I had the good fortune the other day to be at home when the rat man called for his monthly visit (we keep chickens, say no more!). If you have a preconceived idea of what a rat man looks like, or smells like come to that, you must push it into the cobwebs at the back of your mind. My modern “Rodent Dispatcher Operative” is young, tall, lean and clean. He is articulate, punctual, efficient and knowledgeable about all things country. I found myself swapping recipes with him whilst chatting about the cormorant/magpie/badger problems and taking one look at the scattered leftovers on my kitchen worktop he knew instantly what I had planned for dinner! I must admit, although I am old enough to be his mother, I am quite taken with him. He gives me much needed hope for the youth of today. He has been through college and come out the other end with the courage to start a business and make a career from a country life. He hunts, shoots, fishes and cooks and had I been thirty years younger and not happily married he would be just the man for me. Did his parents deliberately steer him in this direction or was he just naturally inclined? I’m not sure, but either way it just goes to show in this uncertain age, that a country life with all its associated pursuits can still provide not only a shekel or two but a wonderful way of life for the young generation.
Introducing children to fishing in particular at an early age not only provides the obvious benefits of fresh air and time with a loved one but is potentially an investment in their future. The next time the youngster in your life asks “can we go fishing?” consider it money well spent. The cost of a mornings fly fishing is a fraction of the cost of one of their “virtual” games. During the half-term holiday my son and his friend participated in our Complete Beginners Day here at Brick Farm Lakes. Run in association with the Environment Agency as part of their Angling Development Program at a nominal cost of £10, there is no better way to start them off. It was a cold, wet day but to see their flushed, healthy, animated faces when they had both caught their first ever trout after a day of proper “gaming” and to witness the enthusiasm to return another day was worth a million!
Let the festive fun begin.