Friday, 29 January 2010

Dreams Go By

It is often said that 'fishing floats catch more anglers than fish." I know this is true because I have a lot of fishing friends who buy a new float every time they go into a tackle shop. I'm glad to say that I've never fallen prey to this addiction because I've always made my own. However, I now find myself with a problem. The main material of which I once had plenty, now seems to have become a rare commodity. Sarkandas reed is the stuff I'm talking about. It's great for making wagglers and I once bought a great bundle of it from my local tackle shop. The floats have lasted me for ages but some are looking a bit tired and the paint is flaking off. I thought it was time to make a few more for myself but I cannot find any sarkandas reed anywhere, not even on the Internet. For those who are interested in making their own floats, here is a sketch of how to make one of the wagglers that I've used successfully for many years.

More information and instructions on how to make one of these floats can be found in my book, Fishing: Learn from the Tips & Laugh at the Tales.
If you can get you hands on some sakandas reed it worth making a few because these floats are real winners. Perhaps you'll also let me know where I can get some.
Please feel free to download a sample of my book here.
Okay sorry if It seems that I've been neglecting you writers a bit but that is going to change. We will over the next few posts get down to the nitty gritty of becoming a writer. I will tell you about the pitfalls that can trap us all and where you can waste a lot of time.
Okay, so where does one start on that path to becoming a writer. You don't know who to send what to and how to present your work. You are probably also scared that people might laugh at what you've written. You may have already written loads of stuff but don't let anybody see it in case the reaction is not favourable and your cozy little bubble gets burst.
The only way out of this is to make a start and there is no better place than the letters column of a newspaper or magazine. Yes I know that a lot of you will think that writing letters is what sad old duffers do and you want to write bigger and better things.
Well all I can say is, 'we've all got to start somewhere.' Perhaps it's time to stop shilly shallying about and give it a bash. You can always make a start on your novel next week. The first thing to do is to check out the letters page in your newspapers and magazines and put the contact addresses into your e-mail contact address book. This is so that you don't have to waste time looking them up and typing them in every time you want to write a letter. Now you can knock something out very quickly and not only might you see your name in print you may also get paid or win a prize and that can't be bad can it? With every letter you write your confidence will grow and if there is one thing that will stand you in good stead in the writing business it's a barrow load of confidence.In my next post I'll give you a bit more information on how to make sure your letter writing efforts are successful.
In my last post I mentioned that I had always longed to take a Holiday on a canal boat but couldn't find a stretch of canal long enough without locks. I didn't want to be mauling lock gates after my heart attack and neither my wife or I fancied being in a deep lock with all that water cascading about the place.
I'd given up finding somewhere where when out of the blue came an e-mail from my son Gary. He'd been looking at my blog and after reading my plight told me about the Lancaster canal which offered 40 miles of lock free cruising. He also sent me a link to a narrow boat hire firm so all was looking good.
At that point I was a happy chappy, not only had my son sent me an e-mail, but he might have also fixed me up with the holiday of my dreams.
How foolish was I? we all know that life isn't that simple. I checked out the canal and it looked good but no matter how deep I searched I couldn't find more than 3 firms on that canal who hire out boats.
One didn't take pets.
One was fully booked for the month I wanted to go
The other didn't have boats that were small enough for just me and my wife. These things are expensive enough without paying for too many extra births. So once again I was thwarted and had even began a search for bits of canal with just a few locks, well that was until my wife sat down that very evening and saw an article in the local paper. It told about a woman who was on a boating holiday and was tragically killed when she fell off the back of the boat whilst negotiating a lock. Apparently she had been killed by the propellers and left her family who had watched the incident absolutly devestated. It must have been terrible and my sympathy goes out to them. Anyway my wife pointed it out to me and I knew then that any dreams I had of a canal holiday where locks were involved were over.
The late but great Harry Chapin wrote a brilliant song called, "Dreams go by" I recalled the words and realised I should have followed this particular dream when I was younger.
By the way if there is anybody out there with a narrowboat sitting somewhere along the side of the Lancaster Canal and they don't mind letting it out to a couple of careful, clean and tidy and old codgers, I would love to hear from them. I'll leave you with another picture of the canal at Tyrley Locks and I'll go and listen to Harry. Oh and if you are reading this blog Gary, thanks for trying.

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