SOME­WHERE ALONG THE WAY

Carpworld - - EDITORIAL -

‘The clock struck twelve as I crept down­stairs, try­ing hard not to wake the kids. The wife lay in bed smok­ing. “That’s the way to leave them,” I thought to my­self. Af­ter say­ing chee­rio to the dog I packed the rods and goaded the old banger into life.

It was an hour and a half be­fore I reached the mo­tor­way. The old banger was cough­ing and splut­ter­ing and sounded like the en­gine was full of rusty nails, but progress was be­ing made all the same. My mind drifted back to an in­ci­dent at school ear­lier in the week in­volv­ing Kath, my el­dest daugh­ter. They had been shown a film about re­cy­cling, af­ter which var­i­ous ques­tions were asked.

“What hap­pens,” asked the teacher, “to old cars when they are no longer road­wor­thy and just a heap of scrap?” Quick as a flash Kath put her hand up. “They sell them to my dad.” I don’t know if the an­swer came from wit or in­no­cence but I guess it was about right all the same.

Still think­ing about the kids I re­mem­bered the last time I ar­rived home from a fish­ing trip. Emma, my youngest, was knock­ing on the door of the house next to ours. “Ex­cuse me but could I have a look in your gar­den, I think our tor­toise has jumped over the fence.” The fence around the gar­den hap­pens to be about six feet high!

Pass­ing Stam­ford I re­alised I was now over 100 miles from home. The wife thought I was just go­ing down to the lo­cal lake for a cou­ple of days but I had, on im­pulse, de­cided to go down to a lake in Kent where I had fished the pre­vi­ous sum­mer. At that time in 1969 the lake in the Faver­sham area pro­duced few fish but those that did come out were usu­ally big­gies.

Feel­ing a bit tired I pulled into a lay-by for a cup of cof­fee. Reach­ing into the back for the flask I was shaken to find I’d for­got­ten it, along with my snap tin and my money! No grub, no drink and no money; hell! Af­ter fran­ti­cally search­ing

through my pock­ets, the glove com­part­ments, un­der the rug and be­hind the seats I came up with the princely sum of £1, enough for day tick­ets and a gal­lon and a half of petrol. On the rough cal­cu­la­tion I made I thought I could just about get down there and back again on the avail­able petrol. Still, no grub; that was the bug­bear. Now any nor­mal per­son would have turned round and gone home, but not me. I de­cided I could do to lose a bit of weight, any­way.

Even­tu­ally I made the lake around seven in the morn­ing. Forty-eight hours and one fish later I gave up. Hunger had beaten me. I reeled in my pota­toes and ate them. For the record, the fish went 18½lb, my only fish from the wa­ter, although I have some­how been ac­cred­ited with at least one twenty ac­cord­ing to lo­cal carp men.

Twenty miles from home I ran out of petrol and had to hitch-hike the rest of the jour­ney. But I still thought it had been worth it. My im­pulse had paid off.’

“What hap­pens,” asked the teacher, “to old cars when they are no longer road­wor­thy and just a heap of scrap?” Quick as a flash Kath put her hand up. “They sell them to my dad.”

BE­LOW ‘On im­pulse, I de­cided to go down to a lake in Kent where I had fished THE pre­vi­ous sum­mer’

ABOVE The Blues Broth­ers, Mil­le­nium 2000. Rod with his mate and fel­low mu­sic ad­dict Mally Roberts: “Can you make my nose look smaller?”

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