Travel and Art with Max Bowermeister

An ode to the unknown Master fisherman

George Edward the 10th, (more commonly known as Buddy), and I went for our last fishing outing in England this morning as tomorrow this time, we will be at the Gate at Heathrow just about to board our flight back to the U.S.  And of course, we are flying Economy Delight on Virgin Atlantic, my dear!

So, we arrived at the lakes fed by Sweatsford Water, a tributary of the Avon in Hampshire, around 8 a.m.   The lake’s visibility was marginal, but it was a terrific morning, cool at first, steadily warming as the sun rose higher in the sky and we could see ocasional trout rising to take a snack from the surface here and there.   We waved our 9′ rods to and fro with little result – a few “follows” and no takers.   As we were changing flies, and leaders, an older gentleman came along on his way to go chill his fish..which he had four of.  (Somewhat embarrassing).   Noting his patch that said, “British Masters Champion – 2014”, with all the good will and politeness I could muster, asked, “Might I know what sort of fly you were using?”  He showed me a dark blue damsel.   Before I could ask anything else, he dug into his well-worn fishing vest and handed me a fly clearly tied at Hollywood & Vine, or on Time’s Square, or somewhere else you would find the epitome of tackiness.   It was large and gaudy with a black body, wrapped and with tail “feathers’ made from golden mylar that twinkled in the sun.  “Now, young man”, he said, “you just cast that out, particularly if you see a trout rising, throw it right at ’em, and let it sink for 10 seconds or so.   Then, just you strip it back in like this.” (Making short, jerky motions with his hand, miming retrieving line from the water by hand).  “you do that, me friend and you’ll catchem!”   Acknowledging my thanks and disregarding my offer to pay for the Imperial Gaudy Fly, he wondered off.

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The Master Fisherman, with his 5th of the day.

The short version of the rest of the story is this – I did exactly as he instructed, just so, and caught this very chunky 2-1/2lb Blue Trout.

 

My thanks to the unknown Master Champion, your Kung Fu is formidable!

I’ve been fishing, sometimes daily, for over 55 years, this day will stand out as one to be kept right in the front hall closet of my memory palace!

For those who may be unsure of the suitability of keeping the fish we caught, the waters we fished this trip are NOT catch and release, but are declared No Release waters.  This is to ensure that no fish are returned to the waters in an injured state to die a slow death and bring possible contagion to the pristine waters.   And, we eat them!

Travel and Art with Max Bowermeister · Uncategorized

A Tale of two trains…..

Dateline: Saturday, 12 May –  We had taken the train from Templecombe, Somerset to London for a surprise experience primarily for  Carrolle, of riding the London Eye.  As a quick note, the Eye (extremely prominently promoted by Coca-Cola), is a 443ft tall, very slow moving ferris wheel, in which the captives, er, riders, are contained, 12 at a time, in a large spaceship shaped gondola.   The Eye takes just about 1/2 hr to make a complete rotation and only actually stops if someone that is wheelchair bound is getting on.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAP5110160.JPG          The Eye has it!                                                            The Bird’s Eye View

Like so many things in life, the anticipation was as good as, or even better than the actuality.  You can see most of London, so much so, that even if you’re familiar with the locations, it gets confusing.  All in all, it was enjoyable, especially since the rain held off until after we boarded.

Then the fun started.

We disembarked, took the Tube from Waterloo Train station to one of the stations near to the British Museum.  My amazement, when we arrived to find every other tourist, looking for an attraction out of the rain, cannot be overstated.  The line was approximately 2 hrs long, so we nixed that idea and headed for a bus station to get back to Waterloo.   We bought bus tickets, found that no fewer than six routes went to Waterloo .  We chose Route 188.  Because, why?  Because the 188 bus was on the way to the stop when we got there.  We boarded.  I asked the driver, a broadly smiling young man from a Balkan country,  “Does this route go to Waterloo?”   Mirov answers immediately, “Yes, yes, Waterloo, yes!”  Another very broad smile.  We wind our way around St. James Square (a nice park actually), and on the second circumnavigation, the bus pulls up to a stop and shuts off.  The driver announces that all passengers must exit and wait for next bus.  I asked the driver, just conversationally, “Is the bus broken down?”  “No, just break time – next bus in 14 minutes, you board and go to Waterloo – Route 188!”  Ok, so not a big deal.  Mirov then hand rolls a cigarette and walks around the outside of the bus, occasionally darting in to answer a radio call from his supervisor.  Exactly 14 minutes later, he enters the bus, starts it and pulls up to us, from 30 feet away, opens the door and announces, “Route 188 to Waterloo and points east!”   We arrive Waterloo, a little soggy, about 8 minutes and two stops later.   Our spirits having been dampened, just a little, but now it was beginning to be a little funny and warm food and drink were inside.

We board our return train, Waterloo to Templecombe, promptly and found a table seat where the four of us could face each other eat some cheese and crackers we picked up at Waterloo in a very nice little boutique grocery store right in the station.  train seating 2   Good seating for a two hour tour

Even though the itinerary included four more stops than on the outbound trip, the schedule showed us arriving back at Templecombe Station only four minutes longer than the trip time inbound into London – so not bad.  We met some nice folks, had some laughs about our American accents (I told them we were all Cockneys but we were practicing our American accents).  Every single person we met told us we were spot on!   Things were good as we rolled in Templecombe.  I led our foursome to the back of the car, pressed the button that allowed us out into the vestibule between cars, stepped through and pressed the button that actually opened the outside doors and…nothing!  Pressed again, no open doors.  I looked around for the attendant, saw him the next car back and was about to call him when the train started moving.   We were about to experience being “over-carried”.   We rode to the next stop and purely by chance, there was another train headed back to London coming into the station in 90 seconds.  We gathered up our stuff, ran up the stairs to the cross-over bridge, back down and as promised the eastbound train pulled in.  Back to Templecombe at last.

Today was another sort of train experience in every way.   An afternoon Cream Tea on the East Somerset Railway, departing from Cranmore, Shepton Mallet, Somerset station.  The engine is steam driven, the speed is slow – it takes 45 minutes to travel the 2.5 miles down and the same back and the experience was a step back  to a more genteel age.P5120164.JPGOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA                                        A perfect afternoon on a great day!

I highly recommend that if you find yourself in the area, wend your way to Cranmore and book your own Tea!   The experience is made even more memorable by some of the more esoteric sights to take in –

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Sign inside the men’s urinal closet

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The British have an overseer for every occasion and activity….sign seen outside the WC.