Friday, 10 February 2017

What is in a name?

Nether Wallop Mill, Hampshire, England

Last autumn I was sitting with the new owner of Kingfisher Lodge on the River Itchen making plans for the coming season. With lots of changes afoot to improve the fishery and a whole new ethos he and his wife, who is originally from China, felt it time for a new name.
After all, there are plenty Kingfisher Lodges and it is fairly generic. So, it was re-christened Qing Ya Xi Lodge, which roughly translated from the Mandarin, means tranquil waters. All rather good we thought.

Different name but still the same

Apparently not, as it prompted a bit of a Twitter-style storm on the Fish & Fly Forum as plenty took umbrage at the change of name. Not very British and a Chinese cultural invasion if I had to sum it up. Who would have thought it? You can take a look at the thread here, though be warned it digresses into very odd territory after someone mentions that it is National Yorkshire Pudding Day.  

Mercifully, moderator Paul Sharman, has closed down the discussion group after it got a bit out of hand (19 pages later) with some rather intemperate remarks. Of course if you really want to get it all going again I should probably tell you that immediately below Qing Ya Xi (pronounced king yah zee) is a beat called Kanara, better known as the region of India famed for saffron. 

I'm sure the fact that it has had that name for as long as I have known it (30 years plus) will be incidental.


I have never, at least until the other day, quite understood what leads people into teaching. The thought fills me with dread but when I received this email and accompanying photo from a mother whose daughter Imogen has been on our Fish Camps, I think I saw the light. 

It read:

The sign of a well-spent youth ....
"Imogen is 11 years old and a pupil at Prince's Mead.  She has attended all the camps I have organised through the school with Fishing Breaks and for Christmas she had a fly tying kit, she was 'hooked' when Alan [Middleton] taught her. 

She does this every day in her bedroom when she gets home from school, before she changes out of her uniform! 

I thought you might like to see it.  So important to 'catch' them young."

Alan, take a bow, along with both Steve and Bob who also run the camps.

I am delighted to say that, such is the success of the Fish Camps that we are expanding the scope of them this coming summer. For those who have been before, or young teens, I am especially excited about the new River Camp.

We really are taking to the river for all three days starting with an intensive chalkstream day on the Upper Test at Bullington Manor. Day two is all about getting your hands dirty with a specially commissioned restoration project on the Wallop Brook led by Andy Thomas from the Wild Trout Trust. 

The final day will be more relaxed, time for some leisurely fishing but not before we've given them all a crash course in 'How to be a Fishing Guide'. After all, parents and siblings might do with a bit of help from time to time!

For more details of this and the other 2017 Kids Camp options click here.


I suspect there are very few of us who haven't owned a Haynes Manual during our lifetime. Mine, I have to confess, was an unmitigated disaster. I have the mechanical aptitude of a mole, but I was sucked in by those wonderful exploded drawings that made fitting a new exhaust system so damn easy. Well, that was but only after the car had been towed to the local garage minus bits of the old exhaust and the new one still in its box.

However, I'm a lot more confident taking on guidance from the latest addition to the Haynes library, the Fly Fishing Manual: The Step-by-Step Guide. It is written by Mark Bowler, who many of you will know as the editor of Fly Fishing and Fly Tying magazine.

The 192 pages are packed with illustrations and photos on all types of fly fishing, for all the species you are likely encounter. It is right up-to-date, with even a section on tenkara fishing, something I am yet to try. 

If you want a great primer to give to someone who is starting out in fly fishing, you will not go wrong with Mark's book. 


Three random teasers to test your brain. It is just for fun and the answers are at the bottom of the page
1)      What is the origin of the word heckling?

2)      What hobby does a toxophilite indulge in?

3)      What does an ethologist study?

PS The last quiz sparked all sorts of correspondence regarding the only two countries named The [insert name]. 

Here is the definitive list issued by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office from the rather bizarrely named transparency data list.

Have a good weekend and/or half term

Best wishes,
Simon Signature 
Founder & Managing Director  

Quiz answers: 1) Heckling is removing the knots from wool 2) Archery 3) Animal behaviour

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