I was trudging back from the three meadows Kingsmead reach last week when I heard a Cuckoo, it partially lifted my deteriorating black mood because it was the first one I’d heard in three years, but it was a particularly apt ridiculing fanfare to my fishing that day. I’d been nymph fishing at the lower end of this very pretty reach, the water was slightly coloured – chalkstreams don’t colour up like other rivers, the wind could have been friendlier, it was driving the rain directly into my face, with such a force that the only fly I could ‘cast’ was a 3mm Tungsten bead nymph which I had to aim outwards toward the fields on the true left bank in order for it to plop into the river ! Why was I even here in these conditions ? I was just getting my fix of being on the river. I’d been watching what appeared to be quite a hefty dorsal of a trout rising under an overhanging bush to what I think were large dark olives. I was on the edge of a deep unwadeable pool directly in front of me. On my immediate left was the stump of a large Ash that had come down during the winter, and been removed by the River Keeper. The roots were in the river about three feet below me, so I edged gingerly along a reasonably a thick one, balancing precariously, one foot directly in front of the other, left hand clutching the flimsy remnants of last summers bankside weeds! What part of sensible did this meet? I was keen to cast a heavy nymph, to a fish, rising to emergers, under a bush that would be a very difficult cast in perfect conditions. My right arm twitched the longish leader and fly line out of the top ring, I let the current pull it straight until I guessed it was just the right length, and then synchronised and balanced the slight drop in the wind, angle, line tension and target position, and flipped – (calling it a cast would be misleading) it to a point about six feet in front of the bush. I didn’t see the nymph plop in, my immediate focus was on getting my head above water, gasping as the instant cold that ran down my chest past my crutch into my feet. River water doesn’t taste that bad, my hat had gone, drifting speedily downstream on the current. Somehow, my boots had slipped off that very slippery underwater root, and that damned flimsy stalk of a weed hadn’t held me firm ! I scrambled up the banking, reeled in the line, and heard an odd clink that made me look up to see that my fly had caught in the top ring, which was hanging vertically down below the rod. My beautiful Hanak Nymph rod had a broken top section swinging sadly and accusingly in the wind. So what lesson have I learned ? – screw new studs into my felt soles, thats what I’ve learned !