28/3/16 – Catch 22 Fishing Centre, Norfolk
This overnighter (my first foray into bivvy dwelling) had been planned months in advance. The anticipation had built to almost fever pitch. Weeks of rig prep, tackle talk and pb speculation, and the day was finally upon us. Unfortunately, Katie was determined to scupper our plans.
Storm Katie was in full effect and although conditions were ridiculous for fishing, nothing short of trees being uprooted was going to stop us from turning out. The car was loaded the night before and I’d arranged to meet Ben 6am sharp on the morning.
Like a kid on Christmas morning, I was up well before the alarm, so, with the extra time, I decided to treat myself to a shower. A stone cold shower. For some reason the boiler wasn’t working and I couldn’t believe my luck. I made some futile attempts at trying to fix the problem but I really was shooting in the dark. After making apologies to my wife and promising to fix it the next day, feeling a tad guilty, I finally hit the road. I’d told Ben to go on ahead and he was there before I’d even managed to wrestle free of Ipswich’s gammy road system.
Upon arrival at Catch 22, it was obvious that phones were going to be as much use as a wooden frying pan (which I hadn’t needed to pack, as I had my new Ridge Monkey sandwich toaster). No signal whatsoever!Ben had already pitched up (three attempts to pitch the bivvy in the gales) and without phone contact I had to wait till he stuck his head out before I could flag his attention. He then had to row a boat from the far tree line into a force 8 headwind. After a couple of failed attempts (in which he ended up getting blown back under the surrounding bushes), he finally set off towards me. The voyage was painful to watch, both because of the incredibly slow progress and the fact that my sides were hurting from laughing so much. The journey took 20 minutes. There were definitely times I though he was never going to make it. Obviously I rowed us both back. 2 minutes! I don’t know what all the fuss was about 😋.
Spodding out was a joke. The spomb barely made it halfway to the marker float, so all we could do was get all rods out and just retire to the bivvys. The only problem being that, with the wind and rain, any alarm action was completely inaudible from inside the bivvy. Without fully waterproof trousers I was soaked through to the skin and while I made use of every new gadget I’d purchased over the last few months, just to keep myself warm and entertained, we soon began questioning our own sanity. Surely the process of a rational mind?
Anyway, Katie continued to throw everything at us, and with no sign of let up, and the prospect of a night filled with the same comforts, we agreed to abandon hope and call it a day at about 4pm. Two more boat trips to ferry all our sodden gear to land and would you believe it the wind dropped and the sun came out! Pure insult to injury. Still, you’ve got to laugh. At least I got a chance to test all my bankside gizmos and also discovered the most excellent Ridge Monkeytoaster also doubles up as a fantastic clothes dryer/iron (don’t try this at home).
I guess there’s always next time …