Article - Coarse

The Diary of a Lake - Part Seventeen

By Mike, added on 10/03/2008

Stardate Captains Log; 4 March 2008


I don’t even know what happened. My foot never set foot on, or even touched the top of the joist, I missed it completely. I just dropped like a stone, straight through the bloody ceiling. All I can remember is looking down & seeing the plaster boards falling & smashing on the concrete floor. I landed on my right cheek of my backside, which broke the fall, then plopped through. My arms across the joists stopping me falling right through, my legs kicking wildly, running the Olympic 100m final going like the clappers. After the initial split second panic, I managed to compose myself & hoist myself back up to relative safety. I had a very sore rump for the next couple of days, but apart from that, only another of my lives had disappeared.

Sally & I were soon up on the trestles, nailing up three more plaster boards. Is it just me, or does everyone find it ridiculously difficult knocking nails in upside down? I feel like & I am sure look like, some kind of twisted, grunting hunch back.

Three days later I was out. Sally rang me on the mobile (to be free of these blessed devices is one of my lifetime ambitions. Oh…isn’t that Glen Morangie ad, where the guy tosses his mates mobile into the loch, just such a pleasure to see?!).

“Jonathan (the sparky) has fell through the ceiling”.

He was OK. He did not fall right through, just one flailing leg pushing down the plaster boards this time. More plaster boards to refit.

So to Saturday morning. I am working upstairs again, putting down floorboards. Sally suddenly appears.

“Just come to see if you’re ok. Just been a bit of a panic, one of Anies’s sons has just fell out of a tree”.

While chain sawing a branch off!

“He’s got a lump on his head, few scuffs & scratches & a lump on his arm”.

I couldn’t help myself;

“Did he go aarrrgghh as he fell?”

“No, it was just like a bundle of clothes falling down”

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There’s just no humour is there, she just didn’t get it. May be making light of a nasty situation is a ‘man thing’. Thankfully Sylvan was fine though.

Last weekend my son Matthew had told me he had seen this ‘little dolphin’ in a tiny pool, in between the main lake & my neighbour Rene’s place. On our boundary, behind a tall laurel hedge, was an overgrown pond around twenty yards by seven or eight yards wide. Water flows into this pool at the top end, then overflows into the main lake via a pipe under the bank at the bottom end. Following heavy rain, sometimes further water overflows into a tiny pool, then off down a ditch. Matthew told me he had spotted this ‘dolphin’ in the tiny pond. I thought it could only be a tench.

“It’s not a tench Dad”

It wasn’t a tench, it was a pike, all of eight inches or so long. When I first saw it, it was hanging motionless mid-water. How it got there – a complete mystery. However, think back to when we were reading Mr Crabtree. Imagine a water, dead tree branches hanging over the water & tree stumps lurking up from the dark depths. A pool where pike lived, harder to imagine. This main pond was such a place. The rudd population seemed to have been disappearing. Bingo, I had never seen any, but there must be pike in there, successful spawning pike too.

“Can we try & catch it Dad?” Matthew asked.

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So I set him a task to collect some worms during the week in his bucket & we would try & catch the little pike. If successful, would be Matthew’s first.

On Friday evening ‘Can we go fishing tomorrow Dad? I’ve got some worms’. Saturday morning, same again. After lunch Matthew & I set off on our mission. It’s a great feeling I think, walking along heading out fishing, with an enthusiastic apprentice at your side. I explained our plan; we would need to be very quiet, move very very slowly & do our best not to disturb the pike. We needed to get there without him knowing.

We got down through the laurel hedge & settled at the edge of the tiny pond. We started scanning the water, looking for our little dolphin friend. He was lying just off the bottom, at the deepest point of maybe two foot or so, perfectly in the shadow of a tree truck opposite. Matthew could hardly contain his excited. ‘Keep still, move very very slowly’ I kept saying ‘Lets not frighten him’.

I hooked on a medium sized worm, size 18, 2.6lb line, small orange tipped Drennan clear crystal waggler. Matthew plopped the worm over the pike, where the worm sank, wriggling, right over the pikes head. I expected the pike to make a snatch for the worm immediately, but it never moved. The worm draped itself over the back of the pikes head, wriggling as it dropped off the fish, falling onto the dead leaves on the bottom. The pike never flinched. I dropped the float a few inches. We plopped in again, this time the worm was wriggling mid water, directly level with the fish’s jaws. It never flinched.

“Maybe we need to aggravate him a little”

“Why Dad?”

Sometimes I find things which, things which you just know, things you have been taught & learnt over donkeys’ years, so difficult to explain to an innocent enquiring mind. I did the best I could. Click to enlarge

We dropped the worm in again, to the right of his post this time. Then slowly dragged the float across the surface. The worm wriggled past, passing just a few inches in front of the pike. Again, it never flinched. Matthew dropped in again…nothing. This was repeated several times while we watched absolutely fascinated. Nothing. One time, the worm dragged across the pikes back, the worm encircling his little girth…nothing, not the slightest movement. He held station, as if frozen in ice.

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I lifted the float this time, setting the depth a few inches deeper. One last try. ‘We will drop the worm infront of him, let him wriggle on the bottom & see what happens’. The worm, shot & float swung out & plopped in. We watched the worm once again wriggling as it fell slowly down, settling on the bottom. It settled maybe six inches to the left of the pikes jaws, writhing on the decaying leaves. We watched, staring at the pike, we motionless, the pike motionless, just hanging there, dorsal very slightly moving in a slight rhythmic flutter. All in a moment the fish turned sharply left & tipped downwards ‘he’s moving dad, he’s moving’. Then in a fraction of a second, the pike darted for the worm, snatched it & shot off left. With the rod lifting upwards, the wriggling pike swung in. We plopped him straight into the waiting bucket to a huge cheer ‘yehoo, we got him son’.

Sally appeared & Matthew proudly showed her his prize. Getting the hook out was a little tricky but the fish was soon released into a new & I hope, much more promising home. Next weekend I will go & see Rene & see if he can shed some light into the discovery of the dolphin.

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