silence…..!

The match mans face turned to a look of absolute concreted hate .

My skin tingled with horror as I took a large breath  , like I had stupidly asked him for his security P I N for his credit card.

The silence all around me closed in like a vacuum. I was sucked into a place on that car park that only I could feel. The feeling of absolute solitude, like I had made a loud noise in a library, and everyone had turned to look at me with shock on their faces , and it was me…me the abject misery standing there in the car park with no where to hide. For that fleeting second , that felt like an eternity…I was feeling like ‘a dead man walking’. The match-man, after dropping his head, breaking his 1000 yard stare through me, continued to walk towards the lake…He never said a word !

I looked across to my friend …where I released my breath as we burst into laughter …Maybe to fill the void of the match-man or the atmosphere left in the car park. Maybe to break the icy finish to our shared conversation ? By some unknown understanding or psychic connection…we both looked at each other and said …

“Don’t ask !”

Now let me say ; I love my Fly Fishing with a passion ! It is in my blood to fish.

From a very young age. I have been brought through the ranks of studying and learning my watercraft from many masters of the game in all aspects of course fishing, Pike fishing , Sea fishing etc…. I am a 47 year old man who still gets so excited about the thought of going fishing . I get restless the night before I go . That exciting feeling , I can only explain as being equal to a man about to be married. Like a man about to do his first bungee jump ! It’s in my guts, it makes me feels like my blood is fizzing with joy. Like a child in a sweet shop…? If you understand?

However,the day I get that serious and that grump-ed-out about my Fly Fishing… is the day I am not enjoying it…

The day I am not enjoying it , is the day I will stop !

I hope that day never comes ….?

Now I realise , the match man had his rights to not tell me. I understand and appreciate that he may well have put in hours and hours of practicing and travelling. I take my hat off to him for that  level of dedication.

But I was under the impression that Fly men and women shared their knowledge? That there was a gentlemanly conduct and camaraderie…  I would share it myself without hesitation. The knowledge of fly is but a small part of the information necessary . I didn’t ask what line to use ? I never asked how to present the said fly, and wouldn’t do either…was it a fast retrieve, slow retrieve, on the drop ? Were the fish deep, mid-water or shallow? Those pieces of information were down to me to figure out for myself ! All those serious particulars that could or could not catch a fish ! My partner always says,”it’s all down to your presentation and retrieve that counts in the end “. I have to agree. Who is to say , that when I finally got onto the water, that the fish had changed their diet or were already spooked by that fly? I thought it was at the time maybe silly of me to ask or for him being a little too serious ? But in the future I shall not ask and just wait to be told !

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Do we give them too much credit…after all, they’re just fish?

Happy Birthday Clive Parry

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A poem to my friend & fishing partner.

I wrote you a poem
for this great day
To send you best wishes
On your 50th Birthday

You.ve gracefully reached
a great time in your life
where you sit and look back
with Caine and your wife.

The times have been hard
High and low
but today is the day
you must take it slow

Happy Birthday my friend
and my great fishing buddy
our ventures have been wide
in search of our quarry
it has been my privelage
to be your under-study

We fish all day
for Trout to be found
some days they are few
and some days by the pound.

So to my great fishing buddy
partner and friend
may you keep catching loads
and keep in that trend
For some times I lead you
and there are days I’m in tow
I wish you a happy Birthday
To the fantastic Maestro !

All the very best Clive.

The LOVE of Fly Fishing for Trout.

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Here is my “LOVE”.

There is so much to think about that I find attractive. I am always thinking about my fly fishing. DAYS BEFORE and when I get there.

Where are the fish?
Are they shallow,in mid water or deep, very deep ?
Is the air warm or the water cold, or vice verse?
Are the trout feeding?
If they are, what are they preoccupied feeding on?
Do I have a fly in my box that matches that which they are feeding on!

Trout are fickle, they are wary…the larger ones are very educated, they learn by association !
The association to danger! Maybe stress? Life or death situation?

The smaller ones are a lot less wary and fall into my category of being opportunists. Easy to catch

So the bigger the Trout , the more meaningful the catch.

Do I deserve that fish?
That absolutely fabulously grown-on specimen of a Trout. The old wise-man of the water!

(It is known of fishermen to go crazy, completely out of their minds in the hunt of the larger Trout !)

Oscar Wilde once said

“to go fishing, is a good excuse to do nothing!”

I completely disagree !

