Following Anthonyâ€™s recent article â€˜A Womanâ€™s Touchâ€™ I thought I deserved the right of reply. I shall refer to Anthony from now on as the hunter-gatherer because I am sure this is the way he sees himself. In common with so many of his fishing friends, I am sure my dear hunter-gatherer (can I just call him H-G?) is simply retracing his roots back many millennia to a time when we little ladies sat back in our hide tent and awaited our triumphant hunters to return with their trophies in blind adoration.
Not that he often brings back trophies these days. He claims, of course, to have reached a higher plain in his angling journey and now returns most of his fish to fight another dayâ€¦very convenient H-G, as this ruse is apt to mask those days when creatures with brains the size of a pea defeat him.
To be fair, I was with him on that recent escapade where I had to put up with his â€˜short spot of fishingâ€™ to allegedly allow me to â€˜catch my breathâ€™ (the cheek of it!), where he did actually catch a number of trout including a big one â€“ he says it was a big one, but Iâ€™ve only his word for it â€“ which he did indeed put back. I suppose it was rather beautiful, but I note he lavished more time and loving care reviving it than I have seen in a month of Sundaysâ€¦
Still, I think I am pretty accommodating of H-Gâ€™s desire to fish. It does seem to make him a happier, more contented soul â€“ and so much more pliable to my whims as he works hard to earn another trip. Iâ€™m sure this is something that we fishing widows Â know only too well. A man wanting to fish is a man keen to earn â€˜brownie pointsâ€™. I donâ€™t think Iâ€™m unreasonable in what I expect him to do. He did buy me a very nice pair of shoes when we were last in Cambridge â€“ nothing to do whatsoever with wanting to go fishing shortly after with his best friend Seanâ€¦
Thatâ€™s another thing. This fishing malarkey does seem to bring him close with other H-Gs. Sean in particular, but there are now many others. It really is quite sweet. The long phone calls and emails planning some new mad jaunt into the wilds of the Highlands; the grin as he packs his rucksack for the 4th time; the poring over maps, cleaning tackle, tying flies and so it goes on. I suppose it keeps him busy and out of the pub.
There are worse things to be obsessed by.
(PS these are the words I hope Judith would write if actually replying to me, what a good girl she is!)