As I write now a war, or the threat of war, while still threatening seems more remote; a change of wind and the boat is blown in, there is nothing to do but tie up and call it a day. That is the pity of sobering down to middle age, there must be a threat to one’s skin to wake what is left of things remembered into things to die with. The crime is to forget.
So as one went downstream, casting to every likely overhanging bush and sometimes coming to a withy bed, that is to say a thicket of them in which they are cultivated for basket making, so as one gained experience fishing this stretch over and over one came to know the likely places at which for some reason not apparent above the water fish were in the habit of feeding. In the Wye and on trout streams or even higher up this same river with a dry year the level of the water falls and the fisherman can see any inequality in the river bed which, for the protection it gives, attracts the fish as it lies head on to the stream. But here the Severn never ran so low that one could see the bed so that the knowledge one acquired could only be obtained through trial and error which, being peculiar to oneself, was the more valued. There is no excitement apart from sex so keen as the approach to a favoured place in good conditions, no short suspense so pleasurable as dropping the fly just right and, not being able to see the fish, as waiting for the rise.