freeline-24 - Page 131

Made In England
had a bad word to say about him. A
few hours spent with Pete would normally entail some amusing tale or
another, a beer or a cup of tea, and,
inevitably, that hearty laugh that you
could hear from the other end of the
There are stories aplenty about
days spent in Pete’s company, and
I’m sure those tales will become the
stuff of Horton folklore over the ensuing years. Sam Meeuwissen told me a
couple of short tales, which show a
couple of sides to him.
He and Starman were fishing
together, and, in celebration of a fish
to one or another of them, they
started drinking brandy at eight in the
morning! By early afternoon,
Weedbed was decidedly ‘here and
there’ and obviously naked, so it
required a couple of the lads to put
him in a wheelbarrow and take him
back to the lodge. They lay him on
one of the sofas, closed the door and
left him to it. A little while later, whilst
they were sitting outside, they could
hear a ‘thud, thud, thud’ coming from
the lodge, and on investigation they
saw Pete, on his hands and knees,
banging his head against walls, windows and doors to see if one of them
would open. He slept well that night.
At the end of one season he was
chatting with Sam, who had just witnessed Beadle hauling in 1-Up. Pete
knew all the spots by then, so spent
ten minutes with Sam, walking his rig
a certain distance up the bank in
order to mark out an exact spot on the
plateau in front of them. Sam was
sworn to secrecy by Pete, but the spot
was there, and Sam enjoyed some fine
success from that little nugget of
I’d asked him if he would contribute in the Horton Chronicles but
he declined, citing pressure of work
as the reason, but in hindsight I wonder if he was just worried that he
might not get to finish it. His picture
is the background to the Koi capture
list, and I’m so glad we put a little
anecdote about Pete in the book, as it
would have felt incomplete without
Del is thinking of naming a swim
after him, one of the few swims that
don’t have a name, and there is also
talk of a bench, with a plaque in
Pete’s memory, being placed behind
the Captors. That would be very fitting, I think.
From a sad story to a quite disturbing one. The otter debate will simmer
and smoulder for ages, as we’re all
aware, but a recent story has given
this whole thing another dimension.
It’s evident that one of the best ways
to deter the otter from getting into a
lake is to put a fence around said lake.
Obviously, the logistics and cost of
this preclude anything much above
twenty acres, but smaller lakes can be
well protected from the attentions of
the otters, and the fish stocks preserved, as evidenced by fences at
lakes like Ashmead. I mean, they’re
not great climbers, your otter, so
unless they can get through at
ground level they treat the whole
thing as a waste of their energies and
move on to a more easily accessed
fishery. But a story has come out
recently of someone being seen actually putting a young otter over a fence
and into a previously otter-free fishery. The number of questions that this
brings tumbling forward are numerous, but two that spring immediately
to mind are where did the otter come
from, and what on earth was the purpose of its introduction?
(Top left A Fool and His Eel.
(Top right) Chris Yates’ ‘Four
Seasons’ – just sublime.
(Right) Size isn’t always everything.
A beautiful 22lb mirror for Jason


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