THE OLD MAN AND THE SAND EEL

Countryfile Magazine - - Lazy Days - Kevin Parr, au­thor and fish­er­man

WILL MILLARD PEN­GUIN VIK­ING , £14.99

“It’s catch­ing, not fish­ing,” his grand­fa­ther chided as Will Millard boasted of his lat­est carp fish­ing ex­ploits. Fish caught from over­stocked com­mer­cial pools, where the banks are sculpted and the un­der­growth neatly clipped, is a wholly dif­fer­ent world to the Fen­land drains and rivers where Will’s grand­fa­ther had taken him as a child.

Fol­low­ing his grand­fa­ther’s death, Will be­gins his an­gling odyssey afresh. He casts for dif­fer­ent species in var­i­ous places, with a clear, more open-minded per­spec­tive. As he rekin­dles his love for an­gling, so he learns more about him­self.

His aware­ness of the en­vi­ron­ment and eye for wildlife res­onated as I read, and Will writes with a gen­uine sense of hu­mil­ity. He is well scarred from a life of trav­el­ling and ex­plo­ration, but is wiz­ened from his ex­pe­ri­ences. He avoids drift­ing too deep into mem­oir, and re­lates with hu­mour and re­flec­tion.

A close shave with poach­ers in the depths of West Africa is only men­tioned be­cause a night be­side a canal be­hind Wat­ford Gap Ser­vices has prompted the rem­i­nisce. Will has a great depth of knowl­edge but is also self-aware and happy to walk more care­fully the paths down which he once ran.

I of­ten judge an an­gling book as I would a day’s fish­ing. If, half-way through, I couldn’t care if an­other fish is caught, then I know the re­main­ing hours will be a plea­sure. As a re­sult, too many books sit on my shelves half-read – this is not one of them.

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