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Hair freedom

I'm writing this whilst sitting in the mobile home that we've come to know as the Red Herring. If you remember it's so-called not because it's red – because it's not –but out of respect to imaginary saltwater fishes everywhere. And right now I'm parked overlooking Lake Te Anau on the first sunny afternoon in over three weeks. And I'm very nearly not writing this at all, because about 30 seconds ago a fish rose close in to the margins almost throwing the entire Vortex-writing process once again into chaos. However I managed to stop myself just in time, and I'll chase after him later.

The more observant of you, may have noticed that there hasn't been a Sexyloops' Vortex since it started raining and this is because of Lisa. I'm on my own again, Lisa having returned to Germany taking the weather with her, and summer has once again returned to these shores. That's six whole weeks I've been in the company of others. Firstly –you'll remember – there was six-pound Sean who dropped in for three weeks of madness and now, just recently, Loopy Lisa for another three.

Never again will I have a bad hair day.

At first it came as a bit of a shock, as Sean probably figured. I'm pretty much used to my own company now, and like it in fact. I've been coming to New Zealand for twelve years. With hair mainly. And on that very first trip I decided that I was going to make the trip each and every year until I was thirty. Quite what I thought would happen once I reached thirty I can't say exactly. That I reached thirty and am still coming to New Zealand comes as almost a shock as does the fact that I appear to be one of very few people actually doing this. If you're an angler then it is the obvious thing to do, but thank goodness not everyone's figured this out yet.

Of course that's why I don't have a house, or any of the things that go inside. Twice in my life I've rented somewhere and the longest I've stayed in any one place has been four months, and the longest I've stayed in one place in the last two and a half years has been ten days. If you don't have a house and live in a car or a tent then living is dead cheap. And you get to fish all the time, which is what it's all about, right? I guess it's a question of priorities really. There's no safety net, no degree, no savings; I left all those things behind in the pursuit of trout fins.

Give me a reaction, any day of the week.

Most people just don't get it of course. They can't understand why I should want to give up a material existence in favour of flyfishing, even most of my flyfishing friends don't really get it, and some of them even say that if they fished every day they'd find it boring! Flyfishing as a pastime is amazing; as a way of life it is unsurpassed. I spend my life outdoors, in the most beautiful places on earth, doing what I know and love. That's not boring; I'm the luckiest guy on earth. The interesting thing, however, is that it wasn't really luck at all but a simple choice.

So it's a really great life I have and it's partly you guys who make it possible – so thanks! And I'm in the process of inviting all my friends out here so they can understand me a little better and see the things I see. I think both Sean and Lisa do understand me now. Neither of them want this life for themselves of course, but they do at least see how much I love it; the outdoors, lighting fires, camping, crossing rivers, looking at the stars, feeling free. And I'll always have this in my life. Not even Lisa can keep me out the wilderness – not that she wants to – and I'll never ever live in a city.

“I know what I want and I know where to get it” (That's a mis-quote for Sean)

Still I'm considering where to go next – and I think I'm going to create some money. I've always been fundamentally against money; I don't like the privilege and exclusion that seems to go with along with it and so I haven't. My grandfather was a very angry socialist and although he had an amazing sense of humour, I don't think he ever found his true happiness. So I'm going to make some money and see where this leads. I don't agree with it, not completely, but I can't change the whole world. Only myself. And it's a pretty fucking weird world we've created here, where people are judged by what they have and would rather work than go fishing. You won't find happiness in wealth, and I've actually found mine already, but even so, I'd like something a bit different now and I like the changes, especially when they come from within.

Apart from which I don't want to spend the rest of my life living in backpackers and campgrounds. I've been doing this for ten years now; eventually I'd like a home somewhere. And yes, this surprises me too.

So back to the journey: I've borrowed Camo-Guy's rubber duck and I'm off loch-style fishing for the next couple of months. There's a lot of very fishable water here in New Zealand and I think it's untapped. It's about time I tapped it.

Take it easy, and have a great weekend,

Oh, yeah, and I'm sort of with Lisa. Don't ask, but I think it's the way she fell in the Hunter River three times and came out smiling. Of course she's not normal.

pretty picture for Ben

Essential Bush Skills

The start of any flytying good flytying sequence involves squirting The Light of Apgai on your polyprops
Both alarm and curiousity set in when the polyprops start melting
Putting the lid back on the jar to stop *that* happening again
The flytying proper is underway
Notice the composure, that's true class that is
A difficult bit, you can tell that from the vacant expression
Essential bush skills: the third hand
Notice my hat here, it's quite daring
Snip, snip
I'm not quite sure what I'm doing here, but it's cool
Trimming an oversize hackle that appears to have become trapped in the whip finnish manoevre
Delicate precision work, the hallmark of any good flytyer
A sexy catch...

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