Monday 6 April 2020

The Close Season Zander Quest Pt.*** - Hasty Puddings and Handpans

So can I eat that mushroom or what ? well I know the answer and I ain't telling you, it could be everyman for himself soon. You see many moons ago when I was serving my apprenticeship I attended a survival course hosted by none other than John 'Lofty' Wiseman. 

Now John “Lofty” Wiseman joined the Parachute Regiment in 1958. He applied for service with the Special Air Service Regiment in 1959 and set a record as the youngest person ever to pass selection at the age of 18.

John served with 22 SAS for 26 years and he saw active service worldwide, in every theatre of operations and special operations required of the British Army between 1959 and 1985.

He also set up the SAS Counter-Terrorist Team (you know…those chaps who ended the Iranian Embassy siege) and trained the first members of the US Green Berets to return to the USA to form the famous Delta Force (US Special Forces).

Lets just say he knows his s**t and his SAS survival book has sold millions round the world such the fountain of knowledge that he is.

It was a good while ago when I met him and even back then 'lofty' really was a presence, certainly not some one you'd mess with, just from his demeanour and statue you would know you'd be on the losing side.

Trapping of rabbits, how to make sure water is good to drink, night navigation, shelter building, fire making that sort of thing. The two day course an eyeopener really and given the choice get stuck on a desert island it wouldn't be something with boobs I'd be asking to join me, but 'Lofty'.

In his 80's now I think, I bet still as tough as old boots.

Now talking of old boots we'd not been here for a while. In-fact considering we are in stone throwing distance and lived in the village for years this nature reserve hasn't really been on our radar.

I'm not sure why either, because it's a habit where Great Crested Newts welcome you with open arms. Ben loves trees especially when the wind picks up like it was for this short walk out. What has helped though is a recent clearing of the thicket and removal of trees has really opened it out so it's more appealing.

Butterflies in-particular seem to like it here and also the deer which frequent it's off track areas. Not small deer either, proper deer, you know with antlers and stuff.

As expected post Sunday dinner the place was deserted so we had the wood to ourselves. Ben bouncing around like he does with his cat toy 'worm'  that he carries everywhere with him to stimulate those bits of his brain than need constant stimulus. He is on the go ALL day and his 'worm' wriggled and wriggled once more, then put on repeat.

Sam was adding to the tree piles, wondering exactly what each and every noise was, and where the yeti would be hiding out now his habitat has been hacked back a bit. Not so much now but he was obsessed with them, a Sasquatch obsessive at one point.

My mind turning to canal Zander and the recent hacking and butchery of the canal stretches I fish and asking the exact same question. Where exactly would the big Zeds likely hold up now.

Then oddly changing thought process altogether as the sun was starting to set and wondering when I'd get back to Ibiza again, the 'White Isle' a place I've been to countless times and a little like being waterside be it canal, river or stream, I belong there.

Their season buggered I'd imagine, who would have thought that would happen a few months ago. So the money saved will be put away for 2021 and put to good use that's for sure.

Luckily the tools at our disposal in 2020 is ridiculous, and in a lock-down situation where crawling up the walls is best avoided, they are a Godsend.

YouTube often comes to the rescue when I'm feeling a bit Blaaaaaaahhhhhhhh, good music, good wine = good vibes. Remind me why I sold my decks again ? they may well have been the answer right now. Fishing ? yeah be nice to do some of that sometime wouldn't it, fingers crossed, fingers crossed.

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