When I think of the Norfolk Broads, two defining images always pop into my noggin. The first is an almost photo-real memory of sunrise; it is late April or early May and we’re on a school trip for a few days in big old cruisers which are crusted in a light frost after a chill night.
A distant windmill and a low line of reeds are silhouetted black against the vivid orange sky as the emerging sun burns away the night. It sounds like a stock photograph but it is burned on my 11-year-old memory.
The second recollection is a comedy video of the class clown hopping from one boat to the other before losing his footing on a piece of rope and plunging astern, head-first into the cold river. Hilarious.
After that initial exposure to our wonderful national treasure I’m ashamed to admit I spent precious little time out on the Broads until a few years ago. But recently we’ve had some great times out on the water.
Some well-heeled friends have a boat which we’ve been out on, we had a wonderful lunch on a wherry, kayaked around Hickling on Boxing Day and I even reacquainted myself with the noble pastime of angling for the first time since I was a 15-year-old.
A recent TV programme reminded me of the fun my friends Paul, Carl and I used to have back in the day, fishing in little rivers and ponds around the county with varying degrees of
success. Actually, for me it was with very little success; I was an adept hooker of trees, weeds and occasionally my trousers, while Paul and Carl would reel in roach, rudd, perch and pike in decent numbers.
The programme, Mortimer & Whitehouse; Gone Fishing was a little piece of gentle viewing where not much happens, but delightfully. Two old friends, comedians Bob and Paul, both having had serious health issues, pottered around Britain just yarning and fishing.
A couple of the episodes featured Norfolk, with the Wensum and Bintree Mill prominent, and for quite a lot of the time they were as successful at catching fish as me, which was gratifying. But it set me to thinking about the real pleasures of angling; the solitude, the taking a step back from the day-to-day hurly-burly, of just peaceably watching nature going about its business.
There are a couple of nice little lakes near our home; perhaps it is time to acquire some new fishing gear, get out there and get busy doing nothing. I probably wouldn’t even bait the hook, thus avoiding the disappointment of not catching anything.
Fishing can be great relaxation, especially if you don’t catch anything
DOMINIC CASTLE, Editor, EDP Norfolk Magazine 01603 772758/07725 201153, dominic.cas[email protected]chant.co.uk