Friday, 21 April 2017

The past is history

Nether Wallop Mill, Hampshire, England
21st April 2017

I do my bit on social media, though I have to confess I really don't fully understand what I am doing. I think I know what a hash tag is, but am I really using them to maximum effect? I stare for hours at Google Analytics but generally spend more time trying to understand the jargon and the endless three letter acronyms. So when Leo and Chris, filmmakers extraordinaire mentioned, Kickstarter I nodded sagely, but truly ..... no idea.

They were convinced that this, the world's largest funding platform for creative projects, was the way to go for CHALK - The Movie. 

I was sceptical, but the world has moved on since that day I had to almost go down on bended knee to convince my local bank manager for a loan to fund Fishing Breaks in the early days. If I want the occasional wry smile I pull out that 1990 business plan.

But the past is, as they say, history. Today entrepreneurial DNA is not confined to the few. The Zuckerbergs and Musks are talismans for a whole new generation. It truly is possible to be a billionaire before you are 25. You don't need to inherit a fortune to make a fortune. A great idea is worth the toil of a million pairs of hands. As Nike have overwhelming proved, there is a generation who truly just do it.

So who am I to stand in the way of progress? And I am glad I didn't because I'd have been knocked down in the rush.

Since we launched the Kickstarter funding just 14 days ago we now have 55 backers who have taken us over 75% of the way to our target. It is a fascinating variety of people who are now involved in CHALK from those with a simple passion for all things fly fishing to the great and the good of the tackle industry. We even have a sprinkling of Hollywood stardust: Elaine Harris, Executive Producer of Carrie Pilby, now on general release across the US and coming to the UK May 1st, is on board as Associate Producer for CHALK.

There are all sorts of ways to be part of CHALK and we need your help for a final push to take us over the top. It is one of the requirements of Kickstarter that a project must be 100% funded or it folds. There are all sorts of way to be part of the movie (you can even be in it!), so check out our Kickstarter page and do tell your friends. The deadline is May 5th

Carrie Pilby (I assume the fish connection is a coincidence .....)


Just a little bit nerve-wracking yesterday as it was judgment day on the Bullington Manor restoration by that most tricky of audiences, the Fishing Breaks guides.

We were having our pre-season get together; gossip, lunch and some fishing. Yes, that is what we do for fun - go fishing. 

This year we headed for the River Itchen trying out our new beats at Shawford Park and Qing Ya Xi. Both looked in superb condition and with reports of a few Mayfly on Tuesday everyone did well. Diane even guided Alan into a fish, so maybe a little bit of dented professional pride?!

Before all that we walked Beat 1 at Bullington Manor. It has been a fairly benign spring so most of the banks have grown back; give it a few more weeks and you'll never see the difference. As for the river itself I was interested to hear everyone's opinion, but perhaps most of all Alan Middleton, as this is where he runs our chalkstream course.

I am delighted to say that Alan, as with all the others, vote it an unqualified success. What Alan particularly liked is the addition of more variety, texture and habitat to the water. He feels he will be able to demonstrate more about reading a river, showing where trout like to hang out and the best methods for coping with a variety of casting/presentation challenges.


I couldn't believe my eyes walking down the Kings Road this week; there was the The Otter's Tale proudly on display in the window of Waterstone's. 

I didn't know the fleshpots of Chelsea went in for a bit of natural history, but very happy that they do. I did momentarily think about trying to do a selfie but that was just a little on the vain side of weird.

If you are interested in knowing more about the book and otters in general, plus a smattering on the chalkstreams I'll be talking at the Wimborne Literary Festival 17/May, in Marlborough 3/June and Hungerford 20/June, plus a series of others in Surrey, Sussex, Dorset and Hampshire right through to 2018.

For tickets and more information click here.


Three random teasers to test your brain. No prizes for guessing the theme - politics! It is just for fun and the answers are at the bottom of the page.
1)      Which fly fishermen and author, famous for the phrase "the lamps are going out all over Europe", was Foreign Secretary at the outbreak of World War One?

2)      Which American general took time out from his D-Day preparation to fish the River Test in May 1944?

3)      Politicians are clearly don't appreciate the importance of the Mayfly. When was the last UK general election that was not in May or June?

Have a good weekend.

PS After Mrs May's announcement on Tuesday my Chalkstreams 2027 piece, which was largely political, has been consigned to the great junk bin in the sky. We will await developments .....

Best wishes,
Simon Signature 
Founder & Managing Director  

Quiz answers: 

1)   Edward Grey, 1st Viscount Grey of Fallodon  2) General Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower 3) April 9th 1992 when John Major defeated Neil Kinnock.

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