Today we did not stumble onto another super chef or another manufacturer, hidden away in this amazing world, creating & exporting components across the globe.
Day one & two showed us that.
We were however reminded of two important things.
Alan Hobson of the Angler & Antelope took us fly fishing.
He & his wife Annabelle relocated to Somerset East around 2004.
They bought an old, dilapidated Roman Catholic Church & Manse.
And created Hobson’s Choice Deli.
The Angler & Antelope 4-star guesthouse, as well as Nigel’s – a whiskey bar & conferencing centre inside the old Church building.
Nigel’s sport fifty varieties of malt whiskey, sourced from everywhere in the world where quality whiskey is distilled.
At Hobson’s Choice Annabelle created freshly baked bread, wonderful salami, venison & meals.
All organic & fresh & locally sourced.
The Angler & Antelope provides extremely comfortable accommodation for travellers, visitors & fly fishermen.
That is Alan’s love.
He started fly fishing as a boy at boarding school.
Its been his haven & now he is sharing it with people from all over the world & the continent.
Next week a group of ardent fly fishermen will arrive by train in search of a ninety pounder.
After breakfast at Hobson’s Choice Deli, Alan takes us to Nigel’s, next door, where he also has a fly fishing shop.
He starts explaining to us that there are easier ways of catching fish.
If that’s what you want to do.
Fly fishing is about the sport.
It is about making it as difficult & competitive as possible.
It is about immersing yourself in nature.
I realize, if you’re a fly fisherman, a real one, then you become an expert at water life.
You study your prey.
Learn whatever you can about fish.
About their behaviour.
Alan explains their ability to see.
A new respect comes alive in us for this creature, so often not understood. Or not even noticed.
A fish is a fish is a fish dissipates as Alan shares his knowledge & interest & love.
It is about ‘being’ out in nature.
It is about watching.
Seeing beyond the obvious.
Outside we learn to cast.
The long elegant strokes we’ve often seen in films or on TV as Danny Crane & Alan Shore take a moment out from Boston’s Legal world.
We don’t quite master it.
This is not something to be mastered in a moment.
We do however learn the technique, grateful for Alan’s patience & decades of experience.
Slowly he teaches each one of us what to do.
Even handling the rod, in fly fishing, is about getting in tune with yourself.
About feeling it.
The flow & energy of the line.
Then we head to the pools.
The scenery as we drive is overwhelming.
Antelope, birds, a troop of Baboons.
At the pool we set up ‘camp’.
Some comfortable chairs for Zuko & Maddi & anyone not at the water.
Patiently Alan takes us to the pools, two by two.
We’re encouraged to be quiet.
For fish are aware.
Of their surroundings.
Perhaps that is something else I’m reminded of today.
To be even more aware.
On his third cast, Theunsie brings a fish to shore.
Alan by his side,
The girls try.
Then me & Zuko.
Alan shows us the little mayfly drifting on the surface.
We change flies.
They must be spawning right now.
The fish would be hunting them.
Let’s be cunning.
Let’s use our own mayfly.
To share what you love, is the most amazing of experiences.
If you can spend your days doing that, you will be happy.
That is the first I’m reminded of on this 3rd day of our 10-day explore of the Blue Crane Route.
And as I punch & cast & slowly bring in the line, I think of our life & how we so often aim, driven by fear of the future, to ‘get’ or ‘accumulate’, instead of aiming at doing what we love & sharing it with others.
A lunch is prepared.
Then Alan take me & Theunsie to a pool somewhat higher up.
We stalk the fish.
We walk in silence.
Softly treading so that they would not hear us approaching water’s edge.
We hunker down, so that they would not see us.
We cast again.
And the we strike.
The exhilaration is intoxicating.
I lose her.
Alan is encouraging.
He explains that I should be constantly aware of the indicator.
A little piece of colored wool between the ‘leader’ & the line.
To understand, you’ll have to come & spend time with Alan.
I’m too much of a novice to really explain.
We cast again.
I strike & strike with success.
I bring her to share.
Guide her into the net.
A photograph must be taken, for this is about conserving.
We catch & release.
It is not about reaping.
It is about experience.
I smile broadly.
I bring two fish to shore on my first day fly fishing,.
Alan & I both deny that without him, by my side I would probably not have tasted this excitement.
He gives me the illusion as a gift of the day.
It’s not about the credit.
Who takes it.
Who boasts with it.
It is about the sharing.
Of a love.
Another reminder, so often forgotten in an overly hostile & competitive world.
Late afternoon we pack up camp.
Load everything in the Angler & Antelope Bakkie & head home.
As we drive in the comfort of the Chrysler Grand Voyager we’re surprised at how tired we are after a day at the water.
And we talk of the bravery to make a new beginning.
Alan & Annabelle’s.
And we say to each other, my Zuko & I, that it should never be too late to begin again with what you love.
And we say to each other, that we should really be more serious about pursuing only what we love.
And be serious about sharing it.
And so we get to Glen Avon.
Our resting place for the evening.
First settled in the early 1800’s by a Hart who knew about growing things.
But that is tomorrow’s story.
For now, as we settle our tired bodies in warm comfortable beds we chew on the things we were reminded of.
To be aware.
To share what we love.
To pursue what we love.
To do it sooner, rather than later.
And maybe to forget about all the fears of tomorrow.
For if we’re captured by them, tomorrow will come with even more fear & yesterday would never have been lived.