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Tarpon of the Thames


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Ronan's report

Friday 11th July, 2008

In the first wan rays of light breaking over the low shimmering skyline of the Lea Valley Everglades and Bow Back Rivers Delta Wildlife Reserve, Marjorie Whelpton-Pills deftly poled her punt into the gently steaming currents of the black, sulking river.

The odour of glue, ammonia and spray paint that had lingered dense under the arches of the A13 flyover was replaced by the sweet, subtle scents of centuries old city sewage stirred from the sedimentary silts and which rose in an almost visible miasma in the humid heat of the foetid dawn.

As the merest zephyr brushed the tips of the rushes in the marshy margins and the river slowed and seethed thickly through the bottle choked channels of the delta, Wilf Whelpton-Pills turned his head to the breeze in the faint hope of relief from the oppressive vapours hanging in the air and glanced languidly at his wife high on the poling poop, silhouetted against the limpid sky, her sheer ZA punting robes clinging, hot and damp, to her stately knees………………….…………..

Wilf reluctantly returned his gaze to the glutinate waters gliding slowly toward the shimmering horizon and a shiver of expectation passed through his oiled and glistening body. He tightened the straps on his ZA Camp Latrine and “Punt Frunt” non slip Mocs and ran his hand over the smooth steel of his trusty ZA 12# Self Jerker.

Smiling wistfully, a moist glow shining on the soft waxy skin of her upper lip and a tear of pride in her steel grey eye, Marjorie Whelpton-Pills nosed the punt silently out through the fragile light of the dense dawn mists towards the confluence with the mighty Thames.........and destiny.

Tensed, panther like, on the prow, every muscle and sinew twisted like knotted Hessian and every sense bent to the location of his prey, Wilf scanned the waters through salt stung, slitted eyes. Beneath him he could faintly see the roll and flash of his illusive quarry in the oleaginous depths of the shifting seams as the waters met and mixed in the turbulence of the turning tide…….he brushed away a bead of sweat, a single vein pulsed irregularly at his temple beneath the scarred pith nymphing helmet and he quivered with pent emotion…..

“They're here, Marjorie”, he said in a deep, dark, husky, whisper.... ”They're here….”

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