Country mouse on catching trout

Wasps have taken over an old mouse hole in a bank at the end of the orchard and will have to be dealt with (any ideas?) before the fruit starts to ripen; the honeybees are nowhere to be seen despite the borage, one of their favourite flowers, being in full bloom.

Rather like the bees, trout have not crossed my path with any frequency this summer. My first outing was a disaster, when I came stone last in the famous one-fly competition; next up was F. M. Halford’s legendary beat on the River Test at Mottisfont, probably the single most hallowed slice of river in the world.

The mayfly were hatching, too. But, incredibly, the trout decided to eat something else. I never discovered what. Fortunately, a wonderful lunch at the Peat Spade, the best pub on the river, dulled the near panic at my inability to snag a trout. Then last week, I found myself in a boat on a lake with my dear old friend John Humphreys.

The conditions for fishing were dire under a blazing sun, but we caught half a dozen between us. Fishing is an enigma, but that is why we go fishing rather than catching.