Fishing Lines: Phew, what a scorcher in Siberia

Off to the Flyfishers' Club to celebrate Alan Suttie's sterling efforts. He's been the prime mover in bringing life (and fish) back into the River Wandle, the Thames tributary that was the heart of the Industrial Revolution. But the formal dinner soon degenerated, and turned into an evening of tall stories - none of which could match the real-life adventures of Steve Edge, a designer for companies such as Marks & Spencer, Dior and Fortnum & Mason.

So this being (almost) Christmas, traditional time of some of the finest stories ever told, I can do no better than give you the tale of Steve and the Iceberg.

He had gone after salmon on Russia's River Varguza, where the fishing is great but the weather can be bitter. On Russian fishing camps, whisky-drinking is compulsory. But their Canadian guide said: "Enough of this faggot stuff," and fetched a dubious bottle of colourless liquid. He poured it into what Steve described as a two-pint wineglass, set it, Sambuca-like, on fire - and downed it in one go. "Anyone else man enough to try it?" he asked. Steve, being Steve, was first to try - and set his hair and trousers on fire, singeing much of his wild mop and burning off both his eyebrows.

The next morning, scorched but unbowed, he was allocated one of the real hot-spots. It's a scary place, right on a fast-flowing bend with a vast ice-wall opposite. Huge chunks of ice were floating downriver. Steve is a featherweight, so he was nervous about going much further than waist-deep in case he ended up in the Barents Sea. However, his determination to catch a salmon soon saw him edging deeper, until he was fishing almost to the top of his chest-waders.

It paid off, and he hooked a salmon. As he was playing the fish, however, a huge wedge of ice came floating downriver. Steve, who was facing downstream, didn't see it until too late. It knocked him right off his feet.

If his guide had not been nearby, Steve would have drowned. "In that cold water, they say you have a maximum of seven minutes," Steve was told. He was hauled out in agony, with five cracked ribs and bruises everywhere. He had lost his rod, reel, tackle and the salmon, but he was alive.

Somehow, he made it to the end of the trip. The flights home were hell, and when his doctor saw him, he sent him straight to hospital. Steve got to St Bart's at 9am for an X-ray and to have his ribs strapped up properly. When he arrived, the waiting room was already packed. But within a few minutes, the intercom called out "Steve Edge". Ignoring the angry stares of the early risers, he limped into the consulting room.

Curious as to why he had jumped the queue, Steve questioned the consultant. "This one's going on my wall," was the reply. "I see a guy limping, with five busted ribs, both eyebrows missing and his hair burnt, and his medical report says: 'Hit by an iceberg'.

"I've got to know: where the hell did you get hit by an ice- berg in London, yet get your hair and eyebrows burnt at the same time?"

A happy (iceberg-free) Christmas to all readers.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
The Queen and the letter sent to Charlie
Arts and Entertainment
Eurovision Song Contest 2015
EurovisionGoogle marks the 2015 show
Two lesbians hold hands at a gay pride parade.
peopleIrish journalist shares moving story on day of referendum
Arts and Entertainment
<b>Kathryn Williams</b>
When I was supporting Ray La Montagne I was six months pregnant. He had been touring for a year and he was exhausted and full of the cold. I was feeling motherly, so I would leave presents for him and his band: Tunnock's Tea Cakes, cold remedies and proper tea. Ray seemed painfully shy. He hardly spoke, hardly looked at you in the face. I felt like a dick speaking to him, but said "hi" every day. </p>
He was being courted by the same record company who had signed me and subsequently let me go, and I wanted him to know that there were people around who didn't want anything from him. At the Shepherds Bush Empire in London, on the last night of the tour, Ray stopped in his set to thank me for doing the support. He said I was a really good songwriter and people should buy my stuff. I was taken aback and felt emotionally overwhelmed. Later that year, just before I had my boy Louis, I was l asleep in bed with Radio 4 on when Louis moved around in my belly and woke me up. Ray was doing a session on the World Service. </p>
I really believe that Louis recognised the music from the tour, and when I gave birth to him at home I played Ray's record as something that he would recognise to come into the world with. </p>
booksKathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
Liz Kendall played a key role in the introduction of the smoking ban
newsLiz Kendall: profile
Life and Style
techPatent specifies 'anthropomorphic device' to control media devices
The PM proposed 'commonsense restrictions' on migrant benefits
voicesAndrew Grice: Prime Minister can talk 'one nation Conservatism' but putting it into action will be tougher
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?