Why are we so bored? Well, industrialisation and the division of labour has helped ensure that most jobs are, to a greater or lesser degree, pretty one dimensional. The remorseless rise of branded foods and the supermarket system means that every tin, packet and bottle we open contains exactly the same factory-produced 'food experience' time after time. We buy standardised clothes in standard sizes from the same few shops which can be found in every high street in the land. And when we get home and turn on the telly, we find ourselves watching not the hundreds of programmes and channels we were promised but myriad variations on a small number of proven programmes formats.
Truly ours is the age of boredom.
Fortunately there is plenty you can do to combat this (aside from the Stoic solution so eloquently expressed by Pink Floyd when they sang: "Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way.") And chief among the way in which we can fight back is by injecting uncertainty back into our lives.
Drive a different route to work this morning. Bake your own bread and brew your own beer (and revel in the randomness, and occasional glory, of the output). Turn off the telly and listen to the radio (Radio 4 is truly the last bastion of randomness in our world, as I came to understand a couple of years ago when I found myself glued to a 3 part series on the joys of granite). And of course, fish a river rather than a stocked lake or pond every now and again...
Because there was certainly nothing boring about Friday evening on the River Leam. For a start, the stick float that had last week refused so obstinately to go under now seemed alive; every trot was greeted by a bob, a dive and (generally) a pretty decent roach.
|Ouch - a perfectly punctured perch|
But it was not to be. With a single flick of his powerful tail he headed back to midwater and finally managed to sever the hook link. No pike then, but exactly the kind of unexpected and enjoyable encounter that commercial fisheries don't often deliver.
And as if to underline these themes of randomness and variation, my attempt to fish the upper Leam the next night was completely stumped by high water levels which made virtually every swim unfishable. Unexpected? Yup. Annoying? You bet. But absolutely part and parcel of the joy of river fishing.