Saturday, 22 September 2018

Goodbye Peter

Nether Wallop Mill                                                        21st September 2018

Occasionally someone goes out of your life, not necessarily a friend or relation, who you realise, once you absorb the news, was more important than you ever imagined. One such person was Peter Roberts who I am sad to say died on Saturday.

Peter Roberts 1950-2018

Many of you will have known Peter in one or more of his various guises outside his work and family life as the Guide Captain for the One Fly, a fishing guide and a regular participant with the local fly fishing and fly tying clubs.

As you might imagine I worked closely with Peter on the One Fly who was the most marvellous organiser you could ever wish for. That is an essential qualification when it comes to a group as disparate as the thirty six One Fly guides, but Peter was incredible. He corralled, cajoled and generally kept in good order a great team. He had this remarkable can do attitude. I'd give him some tricky task that was beyond me. He'd listen as I hummed and hawed through the phone call until at the end he's say, 'Don't worry Simon, its sorted.' And it always was. He was also, for all his smiling demeanour, pretty ruthless. He listened acutely to the tales that emerged from each One Fly. Little bits of information were squirreled away, names mysteriously disappearing from the guides list the following year.

Despite his illness Peter fulfilled his 2018 One Fly duties - I've started so I'll finish he said, even though he really wasn't well. It took a supreme effort for him to make the Guides Briefing morning which takes place a week ahead of the competition. 

The drive from his home to the meeting place should have taken no more than 45 minutes; such was his weakening state that with stops it took over two hours. But he arrived, took charge of the briefing, proudly wearing the same shirt (the 'unusual' colour has become something of a weird badge of honour for those who still have them) from our inaugural One Fly back in 2008. 

As we joked and laughed we sensed this was at heart a sad occasion. The day took so much out of Peter that he wasn't well enough to make it to the One Fly itself.

Peter was always an incorrigible optimist. All through the weeks and months that followed he kept the faith. Reporting on his latest visit to the hospital or specialist he'd deliver all the news but focus on the positive even if the remainder was 95% bad. I think that was why, when his condition was finally declared inoperable, it came as such a blow.

Peter Roberts died aged 68 near his home in the Macmillan Hospice in Christchurch, Hampshire on Saturday September 15th 2018. He is survived by his wife Susan and two sons Adam and Simon.

Choose your target well

The angling community, I guess by that is meant the people who purport to speak for you and I, are urging us all to through our weight behind the fight to end the use of single-use plastics in recreational angling. All very worthy and topical. However, I do wonder if we are rather putting the horse before the cart.

I don't know Ashley Smith but he recently sent me a link to the web site Windrush Against Sewage Pollution with which he is involved that highlights the plight of the River Windrush, a limestone stream that runs through the Cotswolds.

The message of the campaign is clear: the Windrush, and by implication most of our other rivers, are not being polluted by accident but by the legal discharge of untreated sewage effluent. I won't recite the mass of evidence they have accumulated by way of investigation and Freedom Of Information requests, but do take a look at the section Ten things you should know before you put your hand in a river. I suspect you will be appalled.

Happier days on the River Windrush

I can't say for certain that everything the web site states is true, but what I can say for certain is that it chimes with much of what I have seen myself and heard reported elsewhere. Frankly I'd love to save the oceans but maybe we'd be better focusing our efforts closer to home? 


This time of year is heaven for foragers with every bough it seems hanging heavy with fruit and berries.

With the arrival of a warm, damp autumn fungi seem to be everywhere  as well, so a quiz with them in mind. 

Answers, as ever, at the bottom of the page. 

1)     What is the difference between a toadstool and a mushroom?

2)     What is the name of the mushroom pictured?

3)     The more common name for the Psilocybe cubensis mushroom is?

Enjoy the weekend.

Best wishes,
Simon Signature 

Founder & Managing Director

Quiz answers:

1)     There is no scientific difference between a mushroom and a toadstool.
2)     The Death Cap (Amanita phalloides). The most deadly fungus known and is common in England. It's responsible for most fatal mushroom poisonings worldwide.
3)     Magic mushroom.

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