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Scotland Plunder

Last year I borrowed a Mercedes for a month, and everyone assumed I was rich. This year I borrow a pink car for a week and everyone assumes I'm gay. Typical.

I do actually own a car in England but haven't been able to start it for a couple of years. At one point I owned three, but someone buried blew one up and buried it, and the other was towed away after the engine block froze.

Lars said, “But it's pink, Paul"
I said, “That's okay, Lars, we're going to Scotland; homosexuality is quite legal”

It was great to see Lars again, hang out, do man stuff, go fishing and drink Gammel Dansk. And it was great to meet up with Al too. Both Lars and Al have threatened to write about the trip, so I'd better get in here first, you know to put the record straight.

Firstly I don't think I landed a fish over 3/4 lb. Neither did anyone else. We fished the Upper Tummel for example, and had a fantastic day, but the largest fish would have been about half a pound. So how does he do it, you ask? How is it that Paul can spend half his life fishing the New Zealand backcountry, catching fish averaging between 4 and 6 lbs and then go to Scotland and catch fish averaging 6 inches?

Well it's fun, challenging, at times quite technical, and those six-inch fish can be real goers. Strange, I know, but thank goodness it's like that. If it ever stops being like that then I'll have a problem.

We struggled on the Lower Tummel. Lars, I think, landed one while both Al and I didn't. Lars wouldn't drink the Lower Tummel, said he thought he would die if he did, said he was still young and there was lots of things he still hadn't tried, whereas Al and I both drank it and turned it into coffee. Al said he thought it was better than Gammel Dansk. Gammel Dansk is a type of “drink” Vikings give to friends on their travels.

Lars is one of these people who like to go to bed early and get up early. Al isn't, and I think this presented a bit of a problem for Lars. Lars would often be up at the crack of dawn, ready to go fishing, while Al would sleep on like a baby and get up at lunchtime. And then Lars would go to bed just before midnight, which was about the time that Al would want to tie flies and talk fish. So I could see it was a bit difficult for Lars. Personally I'd have been happy to get up before midday had there been any point.

When Lars finally makes it over to NZ he'll be in for a real shock. There we rarely finish fishing before midnight, often later, then we eat dinner, come 4 am we're playing guitars, drinking beer and talking bollocks. It's a strange life.

Al lives on the Tay estuary where he imagines he sometimes catches seatrout. We tried it one night and caught nothing. Wading was a bit difficult since there were rocks and we'd been foolishly drinking Gammel Dansk (not foolish because we were going fishing you understand, but just because drinking Gammel Dansk under any circumstances is a foolish thing to do. Al said he quite liked it).

By the end of the week, Lars and I had to head south again. We thanked Al and Helen (Al's wife) and Lars said he was leaving the Gammel Dansk behind, and he said it in a way that made it sound like a magnanimous gesture. Al and Helen thanked him kindly and said they would try to find a use for it.

Lars needed some little love thing to give to his girlfriend and so we drove the Pink Thing around Dundee, looking for a shop Helen had recommended. I'd like you to try and imagine this for one second. You're a hardy Scot, walking along the streets of Dundee when a Pink Micra suddenly screeches up alongside, a Viking yells “Hey, excuse me, we're lost!” and a weird looking bald headed guy looks across and says “We're looking for South Tay Street, have you seen it?” It took us just over an hour to find, which may in fact be some kind of record.

So that was our Scotland trip, we had some pretty good fishing on our way back down again – which Lars may or may not write about – and it was great to get out and about. I've been working pretty hard lately, on a couple of projects, one of which – Operation Fluff – is now complete (all apart from the adult damsels, which I appear to have forgotten). I'm not too sure when, or indeed if, I'll ever be under a roof again for this long… it's interesting I suppose, but not how I want to spend my life. How on earth do you guys manage?


Entering Scotland by dawn

Related links: The Plunder PoD series

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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