I’d been round my traps first thing, and had been lucky. A magpie, in the larson, a mink in the tunnel and nothing whatsoever in the crayfish trap, set to investigate whether Signals had crossed our boundary from above. It wasn’t yet eight o’clock but I rushed to take my wellies off to get to the phone.
‘It’s been ringed all morning’, said Melissa who was catching up with the news in the sitting room.
‘Are you going to have any water for our fishing in June?’
‘Yes, plenty, why?’
‘The Environment Agency has just put your area on drought status, and imposed a hose-pipe ban’
‘I can’t guarantee anything but we have plenty of water now so you should be fine’
Being the only house at the end of a long and pot-holed track, we don’t get a paper delivered so it was a great surprise to see the ‘I’ come shooting through the letter box. It was the current issue and I saw the significance; it had on its front page a picture of my upper river, when a month ago one of its dams was down for maintenance and the river flowed through a channel in the dam bottom. Some well meaning local dog walker must have posted it knowing I would be interested.
By then April had given us twice the monthly rainfall expected and we were only halfway through the month, although March had been very dry.
I found my keys and headed out in the landrover, collecting my phone in my coat pocket, with 16 missed calls already that day, all of which came from concerned anglers responding to the EA draught status. One of these anglers couldn’t be placated and I had to hold the phone to the weir in order for him to be reassured by the roar of water. Fleet Street had done a proper job in passing on the EA’s bad news, so I figured they owed me one and rang up Sky News. They sent a cameraman to film us both; the river and me, and saw water almost overflowing into the fields.
It was the typical scenario of nature immediately countermanding a well meant announcement with her stark middle finger. I am happy to report that we are heading towards 6 inches of rainfall for the month and the river is assured its flow for the summer. The mayfly season is likely to be the best yet.