* “You do realise you have a tree sticking out of your radiator…?” asks the petrol pump attendant. She exaggerates, of course but the point is well-made. When it comes to things you don’t want to see en route to a boat feature, roads strewn with windfallen branches have to be right up there.
For a second day running, to my amazement, we at least manage to get out onto the water but for the second day running, nothing. One of the first things I ever learnt about flyfishing – that it’s not bad weather that turns fish off but changes in weather – has been borne out with a vengeance. The warm weekend has given way to wet squalls and it has been game over.
* So I’m sitting in a boat, fishless, buffeted, rained on and very aware that the damp has permeated to my lower back region, when my wife, with timing that would warm the heart of Hell’s meanest demon, phones to say that our car’s service bill will come to £600. Which is the difference between Keith Moon on tour and Trout Fisherman on tour: had Moon received a bill for £600 of damage, he would have been horrified that it was so low. I am stricken with a similar emotion but for precisely the opposite reason.
* The one highlight of the day is watching a wheelchair-bound angler execute the most impressive wheelie I’ve seen since Barry Sheene was in his pomp. Balanced on two wheels, he spurns my offers of help and exits a wheelie boat before ascending a sloping shingle beach to get to his car. All in no more than 30 seconds. This mightn’t be entirely rational but I feel a sudden surge of guilt that I didn’t make more of an effort to watch the Paralympics.
* Yes, you did read that correctly earlier, you Sassenachs – a petrol pump attendant. They still have them up here in places and I find I don’t know where to put myself, so accustomed am I to doing the job myself. I pretend to fumble for credit cards by the diesel pump, feeling like a spare part. Having rarely missed an episode of Downton Abbey, I’m disappointed that I can’t handle a fleeting master-servant relationship better than this.