Caught by the River

Last Tango with Mike November Whiskey

Dexter Petley | 2nd November 2007


saturday gone, bushwhacked minor roads six hours to brittany with your welsh emails tatooed like mud splash on the land rover. we needed myth, and luck, but got the north east wind chiselling at the willpower.

mike walker’s lake, la morinais, 4 days fighting the sabotage. mike november whisky – he comes at night with a bottle of pure malt, willing the home team on. he calls it midnight mass. it worked once, and i’m sure it’ll work again, but by tuesday for all i knew the carp were in the trees dropping acorns on us. in the deep corner, stephan, the prof de sport who usually just has to point at the water to get a run. his was a stake out, staying put and dribbling bait in day and night. the suspect didnt show. his 3 commons were so small mike gave them away to the carp eaters who live in the village. i switched swims every half day, trying to get at the one active fish. had a screaming run half hour before packing up on the last night. picked up the rod with gloves on; nothing there. shadow boxing. a trap door in the lake bed opened up and the carp went down the cellar steps, filing barrels with gunpowder or drinking our wine.

it was winter closing in, frost on the tents, a cat escaped from a circus doing balancing acts up the guyropes, waking me up to show me the moon and the wet yellow leaves that completely covered the vehicles. it’s the effigy of a carp angler for the bonfire, the road home was too far. in the back, a water bottle with 3 fingerling mirrors, scales tarte au pomme, netted from the stock pond. i tipped them like an organic vouvray into the black water of my pond within minutes of arrival. they’ll see me out if they get past winter.
now there’s garlic to plant, and broad beans, and the markets are full of hung rabbits and pigs ears. i’m building a new outdoor toilet from willow branch and osier. paid work in the jiffy bag, the firewood to cut. the gone fishing card is back in the pack and if it comes out in the shuffle then so be it.

darkness at teatime on the bird table