Monday, 1 June 2009

In which we go fishing and nearly catch the lesser spotted despair

I am very tired of this long weekend, which appears to be set on a downward trajectory ending in a car crash of a barbecue at the neighbours' where our children have been swearing like navvies and breaking the neighbour's blue eyed boy. It is really very very long indeed, with Fingers determined to pierce all our eardrums, and Lashes, by some odd quirk, having apparently become stone deaf. It seems to be more than mere wilful selective hearing. I have tried creeping up behind him and saying "Would you like a packet of Pokémon cards, and perhaps €100?" and he still doesn't react. He has probably been shoving polystyrene chips up there or something. Don't think I have forgotten the time he shoved a pen top up his nose and we had to see 4 doctors in the space of an hour to get the damn thing out. The boy has Previous.

Anyway, I am getting distracted. I believe what I was trying to say is that I have reached the point where I would very much like us all to be doing what we normally do on a Monday, even if that involves me fighting with a packet of mince in a dispirited fashion. Monday, I miss you! Come back! Now I have learnt to appreciate the bounteous solitude that you bring. Enough of that, though. I imagine you are all desperate to hear about fishing. You are, aren't you? I can tell.

First disappointment: I have no photos. Sorry.

Second disappointment - actually, less of a disappointment than a fishing trip fail: we (rather, they) did not catch any fish. I did get to watch various fish related atrocities though (this is the pontypines punishing me, isn't it? ) - wizened old men beating fish to death, monosyllabic youths putting live fish in the back of their car and driving them slowly and mystifyingly round the lake several times, many pictures of proud men holding giant sea monsters. There was even an odd fishing lake ceremony where, when you pay your €32, the horny handed son of toil who works there goes and fishes five fish out of the lake, shows, you them in a ritual fashion, then throws them back in in front of you. What???

Here the disappointments end. Maybe. I am numb, and cannot quite recall. Here is what I do recall:

- the CFO's frankly ludicrous suggestion that there might be a WiFi connection at the smallest fishing lake in Flanders proved to be as nonsensical as it had originally sounded. I can't believe I actually fell for it and brought my laptop along. I am far from sure they have running water out there, let alone mains electricity.

- I did not need to be there at all; indeed, I would go so far as to say that it is No Place For A Woman. It was full of silent men in their 50s with baseball caps and thermos flasks. Noone required my presence even slightly; the CFO stood meditatively by his fishing rods in reverent silence, whilst the spawn poked tadpoles. Even the weepette was relatively gainfully occupied hiding cravenly from a pack of very very tiny and shrill guinea pig sized dogs. I read my book (grim and nowhere near as redemptive as the back cover tried to tell me) and watched fish crimes. It was not up there with my best mornings ever, but I must give it its due and say it provided for extremely low impact parenting. Due to some genetic quirk, the spawn appear to be able to amuse themselves in a field/lake type environment for a number of hours. They decidedly did not get this from me. A couple of minutes and I am twitchy.

- the CFO kept gleefully comparing it with Disneyland. "C'est pas Eurodisney!" he would wander over and say to me every ten minutes or so. Looking round at the Jupiler beer branded yellow plastic chairs I was sticking to, the gang of balding guinea pig dogs, the paunchy fisherfolk of Flanders sitting on their collapsible stools, the pocket hankerchief sized lake with its five ceremonial fish per customer, I was able to agree wholeheartedly with his assertion.

- By the time we got home most of the laboriously collected frogs and tadpoles were looking a little, comment dire, fatigued. I very much look forward to disposing of their tiny corpses tomorrow to the accompaniment of a two man greek chorus of woe.

In sum, I am adding fishing to the long list of things I thought I would never be seen dead doing that I have ended up, against my better judgment, engaging in. Given that the list also includes: going to Macdonalds on a semi-regular basis, playing video games, holding a handful of writhing live maggots, going to a kickboxing tournament in a village hall in rural Belgium and catching children's sick in my cupped hands, I am not sure what kind of an achievement this is.

See? I can barely string an excuse for a blog post together. Bank Holidays, honestly. I may have discovered my long lost work ethic.


Iheartfashion said...

I cannot imagine the circumstances under which you were forced to hold live maggots. I don't think I want to know.
I have, however, caught (my childrens') vomit and fecal matter in my bare hands. Ah, parenting...
I had a mercifully brief summer job working on a fishing boat that groups of drunken men would charter for the day. My duties involved "chumming" the waters to attract fish, baiting hooks for the squeamish, and, unfortunately, stomping to death the bluefish that writhed violently all over the deck once they were caught. Not worth the money.

Kathy Castro said...

I am befuddled, trying to figure out how this was not an opportunity for male bonding and for you to stay home alone, playing on the Internets and doing something they would think was "nice" and needful of all that time alone, like baking a special bank holiday cake. You need to go to a Marketing class to get your positioning skills back up to speed. Fishing, FFS!

So Lovely said...

Sorry to any who like fishing but I find it so dull. Was forced as a youngster to go with my father as he fished for trout, wearing those ridiculous rubber waders. I would sit on the side of the stream,river, creek (whatever it was) and count the minutes till it was all over and I could return to London and resume my normal life. Not only was it boring but it was so bloody cold. Am amazed you survived, and didn't run screaming for safety.

GingerB said...

