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I´m a pretty crap bird watcher if I am to be completely honest. I did try some years back to record in that back of diary I was given at work to faithfully list the species I came across here in Spain. The list ran to more than 40 species when the diary disappeared and I became distracted by other things. No doubt it will resurface one day. View full article »

Good news

Today I had some good news. My ancient car managed, against all odds, to convince some ITV inspector that it is roadworthy. After a terrifying periodic inspection it was given a clean bill of health and the man gave me a sticker to say that the car was fit tor use until the 27th of December 2019.

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I have a fish tank in my lab which is a constant source of interest to the students I teach. Frankly, they spend more time watching the fish swimming around than they ever do listening to me. There used to be a much-admired crayfish in there which would astound everybody by periodically shedding its exoskeleton and looking like it was dead before appearing from behind a wooden log.

What a party trick that was! View full article »

I was wondering if I could ask favour? As you may know my book Dry River was published in 2015 as a hardback (it can be bought in this form by following a link on the hoe page of this blog) but Paul Morgan, the publisher and bookseller, was kind enough to allow us to make an eBook version. This version is like the original but the paintings which illustrate it have had to be reduced in size. The only other change is a small alteration to the “running order” of the chapters. I must thank my wife Catriona for making the file conversion (she wouldn´t let me re-write the acknowledgments to say this). She also put together this blog initially and then said to me “I have put together a blog and called it Fishydreams. Now all you have to do is go ahead and write!”  View full article »

We´ve had some hard rain here recently and I thought I might take a look on the river on Sunday to see how it was clearing up. As usual I had the rod in the back of the car but thought it unlikely that I would be be taking it out. I live close to the confluence of two rivers, the Río Grande and the Río Guadalhorce and after heavy rainfall it tends to be the Río Grande that clears up sooner. So on Sunday I went to take a look at it in the hope it might have recovered sufficiently to offer me a chance to fool a barbel or two. View full article »

Most people I know sooner or later get wind of the fact that I´m a fly fisherman. Very often there follows a little exchange of words that seems to follow a pattern that is becoming increasingly familiar. The chances are you will recognise it too.

It´s almost as if the two of us are each delivering lines from a script with which only one of us is familiar. I know more or less where things are leading but the non-fisherman just ad-libs. First up there is the assertion that, whoever it is that I am talking to, just wouldn´t have it in them to “sit around” all day fishing; “I just wouldn´t have the patience for it!” View full article »

Isidro and the donkey

Yesterday a few of us headed up into hills to a little town called El Colmenar. It turns out that at this time of year that sex-crazed deer, loaded with hormones, descend from the surrounding woods and start rutting. Pretty recently they were even seen walking about the town and there were X rated scenes involving these beasts witnessed by the outdoor swimming pool of the Hotel Rural Buitrera. View full article »

It´s not every day that a vulture descends from the sky and alights at your place of work but that´s exactly what happened today. I thought people were kidding me when they asked if I wanted to go and take a look at the vulture but then I saw the crowd standing at a safe distance and, lo and behold, right in the middle stood a full grown griffon vulture. View full article »

Every now and then my brother Sean and Mark McCann manage to get a few days of fishing and head off into the hinterlands with fly rods thrown into the back of their cars and their heads swimming with dreams of trout and Guinness, both of which essential to the success of such ventures. Very occasionally I get to join them but it is increasingly hard to do because I live a long way away and the best times for fishing in Ireland tend to coincide with my busiest times at work. View full article »

For some time now I have dabbled in painting fish in water colours and, until now, the subjects have been fish that I have become acquainted with first hand including brown trout, perch, carp, black bass and gypsy barbel. I have just broken with this little tradition by painting a fish that I have never seen in the flesh but that strikes me as a beautiful subject – the Golden Dorado. It´s no surprise that I have never seen or caught one. If I were to do so I would have to book myself a flight to South America. View full article »