Fishing Lines

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The Independent Online

Make a point of dropping by the 'Classic Angling' stand if you're coming to this week's CLA Game Fair*. See if you recognise the smart, distinguished-looking chap chatting knowledgeably about split-cane rods, leather creels and antique reels. "Why, it can't be Keith Elliott! That fellow's far too unrumpled!"

I love the Game Fair: the noise, the colour, the huge array of stands, the hundreds of dogs all far better behaved than my own. It's also an ideal place to boost subs for my magazine.

Despite its superb quality and brilliant writing, 'Classic Angling' comes as a bigger secret than the location of a 70lb carp to most fishermen, because I forget aboutboring little things likemarketing. My only token stab in this direction is the Game Fair. Even then, everything's a rush, so I'm always too late to book a hotel in the same county.

This usually means setting up a tent. Great fun when you're 20 years old, less fun in your twilight days, especially when you've just spent three hours on the Irish Tourist Board stand, being plied with Bushmills.

That's why I usually end up snoring in my car, and why, after three days merry-making, I look as if I've just come back from sleeping rough at Glastonbury.

Not any more, though. This year, I'm joining the jet set and staying in a luxury motorhome.

I always thought that turning up in an RV would immediately label me as a pikey. That was until I saw the Einagh Baron 37, which Marquis Suffolk, God bless 'em, are somewhat unwisely lending me for a week.

If you thought these things were a bit like a caravan with wheels, think again. The Baron is seriously luxurious, and bigger than my first two London flats. It also means I can hang up my shirts and suits, rather than using them as pillows.

This is quite important, because the weekend'shighlight is an invitation to 'The Field' party, a highly exclusive affair that attracts the great and good. (Theeditor, Jonathan Young, asked to describe the difference between his magazine and 'Country Life', saidsniffily: " 'Country Life' is for people who live in the country. The Field is for people who own the country.")

'The Field' carries a few pages of pictures each issue, a sort of upmarket 'Hello!', showing tweedy peoplesipping from stirrup cups or gazing into the distance,seeing if they can spot their estate boundaries. Out of a sense of mischief, Young (nicknamed Johnny Posh, a monicker he rather enjoys) likes to slip a picture of me at the Game Fair party into Faces in The Field. I'mnot hard to spot, looking wildly crumpled, as if I've slept in my suit (which I probably have).

But now, thanks to my pop-star residence, I shall be able to shower and shave, flick through my wardrobe and decide which outfit best suits the evening. Dark and daring? Suave and sophisticated? Usually, it's the one with fewest curry stains.

I'm already thinking about next year. Do you think ahelicopter arrival would be just a teeny bit brash?

*Classic Angling is at stand M0902. The Game Fair takes place at Harewood House, near Leeds, from 27-29 July

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