Category: Books and stuff

I owe a big debt of gratitude to a friend of mine called Clare Morris who was a very inspiring Head of English at the school where I work. When I started out writing things of my own a few years ago I would run them by her and she would give me much more praise than my efforts deserved and in the process, crucially, she encouraged me to stick at it. The end result was a book, a dozen or so magazine articles and a number of comedy scripts which were delivered in the form of standup routines. Continue reading

If you are desperate enough to visit this blog from time to time you will be familiar with the broad range of topics under discussion. Keith Baxter who recently joined Steven Lawler and me on a fishing trip to Jaen told me that he had enjoyed my book Dry River. He described it as “eclectic” which is fair enough and, I suppose, the same can be said about this blog.

So let´s get down to business and talk about mice. Continue reading

Like nearly every fly fisherman I know I have a particular soft spot for trout and was very excited recently by the prospect of fishing for the little wild trout of the upper Guadalquivir. I caught only one of these but I was nevertheless delighted. It may only have been little but it was as pretty as a picture. Continue reading

Bird watching is not rocket science. All you need is a notebook, a pair of binoculars and some kind of bird identification book.

Pippa and I reckoned that even a couple of morons like us could manage that. In the event we had no binoculars. I do actually own a pair have but they got drenched one time I took them fishing, and using them is like looking through a submarine periscope while the sub is still underwater, during the night.

When we were on our outward journey we realized that the notebook and pen were at home on the table, just beside the RSPB Complete Guide to the Birds of Britain and Europe. Continue reading

In the car on the way to the river this afternoon Cher started giving me a hard time. She told me she was annoyed with me for being unfaithful to her and asked sarcastically if the woman I allegedly engaged in a bit of slap and tickle with last night was “worth it.” Then she announced that she was stronger now and was just going to get on with her life. Jesus! Give us a break! I´ve never even met the woman. Anyway, as it happens, last night I was at home watching the telly. Continue reading

As promised, here is Harry´s report on his latest exploits: Continue reading

If you an occasional visitor to this blog you may well recognise Harry Abbott. Harry is another fishing nut and we have fished together quite a few times over the years, mainly here in Andalucía but more recently in the UK.

It so happens that Harry is off adventuring in New Zealand as we speak and he has sent me a report of his adventures. I am hoping to reproduce it here on the blog over the next couple of days but, by way of a preamble, thought I might reproduce a little of what I wrote about him in my book “Dry River” which was published in the summer. It is worth repeating for the simple reason that some of Harry´s report makes reference to it.

So, just before I include an account of Harry´s most recent adventures in his own words, here are a few about Harry in mine….. Continue reading

When I was at the CLA gamefair in Leeds recently I had an opportunity to attend a presentation on Jim Corbett, the legendary hunter and conservationist who is remembered for killing a number of man-eating leopards and tigers in India in the early part of the last century.

This talk was given by a representative of the famous gun makers, John Rigby & Co. and, during the presentation, members of the audience were invited to hold one of the most famous sporting rifles in the world, a .275 bolt-action rifle which was presented to Corbett in 1907 for shooting the single most prolific individual man-eater in history, the Tigress of Champarat. Continue reading

I have just come from the CLA game fair at Harewood House, just outside Leeds, where I was signing copies of a book that has just been published. The publisher is Coch-y-bonddu books and they sell and print books on an enormous variety of subjects. If you are interested in fishing, hunting, working dogs, falconry, natural history and all kinds of “outtdoorsy” things they are the people to go to.

The company was set up by Paul Morgan with whom I have collaborated on the book over the last three years or so and Paul was at the fair accompanied by Luke Edwards, Jane Kelsall and Marion Griffiths who are part of the Coch-y-bonddu team. They were joined by Ken Callahan who is another bookseller from New England and a longtime friend of Paul Morgan. Ken has a fine beard but not a whole lot of hair north of his eyebrows and he reminded me a little of Charles Darwin. It has to be said that, coming from a biology teacher, saying that a person reminds them of Darwin is the highest form of praise. Ken seemed to have an encyclopaedic knowledge of the literature relevant to his work and no end of other things besides and was and was a pleasure to listen to. I´m sure the real Darwin would have had little to say about the shortcomings of American airline security or the worryingly reduced life expectations of professional American Football players. Continue reading

It has been a very hot summer here so far. It can seem sometimes as though opening the front door is like opening the door of a blast furnace. Outside, our dog Brutus is panting away. He lies in the shade but it is not  cool even there. Brutus is a campo dog and he has never been in the habit of being indoors but even he will sneak in just a little and lie just inside the front door where the tiles on the floor are a little cooler.

The heat has also put the brakes on fishing to a large extent. The river is warm and the fish are in the same kind of torpid mood as Brutus, the other dogs and the rest of us. Where it is deep enough on the reservoirs the bass will leave the shallows for much of the day and early morning and late evening are likely to be the optimum times to catch them. Continue reading