Archive for April, 2016

Yesterday, out of the blue, came a card from New Zealand. It was sent by the family of Murray Thompson who sadly passed away recently. I have written about Murray in the blog elsewhere and in my book Dry River. He was the owner of a fishing hut way out in a remote highland lake and he was very generous in allowing a whole army of people to stay there over the years.

The card told me that Murray appreciated what I had written about the hut and that a painting of a fine trout which Murray caught and which I sent to him as a gift was given pride of place in the family living room. It also said that he had enjoyed my book which had been given to him as a gift from his family.

I guess that he was reading it during the time that cancer was getting the better of him and I hope it gave him some pleasure during a difficult time.

The New Zealand card was a lovely gesture and I appreciate it very much. It is on the shelf in my lab now where I can see it. It sits next to a couple of dinosaur models which shine in the dark and that light up the space around them when the lights are low.

Murray was like that too.

Hotel Peru

So you end up in Trujillo and need a place to stay. How about Hotel Peru? It offers a bar and a bed, which are just about the only things you need in any hotel. What more could you ask for?

A week ago Steve Lawler and I met up with a little fishing party from Scotland at Hotel Peru and we enjoyed a fine evening there. The boys from Scotland told us they were very impressed with the place. They said it was cheap and clean. It was quiet too. It is a pretty big place but it seemed on the Friday evening, as we were putting away a couple of beers, that we were the only people there. Continue reading

Greasy Pigs

It turns out that in the fería of El Sahugo, a town near Salamanca, they have a tradition of carrying out a “slippery pig” competition. This involves covering a piglet in grease and getting the kids to see if they can catch it. Whichever kid manages to catch the slippery piglet gets to take it home.

But then the animal activist people started making a big noise and claimed that the spectacle was “degrading to animals” and the town hall has been fined over 1500 euros and forced to ban the event.

Jesus! What´s up with these people? Is nobody allowed to have fun any more? Does everybody think the same way now? This whole story prompted me to make a brief poll of the views of my own students. I explained the background to this story and asked the student what they thought the right thing to do was. All but two or three of the 20 kids I asked just said “ban it” without a second thought. Continue reading

Perhaps it never occurred to you to ask this question but the answer, to the best of my knowledge, is no. Fish do not play golf. The question arose yesterday in my Science lesson with Year 7 and was in response to some interesting commotion taking place in the fish tank at the back of the lab.

First, let me tell you a little about the fish tank. It is about four feet long and has one pretty sizeable fish in there, a species of pleco. The pleco is one of a small number of common aquarium fish and I understand that our one is Hypostomus plecostomus, a nocturnal catfish which is native to South America but has been widely introduced elsewhere.There is also a bunch of goldfish which found a refuge in my tank when the school pond was drained for refurbishment. The pleco must be about a foot long and a lot of people have questioned whether it is a good idea to have such a big fish in a relatively small tank.  Continue reading

If the world were a simple place you would get a fishing license by going somewhere where these things are sold and saying “can I have a fishing license please?” And then having handed over the necessary fees you might expect to be able to walk out with the thing in your hand.

But things are not so simple here. This is Spain and, of course, Spain has elevated bureaucracy into an art form. Continue reading