Tuesday 16 March

For all non anglers, I think I should point out that today marks the beginning of the close season for coarse fishing. There is no fishing in most rivers until 16 June. However many lakes and canals are still open, and this of course is different to the game fishing season. You see, I am quite an aficianado, or maybe even aficianada (yes, there is a feminine form).

Today I have been for a 9.5 mile walk in the countryside of Kent. It was just lovely. Quite a mild day, a little rain, some sun, hardly any wind. Lots of primroses, crocuses, masses of daffodils on the road margins. Not for nothing is Kent known as the Garden of England.

This was a wonderful daphne bholua, the smell of springtime. Bluebells are pushing up, pussy willow and sticky buds in evidence, all promising signs. Nearly the equinox and nearly time to change the clocks: oh the excitement! The radio reminded me that on this day last year, Boris Johnson urged people not to travel and other warning signs were appearing. A week later we were in lockdown.

Scotland seems to be easing back a bit: good news, perhaps I will get to see my niece in Edinburgh at long last. I am sure the Scots will be looking forward to some tourists this summer to boost the flagging economy. So-called international travel still seems a long way off though. Italy is back in the doldrums.

Need to go and watch Ben Fogle, “New Lives in the Wild”, though living off grid on Exmoor doesn’t seem quite as wild as some of the places he has been to. However, I like him as a presenter, and as he himself participated in living in the wild, on Taransay in 2000, he is able to enter into the spirit of things. “Castaway” was the first reality TV show, and is allegedly remembered for little other than launching Ben Fogle’s career. Of the 36 people who started out there, he was the only one who actually seemed to enjoy it.

I heard this as I was driving back through Kent. It is a very famous piece of course but I thought this performer, not particularly well known, had a great lightness of touch: I like it.

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