Generally If I buy a book I keep it and I also used to have a more specific rule that if I started reading a book, then I would continue reading it till the end.

Lately I have abandoned both these rules. Frankly life’s to short to press on with a book you aren’t enjoying, something that was pressed home by two successive books that I abandoned half way through because they were so tedious. This was driven home by the fact that they were both fishing books, a genre where the standard is generally above average.

So I decided to sell these books and a few other bits and pieces to make a bit more space and to raise it of cash for a new ukulele. I raised the money I needed, but determined to keep on with selling some of the books I was never going to read again. I also said to myself that I should stop buying books for a bit because I have a stack of them that are as yet unread.

However I couldn’t resist buying this the other day because it was in such good condition and marvellously illustrated. With pictures that capture the joy of angling, a Cold War spy from the Ipcress File taking part in some match fishing and an Intrepid reel. Not a Rola, but one of that body-shape, maybe a Diplomat, but more likely a Consort.

Sometimes it’s nice just to own nice things.



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Phew! What a week.

Tuesday and Wednesday were spent in London for work which meant leaving the house at 6.30 and since I rarely go to bed early, very little sleep.

Wednesday I went straight to ukulele band practice, which was extended for some of us who were going to be busy Friday. My usual train home was replaced by a bus service which adds half an hour to the journey, so I arrived home just before eleven. 

Thursday passed in a blur of yawning and then Friday myself and five other members of the band appeared on local BBC radio. We’d expected just to do a short spot and a couple of numbers, but ended up doing four songs and staying for almost an hour.

The weekend started with a buzz of activity and Little Boots going off for an early swimming lesson, rearranged in order to be able to watch my uke band’s appearance at a nearby children’s festival.  The weather stayed dry, if a bit windy and after the performance we spent a few hours with friends wandering around the stalls and attractions, before taking our tired feet home on the train.

Sunday was supposed to be a lazy day, but I didn’t seem to stop, alternating between chopping logs (not something I anticipate doing at the back half of May, but this year is shaping up as rubbishy weatherwise as last year), working on some notes on the folklore of trees and tinkering with a trigger mechanism for a cross-bow LB has challenged me to make. It was nearly ten at night by the time I was happy with my notes which made it seem like a very long day.

The tree folklore notes were for a talk f first thing Monday morning, which went pretty well. I suspect that I blathered a little bit, but the children seemed engaged, they were attentive and  asked good questions. In the end I did twice as long as planned, which I guess means it didn’t go too badly.

Afterwards I hastened into work. A late start was planned, but I would still have to make the time up over the week. It seemed a curious way to start a new week, and I was glad enough to get home, especially when I found that a friend had dropped a disc off containing stills and videos of Saturday’s gig.

It was a good end to 7 days of busy-ness, only slightly spoiled by the refusal of my PC to burn a second copy, but that is when all’s said nd done a small matter.

All manner of media, be it magazines, newspapers, TV or whatever run 12 month retrospectives at this time of year. They are often, it seems to me, just lazy fillers.

Bloggers do tend to put in a bit more thought and effort, and that’s something I shall try to do as I look back at my five best things from 2012. They are not numbered because I don’t want to rank them, except the last one, which will always be first.

Fishing – Since the summer of 2011 when I fell back in love with angling my life has been greatly enriched. This has continued and I’ve had some great sessions this year, particularly the opening day of the season and have even caught the odd respectable fish. But what has also been great has been passing on my (limited) skills and, I hope, a big dollop of passion to the next generation. Little Boots is already an effective angler, and now two young friends have joined in. Teaching my brother has not been so successful.

Camping – Rediscovery of another old love that had been allowed to fade. We managed only a couple of short trips this year but they were great, even the second one. A week too late in the year, we woke to cold driving rain. Striking camp and stuffing the car with wet gear was not a good experience. Nevertheless we will be going a lot more next year. Probably with a small bottle of rum.

My Ukulele – During the last part of this year, I have begun to learn to play the ukulele. Notice I didn’t say I have been learning to play the ukulele. The truth is that I rarely make anything that sounds like music, but know that if I keep plugging away at it I will do. There’s no belief that I will ever be any good, or even anything approaching competent, but that’s not the point. It’s fun, it has given me a touchstone (swapping chords, etc.) with Little Boots who’s learning the guitar and for reasons I find difficult to express without sounding trite, a house with instruments in it is a richer place than one without. And if that weren’t enough, the arthritic aches that were increasing in the fingers of my left hand have utterly gone.

Freedom – After a couple of years where I have struggled to find both time and energy not to mention interest I decided that 2012 would be the year when I got back on top of my allotment. But it wasn’t to be. A bad shoulder and the wettest summer on record holed those plans below the waterline. So I let the thing go. And to be honest it was one of the best things I could have done and something I should have done ages ago. The weight off my mind was alone worth it.

Little Boots – Where do I start? And once started, where do I finish? Some things just can’t be put into words.