River Wissey Lovell Fuller


July 2011

More enchanting tales from the banks of the River Wissey

It was early in the morning and the first hour of daylight had seemed quite normal. I carried on waiting and still nothing happened. It was now becoming a worry as this was supposed to be an extra special day! Today was the day of 'astrological excellence' when the paths of certain planets crossed and dictated a once-in-a-life time phenomena. Astral planes meeting and coinciding with a new moon had led to nationwide speculation. In particular rarely experienced fish activity had been forecast and thus I imagined hundreds of fishermen, like myself, alongside rivers all over the land ready to enjoy the unique opportunity. I would certainly welcome a monster catch!

I was on the edge of a water meadow filled with knee high buttercups and a strong smell of water mint in the air. It was already warm. There was no movement but a multi-chorus of unseen birds were singing their hearts for out. The skyline, across the river Wissey was now changing and beginning to show a fierce red tinge. It slowly grew and grew with wide bands of yellow stripes to become a staggering sunrise. This was obviously the first sign!

As the sun climbed above the tree tops a large flotilla of swans sailed down the river. In the early sunlight they shone bright as is fitting for the unquestionable rulers of the waterways. By contrast a large flight of geese followed. They circled before making a mass landing on the water. In their unruly way they disturbed the peace with constant squabbling and splash. Eventually the perfect quiet returned when they climbed the bank to stretch and preen and sleep.

As the day passed kingfishers flew backwards and forwards skimming the surface. Always they returned to the same lazy willow. From within its leafy skirt came constant plopping as they dived for the fishlings that gathered beneath in the shallow water. Meanwhile the resident heron surveyed his territory from the opposite bank. A quick glance away and back again showed him gone but really he was still there but perfectly camouflaged in a change of light. My friend the moorhen appeared from his reed bed nest and in his trade mark way half walked and half fluttered across the width of water. The trees on the far bank made dark shadow stripes across the mid water reflections. All was lazy and bliss.

The sun reached its apex and like a kaleidoscope the colours of the riverside changed yet again. The waxed white heads of the lilies in the margins opened and stretched to enjoy the maximum heat. Dragon flies patrolled the margins. The florescent blues and greens made them instantly attention seeking. Every few minutes pairs of geese took to wing but soon returned as their curiosity and exploration ended. Fish topped and splashed in mid water which now sparkled like a sea of diamonds in the slight breeze. All sense of time was lost. There was a dreamy atmosphere. The red float tip kept disappearing at convenient intervals but still any extra special happening failed to occur!

And so the day passed. I had no more fish than a normal day. Something must have gone seriously wrong. Maybe the forecasters were a day out and the magic would work tomorrow! Another disciple of the rod passed on his way home and we exchanged pleasantries. Alas he was not particularly pleasant. He had blanked and as I had previously shared the expectation with him he seemed to hold me personally responsible for his lack of fish!

But wait a minute common sense must prevail. I must apply my own values and ignore the wisdom of astrologers and the sad fishing ayatollahs. I had enjoyed a very special day! Every day alongside the river is special to me and the mind always goes back a long time ago to a young schoolboy alongside a similar river. He had a cut down rod, a bucket and a complete lack of knowledge. His rubber boots were far too big and he never wanted to go home. Every single minute he spent alongside the river was savoured to an extreme and I suppose I have never really changed!!

by Ivor Hook

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