Before the fishy stuff a rant.
My wife constantly tuts and raises her eyes skyward as I chew the enamel off my teeth at the latest imbecile hairstyle. My father used to annoy me when, as a teenager, I dared to grow my hair to reach my collar. "You look like a girl" was his favourite and the journey to the barbers was interspersed with an opinion of everybody that wore anything more adventurous that a short back and sides. Well I've become him.
You will remember the sniggering and open mockery when Kim John Un came to power in North Korea. His hair 'style' is ridiculous and oh how funny we all thought. Role forward a few months and half of the Premiership footballers are wearing adaptations on the same theme with the sides being cut so short that some of them look like they are bald blokes running about balancing a gerbil on their head. Meanwhile, most lads not yet able to shave, are wearing the Bieber style of combing everything forwards so that you can only see a nose and one eye. God I feel old.
Whilst I'm at it - Feedback! I perfectly understand the need for feedback on sites such as Ebay where it is necessary to judge the trustworthy trader from the charlatan. What I cannot come to terms with is every other bastard who thinks I've got nothing better to do with my time than fill out feedback questionnaires or answer telephone calls asking how I feel about the last bloody phone call that took me twenty minutes to get past the stupid automated switchboard. If you moan about the switchboard nothing happens because its cheaper than paying a person with a brain to sort your call, feedback doesn't work.
Its become a Damocles sword to hang over the work force. I recently hired a car and was genuinely impressed by the super efficient service by the team of youngsters in the office. As I handed back the keys I was asked if I was satisfied and when I answered in the affirmative I had a piece of paper thrust into my hand with the details of where I could send 'positive feedback'. I looked at the fixed smiles of the workers and saw, just behind the eyes, a look of desperation.
On my next visit there I was asked to fill out a questionnaire form before I even left. They did the scribing as I was quickly asked how I rated their service. A day or two later a letter arrived with a similar set of questions from the head office. The whole firm is forced to give good service or face whatever sanctions the bosses see fit. Well I can't live like that. I know that we expect a standard of service but I also understand that not everybody is bouncy, fun and "Have a nice day" polite 24/7 and nor should they be forced to.
Have you noticed that when leaving a shop where you may have had a spot of banter with the sales person (usually a girl in my case), that they suddenly 'offer' you the chance to fill out a feedback form and have the chance to win £ enter amount here - They don't give those to the grumpy buggers do they.
We also get asked to Feedback about web sites that we've only just clicked on. How can I give an opinion of service if I'm trying to access their site but an annoying bloody feedback window is in my way. Its a lazy form of self rating embraced by narrow minded executives that does nothing to improve their service unless they give us feedback as to what they do with our comments. In the mean time I suggest we all give negative feedback about everything and break the system, they'd soon learn.
I don't make resolutions, but I do make plans and have aims to drive me forwards, especially when it comes to my fishing. After May, 2014 was probably the nearest my angling came to being a rudderless ship. To this end I am joining another lake syndicate (hopefully), which will allow me to fish an 'easier' location when the ol' back is giving me grief. Its an attractive lake with a level bank that doesn't require belay points and sherpas to get my gear in and out. It has a good stock of carp with lots of single figure fish but also a sprinkling of fish up to low or mid twenties. Although there are weekenders that bivvy up and attack it with multi rods and all the tech, it is apparently quiet mid week and that's when I can fish it with a more relaxed approach. My good friend Paul has stalked it to some success in the past and has found that many of the fish are fully scaled and immaculate so I shall be fishing for pretty fish where size is far less important than my other pool. I'm sure Paul won't mind me including this picture as a sample of the lake's potential.
Between now and then I intend to concentrate on chub and, if the opportunity arrises, grayling. I used to set my sights on a big back-end barbel but have spent many blank hours chasing hunches. I haven't caught a double this season and I'm genuinely not that bothered about it. Perhaps I've just caught enough barbel for now.
Thank you for reading this, now please take a few moments to answer these questions........