heroic defeat

If I’m unusually stupid tomorrow, it’s because I finally cracked this afternoon and drove up to Grafham to try and catch some trout. No one knew where they were, since there had been winds of 50mph over the weekend (it snowed here at the end of last week for half an hour, without anything lying).

The wind had died down a bit, but not enough to be comfortable to cast in down the deep end, where the trout probably were. Even in the shallow end the wind was high, and the water cold. Extremely cold. After the first hour I couldn’t feel anything much south of the thigh and waded in to land, thinking of the advice in Scrope’s book on Salmon fishing, published in 1843, to roll down your stockings (knee socks) and study whether your legs have actually turned black. If they have, you may honourably climb out of the river. He, of course, was wading the Tweed in February, without waders. American readers should at this point suppose themselves wading naked in the Gallatin — I have fallen into that river and the Tweed, and there is nothing to choose between them in point of coldness.

At around seven, the sun came out and photshopped the whole NE bank. I don’t think I have ever seen such saturated colour in my life. My camera was in the car, but I waved the phone at the vew, and may have captured some of these colours. It’s certain I captured no trout. I missed one: they seemed to be feeding on tiny black midges. But I don’t care, much. The sunset was well worth the journey. Now I am sunstruck, windburnt, and exhausted and I think I will have to take the little camera around in my vest in future.

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