Who am I?

My photo
An individual, of no great importance, who is unable to see the natural world as a place for competition. I catch fish, watch birds, derive immense pleasure from simply looking at butterflies, moths, bumble-bees, etc - without the need for rules! I am Dylan and this is my blog - if my opinions offend? Don't bother logging on again - simple!


Monday 25 November 2013

So who's teaching who?

A lot of water has passed under the bridge since 1993; when I packed up "mainstream specimen hunting" - it's fair to say that I'd enjoyed a decent level of success and my profile, within the circuit, was rather prominent during this crazy period of my life. Benno was born in 1984, and by 1988 had already spent a week at Kilchurn Bay, Loch Awe. Before 1992, he had three more Scottish trips under his belt, plus two 20lbs+ Catfish (from Claydon Middle Lake) and a 6lbs Tench (Emberton Park) and had also insulted Eddie Turner - quality memories of a freezing January morning on Wilstone Res.
Benno - 1990 - Kilchurn Bay has a lot to answer for!
Obviously, during these early days, Benno was learning the basics - in the company of some other, very high profile, anglers. Alan Wilson, Bob Henderson, Vic Gillings, Kevin Maddocks, Bob Baldock, Eddie, Vic and Bill and so many, many more (I was serving time on the Executive Committee of NASA and was the R/O for The Chiltern Region - where Warren Gaunt started out!)

Live bait from the Grand Union Canal
Benno; aged 6.
An apprenticeship which has resulted in a young boy evolving into a
fully fledged "big fish" angler - "That's my boy!" 
How things have changed; since that fateful day in July 2010 when Benno suggested that we go back to Scotland for one last session! Bev will regret that "Yeah; go for it!" for the rest of her days - what a turn around in my world. Before May 2011 - birding was my main reason for getting up in the morning. Kent, Thanet in particular, being very well catered for in this respect. I have seen 348 species (plus umpteen racial variants) within the county boundaries, almost twice as many as I've seen in Hertfordshire despite the fact that I lived in that county for over 30 years! Kilchurn Bay 2011, the water shed moment, when angling, once again, took centre stage in my enjoyment of being outdoors. Birds and insects can never be ignored but, all of a sudden, it was the pursuit of freshwater fish (big fish) that became the driving influence, once again.
Benno was always on a "hiding to nothing" - even at the age of 6 he was on the sauce!
Having Les "Cuddly" Dudley, the two Mitchleks and Sye & me, as tutors - he should really be
a statistic on the "care in the community" register!
This time around I am not as "obsessed" to feel that every second should be focused on the pursuit (although I do have my moments) - fishing is now something that I enjoy (something that dovetails into the other aspects of my life) particularly when I'm spending time with Benno. Our relationship suffering as a direct casualty of my divorce from his mum and when normality goes "tits up" at the age of 15 - it is no great shock that the fall-out is disproportionate, to the reality, in one so young. A decade and a half later - everything in the garden is rosy - Benno and Bev get on fine; there are no "hidden agendas/skeletons" lurking in the shadows.
Benno learning the ropes on Startops Res. Tring. (1992)
Now it is me doing the learning; so much in angling has developed/evolved since 1993 that I find myself asking Ben for his opinion/advice. Even my brother Simon now asks Ben for an opinion when he is starting upon a new angling challenge - Benno and his mates are first class anglers. Just because they are young doesn't mean that they have nothing to offer, purely because they didn't undergo the same apprenticeship as previous generations. An analogy that could surely be applied to the modern birding scene? Us oldens seem unable to grasp the fact that the "new generation" don't need Latin names or time at an Observatory in order to obtain a huge list of birds. Modern technology, instant news, and ease of travel, means that anyone with aspirations to join the birding circus can do so with minimum qualifications. And "why not?" These are the next generation of patch watchers, county recorders and environmental custodians. Does it really matter what path they choose to get into the wonders of birding/natural history - twitching is simply a phase that needs to be experienced before age and other influences play a a role in any individuals life. For a few adrenaline junkies - twitching is everything, but for the vast majority, who find birding the focus of their interest, time will be the major factor. The simple process of getting old, the law of diminishing returns, all influences on an individual and are to be judged, as such, by that person. As a young man, married with two kids, I walked away from a £400/week job so that I could go fishing. Idiocy, irresponsible to a degree that I cannot explain, so I am in no position to offer advice to anyone - but I still do it! As I get older the crazier the world appears. There are some things that my head will not allow me to understand - bloody computers for one! In this digital age I am completely out of my depth, I lack the basic understanding of what it's all about - how it works? In "Blogland" I am not alone - the vast majority of the inhabitants are of my era, unable to keep up with the speed of technological advancement. Many of us guilty of nostalgia posts and intolerance of the "new kid on the block". Just as when I walked away from Kodak, in 1985, it is no point in me attempting to tell someone that "it's not important" because I now have that gift of experience. What is the point, what would I be attempting to do? Stop someone else learning the same lessons, enjoying the same crazy days as I enjoyed. Nothing is simple - getting old means that every funeral you attend you are closer to the front of the queue - now that is something that's worth remembering! Live every day as if it is your last - try to enjoy it in whatever manner you see fit! If someone asks your advice? Give it, but don't seek to impose your opinions, however valid, upon those less fortunate souls who have so much more time to experience - they'll get there in the end, although I probably won't be around to see it!
Here endeth the lesson.

1 comment:

  1. Yep, last paragraph so very true Dylan. I could learn from that myself...