Park Life: The one that wanted to get away

ENTHUSIASMS FADE easily when you are eight and, thankfully, my son Darcy seemed to have forgotten all about fishing in the excitement of Christmas and the holidays. It's not that I am particularly averse to this pastime - I try to encourage any interest that involves no violence, television or computers. But though dangling a line over the side of a boat or reclining by a stretch of cool water as the sun goes down may be summer perfection, matters are entirely different in the depths of a wet English winter. Few activities could be less alluring than huddling next to a green tent beside an urban pond on a grey day.

So I wasn't about to remind Darcy of his love of fishing, for a few months at least. But I reckoned without Greg, an electrician, jazz fan, Chelsea supporter and angling enthusiast who lives round the corner. Greg had dropped by to fix a couple of light sockets, and we were speculating on why so many electricians are keen anglers, like the father of Darcy's school friend who sometimes takes the boys out for the day.

All this talk reawakened the angler in Darcy, and in the days that followed he took up the refrain, "Dad, when can we go fishing?" I stalled for as long as I could. "You may not mind the cold, but the fish won't bite in this weather," I insisted, as if I would know. But last weekend I ran out of excuses, so we set off on The Fishing Expedition.

First stop was the angling shop, where Darcy spent a sizeable chunk of his personal savings on rod rests, floats, some hooks, some line, and a punnet of wriggling, pink-and-white maggots. We picked up some tips from the bloke who runs the shop, admired the photographs of regulars posing with their biggest catch in the front window, and pocketed various brochures advertising fishing courses and "Father and Son" family lessons at a lake near the M25. So far, I thought, quite a pleasant way to spend an afternoon.

Then, wellied and wrapped up against the elements (and me with a magazine to pass the time), we set off on the five-minute walk to the pond in our local park. My expansive mood came to an abrupt end, as it tends to, with the words, "Dad, can you set up my rod?" So I began the achingly tricky task of fastening on the hook with fingers that appeared to have swelled to twice their usual size.

Now came the float - another bodged job - followed by the weights, tiny split lead balls that have to be bitten on to the line. I lost a couple, but managed to avoid swallowing them. Finally, Darcy was ready to cast, and I rewarded myself by taking a perch on a park bench and opening my magazine. "Daaad, the geese. Oh no, I've caught one." And there was a big fat goose, which had swum over nosily hoping for a slice of stale bread, now tugging one grey foot that was attached to Darcy's line. I grabbed the rod and pulled. The goose pulled. The line broke.

As calmly as I could, I repeated the whole setting-up process, then returned to my seat and my magazine, while Darcy cast once more. "Daaad, the geese are back..." I was still reading my first paragraph as I sprinted, shouting at the top of my voice, back to the pond. "Dad, why are you swearing at the geese?" Darcy inquired, hugely amused at my stupidity. As if they would understand!

For once, I thanked heaven for the early winter evenings. "We'd better go now - it's getting too dark to see." Darcy had only had about five minutes' fishing, but it had taken us all afternoon. Perhaps it's time to book one of those Father and Son fishing lessons.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Elizabeth McGovern as Cora, Countess of Grantham and Richard E Grant as Simon Bricker

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Art
Arts and Entertainment
Diana Beard, nicknamed by the press as 'Dirty Diana'

Bake Off
Arts and Entertainment
The X Factor 2014 judges: Simon Cowell, Cheryl Cole, Mel B and Louis Walsh

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace was caught by a camera van driving 32mph over the speed limit

TV
Arts and Entertainment
books
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and the Dalek meet
tvReview: Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Arts and Entertainment
Star turns: Montacute House
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Iain reacts to his GBBO disaster

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Outlaw Pete is based on an eight-minute ballad from Springsteen’s 2009 Working on a Dream album

books
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012

film
Arts and Entertainment
Simon Cowell is less than impressed with the Strictly/X Factor scheduling clash

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Gothic revival: artist Dave McKean’s poster for Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination
Exhibition
Arts and Entertainment
Diana Beard has left the Great British Bake Off 2014

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Lisa Kudrow, Courtney Cox and Jennifer Anniston reunite for a mini Friends sketch on Jimmy Kimmel Live

TV
Arts and Entertainment
TVDessert week was full of the usual dramas as 'bingate' ensued
Arts and Entertainment
Clara and the twelfth Doctor embark on their first adventure together
TVThe regulator received six complaints on Saturday night
Arts and Entertainment
Vinyl demand: a factory making the old-style discs
musicManufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl
Arts and Entertainment
David Baddiel concedes his show takes its inspiration from the hit US series 'Modern Family'
comedyNew comedy festival out to show that there’s more to Jewish humour than rabbi jokes
Arts and Entertainment
Puff Daddy: One Direction may actually be able to use the outrage to boost their credibility

music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Chief inspector of GPs: ‘Most doctors don’t really know what bad practice can be like for patients’

    Steve Field: ‘Most doctors don’t really know what bad practice can be like for patients’

    The man charged with inspecting doctors explains why he may not be welcome in every surgery
    Stolen youth: Younger blood can reverse many of the effects of ageing

    Stolen youth

    Younger blood can reverse many of the effects of ageing
    Bob Willoughby: Hollywood's first behind the scenes photographer

    Bob Willoughby: The reel deal

    He was the photographer who brought documentary photojournalism to Hollywood, changing the way film stars would be portrayed for ever
    Hollywood heavyweights produce world's most expensive corporate video - for Macau casino

    Hollywood heavyweights produce world's most expensive corporate video - for Macau casino

    Scorsese in the director's chair with De Niro, DiCaprio and Pitt to star
    Angelina Jolie's wedding dress: made by Versace, designed by her children

    Made by Versace, designed by her children

    Angelina Jolie's wedding dressed revealed
    Anyone for pulled chicken?

    Pulling chicks

    Pulled pork has gone from being a US barbecue secret to a regular on supermarket shelves. Now KFC is trying to tempt us with a chicken version
    9 best steam generator irons

    9 best steam generator irons

    To get through your ironing as swiftly as possible, invest in one of these efficient gadgets
    'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

    'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

    US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
    Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

    A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

    Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
    Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

    James Frey's literary treasure hunt

    Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
    Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

    Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

    What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
    Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

    Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

    Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
    Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

    The big names to look for this fashion week

    This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
    Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

    'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

    Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
    Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

    Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

    Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing