Its never good to work weekends. I’ve had plenty of jobs over the years that have necessitated such hours, and while Saturday mornings in a record shop could almost be fun, working the supermarket freezers until midnight was pretty soul destroying.
I’ve had a steady run of weekends on of late, though it seems slightly misleading to consider any of it ‘work’ – after all, work isn’t something you should actually get to enjoy. Is it?
This weekend just gone was spent at Camp Bestival, based not too many miles from home at Lulworth Castle. I had a slot in the Literary Tent on Friday afternoon where I was charged with answering How to Read a River.
Despite the inevitable nerves, it went pretty well, and I think I actually enjoyed it. Jack Rooke was posing the questions for the most part, but it was the audience questions at the end that I most enjoyed.
I was really pleased to be questioned about the ethics of angling – and in particular the cruelty aspect of it. It is an issue often raised and one that we anglers struggle to justify. Arguments will always rage about the discomfort that fish may or may not experience. That a cold-blooded creature with a wholly different nervous system to our own will not feel pain in the same way that we do. They do feel resistance though – and that is undeniably unpleasant.
Ultimately though, if a fish is treated carefully it will be unaffected by its capture. My friend Peter once caught the same barbel four times in a night, while Chris hooked and landed the same (unwanted) trout three times in an afternoon last winter. Also, the care and awareness that anglers have towards the watery environment in which they cast means there is a louder voice shouting when things go awry.
The talk was followed by a signing courtesy of The Pelican Post. This is a charity that I was unaware of before the weekend but certainly feel inspired by since. They are working to send books to the children of Africa – to those who would otherwise have no access to a source of joy and information that many of us take for granted.
They are also behind Project Kala – an initiative aiming to translate or create books in local African dialects. Keeping a language alive while inspiring through a story. The website, should you want to know more (or donate) is www.pelican-post.org.
And big thanks to Josie at Penguin Random House and all at Camp Bestival for giving me this opportunity.