Memories of home-made midnight feasts in late afternoon

I do so hanker after days of old - I know life was terrible then if you didn't have money –
plus ca change – but in my imagination I would have money, you see.

I do so hanker after days of old. I know life was terrible then if you didn't have money – plus ca change – but in my imagination I would have money, you see. And I'd be constantly invited to country house parties. The sort where you go fishing, but stop for chats and drinks and snacks (all carried and served by someone else). I know that some people love fishing alone, but I like solitude with company – and the picnic basket – never very far away.

Most fishing trips aren't like that (although I do try to recreate that country house atmosphere). There's maybe two of you with sandwiches and flasks all held together in quite ugly, but functional, bags. And you have to serve yourself. That said, I have had some wonderful riverbank feasts. My first was courtesy of Lainston House where a picnic was provided in a hamper and there was proper food on plates and a table on which to eat it all. Then there have been various fine picnics on the bank of the Coln, provided by Mrs and Mrs Cotton, often involving home-made pork pies that always makes the heart sing. One such picnic was particularly splendid as we ate it among the meadow flowers and it was all a bit moving. Then there was the time some years ago fishing with Oliver Edwards when we had a barbecue involving lots of sausages, then berries and cream. Most recently Charles Jardine cooked up a smorgasbord of delights one lunchtime. This meal was all the finer for knowing I had caught more fish than he (he triumphed by the end of the day, but at lunchtime I was still champion).

And, just last summer, I was invited, thanks to lovely Dave of the Launceston Fishing Club and Bob, Endsleigh's fishery manager, to Joel's Corner Pool on the Endsleigh beat of the Tamar. Endsleigh is a hotel in Devon, the sort that instantly makes you lower your voice when you enter the lobby made of all wood and poshness. We drove down to the river and stopped right at the beat. No traipsing across fields. Lovely. On the shingle beach there was a fire going with perfectly sawed logs puffing black smoke into the afternoon air. Bob was already there setting up a kelly kettle and a barbecue to celebrate the arrival of the seatrout. There were various other people, men, women and children. (I realised with some sadness that I'd never been fishing with children before.) All manner of food was coming out. It was like an Enid Blyton midnight feast, except it was still late afternoon.

Added to this the beats were magnificent. I fished one methodically and – considering my Spey casting ain't that great – not at all badly. It was lovely to be fishing alone, but able to hear people not far away; not to mention the smell of food cooking. After about an hour of fishing, I got out and made my way back to the shingle beach. Would I like a drink or a snack? Yes please. I had a good chat with the others, one of the women and I lamenting the lack of women's size waders (she'd had hers made for her). Then I went off to fish the beat further upstream. By this stage it was getting dark which was prime time for the seatrout to start biting. Unfortunately, being the girl that I am, I was getting cold. It was at that moment Bob called out that dinner was ready so I got out, all creaky from the cold and standing still for so long and scrambled up the bank. A fine seatrout was on the grill that I left for the non-meat eaters among the group, while I attempted to establish a national record for eating sausages in waders. The children were fishing on, quite oblivious to hunger, cold or water depth. One had caught six brown trout.

This being summer it was about 10 o'clock. We all chatted merrily. I watched the boys fish with some admiration. What determination they showed. Before we knew it, it was really late and pitch black. My boyfriend, always more intrepid than I, had gone back in the river further upstream and had caught himself two seatrout (both of which went back). Everyone had gone now except for kind Dave who had stayed to show us the way back on to the road. We switched on our car lights to take off our waders, our fingers slightly stiff with cold. Hundreds of bugs flew into the dusty light of the tail-lamps, which took us by surprise and we must have swallowed half-a-dozen as an impromptu dessert. Somehow it didn't matter; after such a perfect evening's fishing, nothing much did.

a.barbieri@independent.co.uk

Voices
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm tomorrow
Arts and Entertainment
Mark Wright has won The Apprentice 2014
tvThe Apprentice 2014 final
Arts and Entertainment
X Factor winner Ben Haenow has scored his first Christmas number one
music
News
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond in the Top Gear Patagonia Special
tv
News
File: James Woods attends the 52nd New York Film Festival at Walter Reade Theater on September 27, 2014
peopleActor was tweeting in wake of NYPD police shooting
News
Claudia Winkleman and co-host Tess Daly at the Strictly Come Dancing final
people
Extras
indybest
News
peopleLiam Williams posted photo of himself dressed as Wilfried Bony
Sport
Martin Skrtel heads in the dramatic equaliser
SPORTLiverpool vs Arsenal match report: Bandaged Martin Skrtel heads home in the 97th-minute
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Telesales & Customer Service Executives - Outbound & Inbound

£7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...

Recruitment Genius: National Account Manager / Key Account Sales

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for a...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity to join...

Recruitment Genius: Recruitment Consultant

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We have an excellent role for a...

Day In a Page

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick