Saturday 15th July 2017 - Midsummer miscellany

My sea-trout season has not happened - yet. In recent years I have caught some very nice fish in May and June, but not this time. I had a couple of sea-fresh three-pounders on the last flood, but they are pretty thin on the ground. We had a huge run of finnock last year, so let's hope they reappear as two-pounders in August.

Sea fishing has not been much better - so far! Two out of three boat trips have been cancelled because of rough weather, though we have a staff trip planned for Monday and the forecast looks good. On our only outing so far we caught nice black bream all day, and plenty of mackerel. We also intercepted a terrific frenzy of gannets and shearwaters on the reef and caught a few bass on lures.

For the second year I tried establishing doves in my dovecote. I bought ten in all, and they settled in well and it was great fun watching them wheel around, sometimes disappearing into the distance. Unfortunately our resident raptors were also watching them and over three weeks or so they were whittled away until all had gone.

Publishing jobs continue to take up my time. I've got two raptor books ready for printing in time for the Falconry Weekend on 2nd September. Then just one massive job hanging over me (M. Petitjean!) before I can settle down to working on my monographs and bibliographical stuff.

I have been buying more and better than ever - both new and antiquarian stuff. This week two pallets arrived from Rowland Ward in South Africa: beautiful books, nicely designed and printed - I was very happy to get them - and most of them are not available anywhere else in the world. The same day I got a list of  twenty good-quality sporting titles (7000 books!) from a top UK publisher - all at bargain prices. With the Tideline stock and all of the carp fishing remainders that I've been buying, we will have a great selection of new and unusual books in our next catalogue.

The Game Fair at Hatfield House is looming. It is still the greatest gathering of country people in the year, so we will be making a good effort. I hope we are close enough to Gunmaker's Row for people to come and find all our new big game hunting books.  After that, I have kept August free for sport and family. Bethan and Dewi will be here for most of the month, so I hope we will spend lots of time at the shore, fishing and foraging.

Rain today, on a quiet Saturday, so I'm catching up on jobs like updating this - though distracted and slowed by all the good stuff on Radio 4. We don't fish the Association waters on a Sunday, so usually I would try to take advantage of a slight rise in the river on Monday morning. However, this time I'll be off on the boat so I'll miss that. Instead I might grab an hour or so tomorrow on one of the tributaries, where Sunday fishing is allowed. If we get enough rain today I could try some light lure fishing in the rocky gorges of the Twymyn - the big sea-trout that ran in June must be hiding somewhere!

In between everything else I add a few records every day to my bibliography. It is a never-ending task, but is a relaxation from real work, and I am amassing much information that has never before been recorded. Here is an example - six variant bindings of H.T. Sheringham's classic "Coarse Fishing." Nerdy stuff, eh? But someone has to do it.

Four different Sheringham covers Four different Sheringham covers

Six variant bindings of Sheringham's Coarse Fishing Six variant bindings of Sheringham's Coarse Fishing

Sheringham, Coarse Fishing - Binding A Sheringham, Coarse Fishing - Binding A

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