Much water has passed under a lot of bridges since I ended my uniformed service, both army then police, and I had forgotten how much I missed the banter that only members of a uniformed, disciplined service can share.
When I was asked by Roger Sharp, as a professional angling coach, if I would give a day of my time to join a group of ex servicemen fishing the river Wylye, I nearly took his arm off!
However it was my first experience of this sort of day so I arrived at the venue with some trepidation, not knowing what was expected of me by Roger or how the ex service men would react to a stranger, especially one who was “supposed to know it all”. I needn’t have worried on either count, Roger gave me my head and suggested I played it by ear and I soon felt like the lads and I had all served together, although the age difference would suggest otherwise.
The welcome from the members of The Wilton Fly Fishing Club who also gave up their Saturday was equally warm and soon we became just another group of anglers bonded by our common enthusiasm for the sport. And what sport!
The river Wylye which The Wilton Fly Fishing Club had shared with us for the day was all that I had hoped for being both picturesque and full of hard fighting grayling and I was very privileged to be able to share, with some of the lads, their first fish of that species. The members all worked tirelessly all day to ensure that their guests got the full benefit from their wonderful river by pointing out the best stretches and tactics. This ensured that I had a pretty easy day as a coach and was able to take full advantage of the company of a group of great people.