Enjoy your fishing at every opportunity. That is my heartfelt advice, and if it sounds a bit morbid let me relate an experience that showed me just how rapidly this sweet life could be curtailed.
It happened a few years ago when my first Nissan Pathfinder (I am now on my third!) was almost three years old. The GAP insurance was due to expire in two months and, with this in mind, I recall jokingly saying to my wife, Sally: “Do you think I should strap myself in firmly and drive into a tree?”
“You wouldn’t do that, would you?” she replied in horror.
“Of course not”, I laughed, “but it would be quite handy to have a nice new one wouldn’t it?”
Forty eight hours later I took Max for an afternoon walk, and parked up in a gateway where I had parked many times before – and indeed have since. I was listening to a program on the radio and, having switched off, sat back and caught the last five minutes. I then went around to the back of the car, put on my wellies, picked up my jerk rod, let the eager Max out, and set off across the meadow towards a gravel pit for a few casual casts. I had walked 150 yards away and just around the corner behind a group of blackthorn bushes, when there came a loud bang, as if a substantial bomb had exploded from the rough direction of my car, which really made me jump.
“What the hell was that?” I thought , but concluded that whatever it had been there wasn’t much I could do about it, so I carried on and began throwing out one of my favourite home-made jerks. About 20 minutes later two young ladies approached me and one of them asked, “Excuse me but have you got a silver 4×4?”
“Yes” I said, “Why ?”
“Not any more I’m afraid” came the reply!
“What’s happened” I enquired, to which the answer was “You’d better come and see!”
Together we returned to the vehicle to witness a staggering scene – the large ash tree beside the gateway had split down the middle and two large boughs, neither of which I could reach my arms around, had crashed onto my car, virtually flattening it. I stared in disbelief, but with a big smile on my face.
“If you don’t mind me saying so, you are taking this very calmly”, retorted one of the girls.
“That’s for two good reasons”, I chuckled, “the first is that I’m not in it, and the second is that I am now in line for a brand new one!”
I explained about the insurance situation as we gazed in amazement at the wreck. Having recovered from the shock I phoned my pal, Bob Church, on the mobile and asked if he would come and pick me up as I was having “a bit of car trouble”
“Won’t it start?” he asked, to which I replied that I thought it unlikely that it would ever start again! He was puzzled but all became clear when he arrived some 20 minutes later and surveyed the scene!
The rest of the story is academic, but I got my new car and continued to enjoy my fishing life. How very different it would have been, however, if that radio programme had gone on for another four minutes! Quite simply Sally would have become an instant widow and Max and I would by now have been dust!
Soon after, my best friend Ken said to another good friend, Tim: “We could easily have lost him there couldn’t we?”
“What, that lucky bastard? If he fell out of an aeroplane he would land on a cotton wool factory”, was Tim`s retort!
Yes I was indeed lucky, but my fishing career (and life) could so easily have ended there in a split second.
The weather, by the way, was sunny and calm, and that tree may well have been growing there for 100 years (?)
So, getting back to the beginning of this little tale, enjoy your fishing while life lasts – I rest my case!!