Fishing Lines: Hooked and gift trapped

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The Independent Online
AS YOU read this, I shall be recuperating from a marriage made in heaven (not mine, I hasten to add). But fine though the wedding of Jonathan Young, editor of the Field, to his deputy editor, Caroline Bankes, will undoubtedly be, it is not the celebrations from which I shall be recovering. It is the agony of selecting a gift for a couple who may not have everything, but will have little difficulty acquiring the few missing items.

In normal circumstances, I could probably call in favours from a few select friends and arrange a day's angling on a Scottish river or Hampshire chalk stream. But what's the point? Young's desk must be littered with such invitations. You can imagine the scene when he opens the post: 'Oh God, not another invite to fish the Test]'

There is the same difficulty with books or equipment. A hand-built rod or reel would delight almost all my friends - but because even the best makers see kudos from having the Field editors use their gear the pair are sure to have a garageful of exclusive tackle.

I thought for a while about His and Hers monogrammed green wellies. They could offer interesting possibilities on honeymoon. Ideally, I would have liked to have bought a small field, but that is impossible to wrap and way outside my price range. A bag of grass seed is closer to my pocket.

I wish I was better at fly-tying. A set of salmon or trout flies, perhaps with suitable names recalling specific incidents in their romance (Hampshire Damsel, Jonathan's Fancy, Caroline's Indispensable, that sort of thing) would have just the right touch. But my efforts look like escapees from a pillow factory.

I cannot bring myself to pick something off the official wedding list. A set of spoons or a toaster just does not have that personal touch. Antiques with a piscatorial leaning would be ideal. I saw a very nice George III tea caddy with engraved fish. Perfect. Such a pity that the price was a mere pounds 25,000. I don't like them that much.

The best idea I have had so far is a brace of koi carp. If I chose carefully there could soon be the splash of tiny fins. Unfortunately, the forecast is very warm and kois are poor travellers. Such exotic specimens will certainly not take kindly to spending hours in their polythene bags under endless cut-glass vases, woks and spice racks. And I do not think Jonathan would appreciate spending his honeymoon digging a garden pond.

A subscription to Country Life? They might not appreciate the joke. One of the litter just sired by my hooligan springer spaniel Bracken? They would never speak to me again. Unless inspiration strikes me in the next two hours, they will probably end up with a framed copy of this article.

A fine mixed entry for the fishy songs competition. If it had been on quantity, Stockport's Roy Davenport would surely have won with efforts such as 'Hake, Rattle and Roll'. Highly commendeds to those who offered 'Alex Zander's Ragtime Band' and 'Vendace Done', but T Burgess of Scarborough takes the prize for the excruciating 'Whale Kipper Whelk Home in the Eelsides'. A suitable prize is on its way.

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