Fly-fishing is another of the sports into which I dipped during my very expensive education, but I was never any good at it: partly because I have the attention-span of a gnat. My dad taught us in the back-garden aiming at a washing-up basin "one, and two, one, and two . . ." to get the necessary rhythm going. Indeed I'm quite confident that I never caught a fish using this deliberately difficult way of getting lunch. Fly-fishing was one of the things my father did to get out of the house - especially when the 1950s kitchen was full of terry-cloth diapers drying over the stove. I don't think he was much good at fishing and was more likely to exit the house carrying his bag of water-colours:
whc prev]. On at least one day while there, my father would load his three kids into one of the 6m rowing boats and take us out fishing. Not fly-fishing; more likely trolling from the back of the boat with a variety of artificial lures - spinners, spoons and other brightly jiggling things to carry a hook to a greedy fish's mouth. We caught fish in this way with some reliability and at the first bite my father would cry out "It's a trout, well done, it's a trout" [Salmo trutta and edible] but it never was. It was always pike [Esox lucius very sharp teeth, disagreeable disposition] or perch [Perca fluviatilis bright orange fins, full of bones]. Even back then, we sort of knew that my father's optimism outstripped his fish-knowledge.
bright micro-documentary about Maxine McCormick [4 mins] from when she was only 11. Check out her internal clock going "one, and two, one, and two . . ." The interview seems to capture the disconcerting collision of ambition and competitiveness in the skin of a small symmetrical girl in tee-shirt and jeans. I think its wonderful to have someone that good and that small in any sort of competition. If, as a 64 y.o. bloke you have your hopes of a prize knocked into a cocked hat by a 14 y.o. girl then you'll have the chance to reflect that it's just a game. Or perhaps that the competition is not with others but with yourself:
every day and in every way I'm getting better and better.
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