Oh dear Empress, the HT must have devised this penance for you and failed to tell you in advance so that you might have feigned illness and stayed home. Now you may sin extra this month, because you were overpunished. I should put my husband's lack of enthusiasm for sports on my list of things I like about him. I'd probably rather catch my kids' vomit (usually I catch it in my cleavage due to my generous endowments) than catch a fish in either a hot or cold boat. You have my sympathies.

wv: lakerd (no really, this is my wv and I took it as a sign that I had to leave a comment)

Wife in Hong Kong said...

Revenge of the Pontypines without shadow of a doubt. As for WiFi availability, I regret to say it was a mean trick to get you to the banks of a lake you wouldn't normally want to visit any more than Ardnamurchan. I'm with Kathy Castro - next time you need to get your arguments in looong before the idea of a fishing trip is mooted.

softinthehead said...

Another wonderful post (hehe) I was with you in spirit and could visual the whole event (or non event!). No fishing has never been on my must do list either, I just don't get it, especially when people then throw them back in!! WTF Keep up the great work, always a great read.

tragicanon said...

caught vomit in your bare hands?! no one tells you that!!
jesus, i can't get over it...

Where to from here? said...

I have more in common with Lashes than just my birthday - when I was eight I shoved the rubber off the end of my pencil up my nose - it must have been there for 3 weeks - my mother had started to avoid kissing me goodnight because of the malodeur! Then I fessed up to my prank.

screamish said...
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screamish said...


Mari said...

Why why why would you cup vomit in your hands, and what's up with the maggots?

The Wrath of Dawn said...

These "silent men in their 50s with baseball caps and thermos flasks" were any of them single? Did you get their email addresses?

vw - schexo - (Seriously. That was my vw. How does teh interwebs know these things?)

bevchen said...

I don't understand why you had to go. Surely fishing is meant to be a father/son thing?
Sounds awful. You have my sympathy.

Layla said...

Once again my intended comment forgotten as I wonder at your word verification thingy: my word is 'preversi'.

What a lovely word. It could mean

a) the edgy state a poet gets in just before her Muse delivers the next batch of perfect hendecasyllabic lines, or

b)the prelapsarian state of innocent unawareness one enjoyed before suddenly being complètement bouleversé by the desire for an illicit love object (hypothetically),


Z said...

I feel just a little smug at my teenage foresight. When I agreed to marry the Sage, I imposed the condition that he would never ask or expect me to go fishing with him. Actually, he gave up fishing pretty soon as he couldn't bear to be parted from me *cough*.

I think that book, from the synopsis, could drive me to suicide. I respect your resilience.

Red Shoes said...

Holy Vocabulary, Batman! I mean, Layla! My WV is "whizi" which only make me think of what the boys do with their zizis. Hardly as academic and profound as yours. *feels inadequate*

Layla said...

and my new word is 'manises'..

this obviously the word to describe Porsches etc, bought as mobile - & very expensive - penis extensions for men going through mid-life crises.

As in 'James has just spent XXXX f***ing pounds on a stupid manise - he's bought a Boxster/Harley Davidson/whatever.'

sue said...

OK. I have to confess the following and would have posted on Friday if I knew this topic would have reared its ugly head. I fish with my lovely Dad every August, five miles out into the Atlantic on Bank Holiday weekend. It is tradition. I can't say I actually look forward to it, it involves, a boat, fish, guts, chum or 'rubby dubby' as it is called chez nous, but I do it for my dad. He is quite lovely and sadly, is under the impression that I am quite good at it. I have an older brother and a younger brother, neither of whom can be arsed to attend this fishing competition so I do because I would hate for Dad to have to do it alone. It involves getting up at stupid o'clock and arsing about with gear and bait and boxes and drums of petrol. I was interviewed on national tele a couple of years ago because I fucking fly to parents' house for said fishing competition. Over the years, I have nearly had my toes amputated by a vicious conger eel, i've threatened to throw myself over the side of the boat to escape an octopus climbing up the leg of my trousers and have pleaded to be airlifted from the little boat in horrible weather, where I have vomited my guts up, I pee in a bucket while Dad looks the other way and on two occasions my period came while I was on the boat. But every year I do it for my him. This year is a little more poignant in that lovely Dad told me on Sunday that he has 'a little bit of cancer in his prostate'. I am fucking devastated. I love him and that's why I do it. I would rather be pissing about with Mum in the shops but I do it for him. Sorry for venting, I feel a bit raw.

Jaywalker said...

Iheart - bat caves context. For the teeny tiny monkeys. But still! Ick. Your summer job sounds vile.

Kathy - oh, lord, I know, I know. I tried to argue this but was overruled.

So Lovely - if there hadn't been a café, I would have.

GingerB - oh, lord. Me too. It must never happen again.

Wife in HK - it was a singular failure on my part to get out of it. Guilty conscience for my generally shitty mood recently.

softinthehead - thrown back or hit over the head with a hammer, they are both as awful as each other.

tragicanon - ha. It's almost a baby hunger cure.

where to from here - oh god. You see, I fear this is what's waiting for me in those ears.

Mari - I really don't know. Misplaced instinct. It's madness.

Wrath of Dawn - I'm far from sure they have electricity. Or that they are literate. Email might be a couple of million steps too far..

bevchen - thank you. I agree.

Layla - it's beautiful. Mourning our lost state of preversi.

Z - if only I had had your wisdom.

Red Shoes - I like whizi. Whizi is good.

Layla - you need a blog. Definitely. Twitter is an inadequate outlet for your talents.

Sue - oh Sue, that is shitty. Your poor dad. I really hope he's ok. Huge hugs to you.

sue said...