Tickling Stick

An exhilarating chill was in the air this morning, conducive to a brisk walk under a clear blue sky with a gentle breeze blowing.  By the time I had strode through the town and reached the Morden Hall Park stretch of the river Wandle I had warmed up enough to slacken my pace to a wandering gait.

I had read in the National Trust guidebook on Mottisfont (posted 7th September) that Frederick Halford, ‘one of the great names in English fly fishing’, had, in his early twenties, fished the Wandle. Apparently he was engaged in wet fly fishing at which he had little success.  He went on to be an expert dry fly fisherman on the River Test.  Apparently a wet fly drops beneath the surface of the water, and a dry fly remains above.  It makes sense really.

The park was full of young families, one of which was playing Pooh Sticks (see 21st August).  I spoke with an oriental gentleman, sporting a grand digital SLR with a lens the length of which my little point and shoot model could not match, taking advantage of the exquisite light, and thoroughly enjoying himself.  Actually his pictures were no better than mine, which speaks very highly of my Canon S100.  He could, of course, reach distances I couldn’t, but he wasn’t doing so.  For me, the advantage of a long lens, such as I have on my film cameras, is that you can fill the whole frame with a distant subject.

The low sun caught the wings of an unidentified butterfly.  I didn’t see anyone fly fishing, but clusters of midges above the water and on the muddy paths glinted in the flickering rays.  Clambering through these clouds was like being regularly dusted by Ken Dodd’s tickling stick.  Some of them got right up my nose, hopefully to emerge later in my handkerchief.  Close inspection didn’t reveal any, but then they are very small.

The bed of this translucent stream was clearly visible to the children poking about in it.

The grey muzzle of a terrier trotting by its owners put me in mind of Matthew’s aging Oddie.  I told the couple and shared a joke with the man about this coming to us all.

For lunch today I enjoyed Jackie’s superb minestrone soup, which she has spiced up with a few chillies.

I am posting this a little early because we are about to leave for The Firs, where the Internet connection is down.  So as not to disappoint those who like to know what we had for dinner, we will go to Eastern Nights, choose from the delectable menu, and drink Cobra and Kingfisher.

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