This weekend my six-year-old stepson Callan came to visit. We rack our brains for interesting things to do with him that we all like to do. This weekend we thought we introduce him to the simple charm of fishing.
After a mostly fruitless go on the Thames (which is still a raging torrent after the recent floods) at the Eynsham Lock cut yesterday, today Moth and me ventured out with our sons to one of my favourite places in the entire world: the village of Shilton, three miles from Burford in west Oxfordshire.
The charming Cotswold village has at its heart a ford, which vehicles and horses still use:
The Shill brook creates an overflow pool on the village green perfect for dogwalkers, picnickers and local kids to grub about in.
The water was feet-numblingly cold, but crystal clear. Here Rupert and I seek out interesting tiny creatures which may be lurking in the shadows of the bridge:
Meanwhile Cal guarded the catch from being knocked over by the other small children…
… and waited patiently until his step-brother returned with the next haul:
Rupe found that trawling among the dense reeds yielded the best catch. Here he shows Cal his technique:
The boys were fascinated…
…as were other small children!
It was a hot day so Moth slept in the shade of a chestnut tree overhanging the pool:
The final tally was 36 sticklebacks, two bullheads, two waterbeetles, countless shrimps and a
waterboatman, which were all released unharmed:
Small boys netting tiddlers on hot summer’s day. The sheer joy of this most simple and timeless pleasure is hard to convey!