I've been doing a lot of writing, just lately. It doesn't require Inspector Morse to deduce, from the lack of posts, it hasn't been aligned to blogging but, fear ye not, the blog remains central to an exchanging of opinions and sharing my spin on events. It's just that I have sought to push myself beyond this comfort zone, attempting to create chapters, assisting the club secretary with a "newsletter" project and there's also some stuff that I'm hoping to get published in the angling press. To be honest, it's been rather good fun, just sitting at the laptop and seeing where a topic leads me. I have no preconceived plans, other than I want to write, and I am happy to wander off at tangents to wherever the subject matter takes me.
One recurring theme, during this exercise, has been my involvement with pike angling and how much it has changed since that first encounter, almost fifty years ago! Holy shit, that's a proper reality slap! - nearly half a century has passed and I was already well into my teens when I caught that first one. Now this's proper scary territory. How is it possible that so much time's elapsed and yet, seemingly, I've achieved so little? I suppose it's "a cup half full or half empty?" sort of issue. What was I mean't to achieve and why? Anyway, who sits in judgement, more importantly, what possible reason would anyone else have in assessing my life when their own would, undoubtedly, be similarly flawed? We're only human after all. So this thought process has to lead back to me, and what I've aspired to, as I meander along life's highway. Three stages of an angler's evolution? No way, my life has been far more skewed than this simplistic analysis, and I find that rather comforting, in a very perverse sort of way. It's a confirmation that I've remained true to my beliefs, never sold out and maintained individuality (as anyone can do) within the constraints of modern society in the UK.
It was whilst I was working on a manual packing bay, I actually realised that over half of the period, which has been catalyst to these thought processes, have elapsed since I moved to Kent! Utter madness, I still think of myself as a Hemel lad yet the numbers suggest otherwise. Funny thing is that Bev & I have no plans of going anywhere else, hence the bungalow redevelopment project, my kids are both Kent educated and, now adults, happily settled in the county, as is Bev's daughter. All our grand-kids were born in Kent. My rediscovery of the thrills of specimen hunting have been, holidays in Scotland apart, within the county boundaries. In fact, the best bird watching/twitching and most rewarding (although not, necessarily, exciting), big fish, angling I've ever experienced has taken place within a forty mile radius of our present home. How did fate play a role in my relocation from Hertfordshire to Kent? I owe a great debt to Unilever for their support during 1993 and also Maggie Thatcher (for whom I feel nothing) due to the council house tenants "right to buy" policy of her time in government. Working for Brooke Bond Oxo at that time, redundancy was an option, allowing me to remain in Hertfordshire, but off-set by two job transfer offers. The first was to remain within Brooke Bond and move to Manchester, where they had a new factory at Trafford Park, the other was to join Batchelor's at their Ashford factory and, therefore, move to Kent. Crazy as it may seem, today, bird watching was the main consideration for this relocation, thus, "The Garden of England" won hands down and the rest, as they say, is now part of my history. That individual journey - the unique adventure which has delivered me to here and now. There are many thoughts spinning around in my head, some of which might, hopefully, result in further blogging, others destined for oblivion, or beyond? I've just finished for the Christmas break, after a month of 55 hr weeks (5 x 11 hr shifts) - brilliant for the bank balance - shite if you seek big perch (fish) However, such things are for me to judge and of no relevance to others, except Bev, perhaps?
Sixty-three and now in a position where I can go to work because I want to, as opposed to have to, life is great. Money is a tool, not a master or God, which I am able to control rather than the opposite. Before Dad left this mortal coil, he said to me "work for as long as you are able" - he worked until he was 74, Bev's dad worked until he was 78, both happy for the independence and interaction it provided. I'm planning on quitting when I reach 66 - so three years to go. The beauty of my situation is if I wake up, one morning, and think I've had enough then I can walk away - no prob! My notice being two fingers as I walk out the door - what could possibly happen? They'd put me on a disciplinary - a warning? I might get the sack? At sixty-three, am I likely to be bothered? Like I said at the beginning of this post - I've just started writing stuff and seeing where it goes, this post is typical of where it's led me. I suppose I should have attached a pike photo, somewhere, but can't be arsed! There will be more before Christmas - keep the faith.