No chaps and chapettes, I haven’t given up. I haven’t even been ill. I’ve just been busy with things apart from fishing and this has left me uninspired to write anything funny or even sensible. I still don’t have a lot to say. Well, not about fishing. My final trips of the season were not my most skilful.
There is one moment worth mentioning. If cleanliness is next to Godliness my mother is the Dalai Lama. She, is, in a word, ironed. Wonderfully, she has a grid plan taped on the inside of her cupboard so that she knows what’s inside her identical shiny storage jars. It seems needless to say at this point that the spices in her spice draw (all in identical mini jars) are kept in alphabetical order.
We arrived bankside, as a family, just before eight o’clock in the morning. None of us had ingested sufficient caffeine to quite greet the world properly yet. My mother inspects her creel.
Ma: “Oh my God”
Ma: “I can’t touch it. It’s, just too horrible”
I looked inside her creel. I could smell it before I peered inside. It had the odour of bread but evil bread, bread that had festered inside the pantry of a serial killer. Where this smell came from is a mystery, my mother is not the sort to mix her picnic with her fishing gear. She has special cases for that! I looked closer. Her creel swarmed with hundreds of squirming, writhing, white maggots. I laughed, thinking that nothing worse could happen to one so immaculate; but my mother was right. It wasn’t even funny. I cannot express quite how grave the situation was.
Ma: “I’m throwing it away, I can’t use it”
Pa: “For heaven’s sake girls what on earth is going on?”
Me: “It’s fucking horrible, it’s filled with maggots, it’s beyond redemption. It’s Satan’s creel”
Pa: “Oh, give it here, that’s an expensive creel you can’t throw it away”
Ma: “I just can’t Tom. I’m not touching it ever, ever again”
We held this discussion as my mother and I wiped maggots from her reel. I could feel their wriggles as I crushed them between the tissue paper. They had slithered themselves all the way down the line right into the backing.
My father took one look at the creel and without saying a word he took it away, far away.
Pa: “That creel has been taken by the Dark Side, let’s not go there again”.
We were all a little traumatised. I think we all fished in a slightly cagey way and we had some but not huge amounts of success. The creel went into three, tightly-knotted black sacks and was deposited in the public bins of a remote village. I still shiver when I think of the maggots pushing and humping themselves all over the contents of the creel.
Anyway, as an end of season post I dedicate this one to my parents. For countless reasons they deserve it and far, far more.