Fishing for Trout is not a simple case of putting a worm on an ‘ook, gettin’ a bite , ‘rippin’ its ‘ead off, as you get it into the net and landing the fish….Then whackin’ it over the ‘ead ….shovin’ it in a plazzy’ bag and taking it ‘ome for me tea !

Where is the art and enjoyment in that?

Fly fishing is an Art !

Collating your energy and materials to build/tie the Fly. Another Topic in its own right, all together.
Many ,many books have been written on the subject of fly tying.

Having the correct knowledge of the ‘ecology’, of the water you are going to.
The sleepless, restless, night before. Do I have everything I need?
Having patience to Pit my wits, my limited ability and well practiced casting technique. In the application of catching the Trout.

Fly casting, some would say, “is an art”.
If I asked you to control a whip, by placing the end of it 30-40 yards away, within a space 12 inches square.
How would you do it ?

The anticipation, the excitement of the journey to the water.
Making my sandwiches & coffee or Bovril. Depending on how the weather is.
I have known the odd flask of hot tea & and few drams of Irish Whiskey !

Leaving my home, my comfort zone….
The adventure of it all…..the whole package.
I know of people who have never been out of their home town, in their entire lives !

My application of the cast. The presentation of the fly. Introducing an imitated, natural part of their menu, into their world.
Having them accept it, hooking the fish and extracting it from its natural environment and landing the fish.
To get it all right. To have everything be just perfect against a creature that sincerely does not want to come away from its natural environment.

Fighting a fish , that would do everything it can to throw the hook out of its mouth. By any means possible !
Battling them out of their natural surroundings, by means of an artificial fly / lure on a very thin strip of nylon.
That could snag, snap, get broken at any moment for a number of reasons.
Attached to a rod that can feel every move of that fight.
I have in my journey of fly fishing, had to strike a large fish on the bank or in the boat.
I’m talking of a Trout over 12lb , and believe me , I did not feel good about it.
I felt disgusted, I felt sick.
(feelings , I cannot express, because of my limited vocabulary here)
Killing a part of me that I love and respect, is an awful experience.
I could not feel righteous…
It would be like burning a cross!
The contrasting feelings of love and joy against the complete dreadful sickening feeling of death.
The small fish don’t bother me somehow? When I have to send them to that fishy heaven or where ever fish go when they die ?
Unless I am in a fishing match/competition, I always put the big one back !
There is no need for unnecessary death !

When all that is necessary comes together, to land that wise old fish !
I feel Fly Fishing is an addictive experience.

Then, “Yes, I would have to disagree with you Mr Wilde !”
(AND THE WORM FISHERMAN TOO)

Maybe it is plugging into the hunter gatherer genetics of our long forgotten behavioral instinct.
That is ignited during the preparation for the fight ?

Some men just want to go fishing, to get away from their wives.
Psychologists would say ” the fisherman is looking for more than the fish, when he goes”.
It is the “Love” of fishing, the thought processes, the feelings of anticipation.
If I don’t catch a fish, I appreciate my surroundings, the chatter of the different birds.
Spotting the rare and graceful Osprey.
Watching the wildlife, the Grebes and their playful dance of courtship.
The fighting of the Mallards for the hen.
The isolated call of a distant Robin !
I love the tranquility of solitude. (Percy Bysshe Shelley).
Yet I am not alone !

Normally I go with my great friend and another lover of fishing, my fishing partner and buddy.
Who also appreciates the wildlife and solitude. We could be together , yet miles apart.
We would not utter a word for hours.
We both understand how we individually feel about our quarry ! Some of the same, some different! But equally valuable.

To catch a fish is a bonus sometimes !

For those who have never tried to fly fish, or even fish at all. To go fishing or fly fishing correctly and lawfully; I personally would highly recommend it.

If it is your desire to go fishing, but you don’t know how to, there are plenty of coaches who would be delighted to show you.
Some for a fee, some for free !
If you’re in my area,
I would give it you for free ! “Share the love” I say!

If I asked you to define your “love” of something, what or how would you do it ?
I am trying here, and one day I will look back and re-write this blog. When I have a few more miles of that bumpy writers road under my belt and a few more big fish!!!

Thank you.
JMP

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The Great Bill Shankly

The Great Bill Shankly

Bill Shankly once said
“A footballers health and vibrancy is in his eyes, they should be so bright , you could light a cigarette off  ’em.”