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Tennis Balls, Dog Poo & Endless Casting (2nd edition)

Why 2nd edition I hear you cry?

Well, I wouldn't be normal to have everything go according to plan, and this first blog of the new Junior season (official) is no exception.

I had it all typed out and, let me tell you, it was absolutely hilarious. Definitely the funniest thing you will ever have read by a very long way. I would go as far as BAFTA winning prose.

Unfortunately, as I clicked to publish it, the website crashed. So, you're just going to have to make do with this second-rate pile of manure instead... Don't shoot the messenger, shoot the website provider....

It was good to finally get going with the Junior season (official) and there was trouble at t' mill before we got this far... The normal home of Junior casting, Kings Road Playing Field, has sprouted a beard of saplings (A 'beard' is the correct synonym for a group of sapling trees by the way). There was enough room for us to ply our trade, but the beard would have pushed us closer to the play area. As many of you will know, Junior anglers base their hunting skills to those similar thought to have been found in the ancient Tyrannosaur in that they use movement to target their prey. Having these miniature monsters flinging tennis balls close to other playing children may have been a recipe for disaster. So, we needed to find a new home pronto...

There are lots of other areas of green stuff in good ol' Dorchester, but none suited our requirements. Those requirements being how far do we have to walk with heavy stuff?

I asked for the possibility to use The great field in Poundbury for which we were given permission. The Great Field. Sounds very atmospheric, doesn't it? Like it should be in the Game of Thrones or some such fiction. A Bit like 'The Red Waste', 'The Village of the Lhazareen', or 'The Squirrels Nut Sack'... From here on in I shall refer to it with the respect it seems to deserve...With quotation marks!

It was rather breezy on 'The Great Field', so much so that I was slightly concerned about my flags staying put. But I had lots of metal pegs with which to anchor them down, so I wasn't that worried. I got to work setting out the area with cones and signs to warn the public of our activities. Remember the signs for later...

One thing I had forgotten about was the fine collection of human shapes known as the Dorchester running club. Like minded Lycra clad people get together every Saturday to run/jog/walk/crawl around ‘The Great Field’ with shouts of encouragement and/or desperation. Many styles of exercise were on display. You had your gazelles, a few prancers, lots of wobblers and a few were suffering with ‘Chub rub’ I’ll wager too. Fair play to them though, they all ran further than me today.

As I said it was rather windy as I put the flags together. Flags are fine before they are tensioned with the elasticated toggle. Once they are togglated, they develop a mind of their own and in windy conditions they are downright unruly. With the base part securely pegged into the ground, it was just a matter of fighting the flagpole onto the spigot. Grown-ups who have tried to get a key in a door lock after overindulging of one or more of the many alcoholic beverages available, will know how tricky it was to get the flag onto its correct position. Finally, the planets aligned and home she went. I dusted my hands together, Laurel and Hardy style, and turned to walk away. A gust of wind bent the pole, the tip of which tapped me on the shoulder. I spun round thinking that the base had come adrift, but it had not. The flag took the opportunity to slap me about the face at a very high speed as only a flag can, knocking my cap off in the process… Flags can proper gits sometimes..

Lesson learned, I set the other flag and banner up with no further problems. It was only then I noticed the decreasing amount of Lycra stomping past me. The running had either finished, or they had exhausted the supply of participants and probably overwhelmed the A&E at DCH.

True to form, three kids turned up to use the set of goal posts very close to our area. Once or twice their ball rolled through the zone, and I needed to shoot this horse in the face as soon as possible. I politely asked them if they wouldn’t mind using the other end and told them why. I braced myself for the deluge of abuse that sometimes follows requests like these to the youth of today. To my surprise all I got back was ‘Ok, no worries’ from the bespectacled youth in front of me. He chuckled at the profound look of shock that had spread across my face and skipped off to join his chums as they did as I asked them to…

I stood back happy with my work and perched on the boot of my car to wait for 11am to come around. In that time a nice lady of ‘maturing years’ asked me if ‘we can teach old ladies to cast as well as children?’. I replied with telling her that when I met ‘an old lady’ I would let her know. She blushed, smiled, and waved her hand at me in a ‘Oh you’ manner. She was nice and we chatted a while. Then came the dog walking man…

Remember the signs? Ten of them there are. Written in plain English and in an easy-to-read font.

I watched the guy approach from the south over the top of my phone. (In all honesty he could have come from any direction, but for the sake of the story we’ll call it South). The dogs trotted before the guy and gave not two hoots about the carefully positioned signs and, being dogs, I cannot blame them for that. But the dog walking man, who was of advanced years (old) slowed slightly when he noticed the marked-out area. He squinted at one of the signs, raised an eyebrow and carried on walking. Right through the ‘zone’. I sneered a little shaking my head as I did so. What a silly man I thought to myself. The last straw came as one of the dogs downloaded its breakfast right in the middle of the area… Oh, no, no, no… The conversation went as follows; “Er, excuse me! Did you not read the sign?” “Yeah. What’s going on here then?” “I’m hosting casting lessons for some children. Did you not read the sign?” “I always walk this way” “But it says do not enter the area” “But I always walk this way” “This area is going to be used for kids and your dog took a s**t here” “I picked it up. I always walk this way” “Just because there are no trains doesn’t mean you can walk on railway lines, does it?” “There’s no one here. I always walk this way” “But there will be! You know what, don’t worry about it” Damn me if they didn’t all walk through the area on their way back too!!! Afterall, they always walk that way…. Proof you should never argue with stupidity… They drag you down to their level and beat you with experience…. He could learn a lot from ‘the youth of today’ that I had encountered earlier.

The first to arrive were the Grassbys. Young Jack and his grandad, the everyman of Dorchester, David. The only man I know who knows someone everywhere he goes. I heard that he went on holiday to visit the pigmy tribes of the Indus and they had hung a ‘Welcome David’ banner over the entrance to the village…(allegedly).

Next up was his lordship, Master Parkes-Wells, and his ‘man’ (dad). There was no red carpet, but I don’t think that mattered. I go on like they are a well-to-do bunch, but they are as down to earth as they come. But if I just wrote the truth and facts, where’s the fun in that?

Last to arrive on fire and driving like they stole it, was my little mouse Faith and her entourage. They set up as fast as a newly serviced transformer and Faith was raining tennis balls at cones before I had a chance to say welcome! She was playing her favourite game of ‘lets show up the boys’. A game she plays very well by-the-way.

The short session went very well and all three improved their casting. It is a skill that can only be mastered with practice and even then, eludes many anglers. I know Jack was getting a little annoyed with it all. There were a few Seagulls that were glad when the event ended. Skyward casts are spectacular at the best of times, but I’ve never seen a tennis ball come back with snow on it before. Josiahs comfy garden chair is great for a summer suare, not so great for fishing from. Fishing from a box would allow him to get some ‘Oompf’ into his casts. Faith has more experience than the other two but, even so, she picks up new skills quickly and may be a force to be reckoned with in the matches this year.

It is great to finally start the 2022 season and next week we get going in earnest at Luckfield.

It’s also great to be writing blogs again. Even if I had to do this one twice! Juniors Sec…

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