Annalisa Barbieri

Aside from The Independent, Annalisa Barbieri writes for the Economist's Intelligent Life magazine, and the New Statesman. A former contributing editor of the Independent on Sunday and fishing correspondent of the Independent, she is also patron of Rights of Women

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Call of wild Dartmoor brownie beckons the best back to the Meavy

It was one of those impromptu afternoons we can only dream about in the centre of London; a couple of hours to kill and fishing a 10 minute drive away.

Fishing: Q: When is a river not a river? A: When the Italians have conserved it in concrete

I am just returned from southern Italy where, regularly, the temperatures were minus seven. This was just the temperature on my aunt's balcony, inside it wasn't much warmer. My aunt lives like a throwback to the Spartan regime. There was no heating at all between the hours of 9am and 4pm and, for two days, no heating whatsoever due to some boiler upset. Because Italian houses aren't built for the winter, with their freezing cold tiled floors, I regularly went outside to get warm.

The bank-side art of answering nature's call with dignity

It's taken me years to pluck up the courage for this subject but pluck I must. Toilet matters and fishing: not the easiest of combinations.

On Fishing: Sometimes the teacher can learn something from the pupil

"What about that one then?" said I, pointing to a fly whose name I wasn't sure of. "No, that one won't work," said one of my two companions, as they carried on 'rhubarb, rhubarb, rhubarbing' about tactics. "I might try me a dry fly," I said. They both looked up, as if I had chosen that moment to ask if either fancied a lap dance. A small stare of derision: "There's nothing rising." And eyes down again to chat about what to put on. In the meantime, I put my little fly on and started to fish. Splash. A fish. "Was that a fish?" asked one. "Yes," I replied. "And he rose to the dry?" I nodded. I waited. But there was no fanfare of how clever my tactics were.

Waiting in vain for a glimpse of salmon

Years ago if someone had told me that one day two grown men, one woman and a child would have to drag me away from pressing my nose up against thick glass and staring obsessively at the murky water beyond - in the hope of seeing a fish streak pass - I would have snorted.

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