Trout Fisherman Scottish Tour 2012 – Day 4

In which, to wide-eyed wonder and amazement, fish are actually caught.

* It is as if there are a series of Biblical plagues taking place, aimed exclusively at motorists. Where twigs and branches littered the roads yesterday, today it is surface water, as the early morning sunshine in Peebles quickly gives way to heavy rain that seems set to thwart the day’s river session.

* Driving through surface water on Scottish roads is a bit like Christmas pudding. The first two helpings are great fun but by the time you get to helpings three, four and beyond and the portions seem appear to be getting bigger, you go very quiet. “You’re sure you won’t need something bigger for Scotland?” the company’s fleet manager asked me five days ago, as she handed over the keys to a VW Up!. Next time, I’ll say “yes”.

* Joy of joys; not only does the rain relent as we reach the river, we manage to find a stretch that isn’t the colour of cocoa and a grey morning gives way to an afternoon of relentless sunlight, reminiscent of last weekend. We have trout, we have grayling, we have a noticeably better night’s sleep than last night.

* I am introduced to ‘slice‘ for lunch: flat sausage patty, fried up by a derelict house and slapped onto a buttered bap, a small pool of fat still glistening on top of the meat. Delicious but don’t be still, my beating heart.

* Here’s why hotels should keep their noses out and leave B&B to people who do it best: non-corporate people to whom you’re an individual instead of a unit on a spreadsheet. 1) When your search engine optimisation is geared to having your name appear whenever someone searches ‘B&B, Peebles’, you need to spell it out in very large letters on page one if you’re only providing the ‘Bed’ part. 2) When you tell me you have on-site parking, I assume it’s more than just an auto version of musical chairs, with 20-odd vehicles chasing nine places. 3) When you tell me you have WiFi, you need to announce there and then that it’s limited to a 200Mb download per day; instead of leaving me to find that bit out at 11pm at night. Just three reasons why The Tontine Hotel won’t be seeing me again.

* Sorry, Mr Indian Restaurant Waiter: in the normal course of events, your solicitousness and attention to detail would have most definitely earned you a tip. As your boss has seen fit to sting me for £5 for a beer, £3.30 for two poppadoms and £3 for some tinned mango, however, I suggest you take it up with him.

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