Set with the task of ‘trying something new’, I decided the best person to ask (or perhaps worst…) was my boyfriend. An outdoorsy, BMX-loving, surfing addict, I knew he’d come up with something that I’ve never tried. Or never want to try.
My ideal holiday would be a pavement pounding expedition around the Plaza Nueva in Rome for latest Pradas, or a marathon round Macy’s, New York. My morning regime consists of yoga sessions and fake eyelashes, and when someone mentions ‘Karl’ I think Lagerfeld, not Pilkington.
So when I said to the boyfriend to plan me a surprise weekend involving something I’ve never done, I knew it certainly wasn’t going to be a day on Oxford Street.
Wondering what I’d be needing - if heels would be impractical (likely), if I’d need a coat (very likely), or extra supplies of antibac hand gel (essential) - I pestered him until he revealed he was taking me fishing. Fishing? The silent, sitting-around-doing-nothing activity for old men? ‘It’ll be fun,’ he says. ‘We can fish together when we’re old and grey!’ Very reassuring.
Saddled with jeans I know will end up in the wash by the end of the day, my favourite leather boots I’m already regretting wearing and six layers of clothing, I feel almost prepared enough to battle salmon, sharks and sea devils. Bring it on!
We head to a tackle and bait shop to buy hooks and feathers, whilst a lady in the shop waves rag-worms in my horrified face. After wading up a mountainous pebble dune lining Chesil beach, Weymouth, we settle down in between a line of fishermen-pros. With line and reel at the ready, the boyfriend is soon thrusting the line over his shoulder into the sea and madly spinning the spin-thing to reel it back in whilst I crack open a Vogue magazine.
A while later, I realise that I’m not playing along in good spirit, nor learning any tricks of the trade when it comes to fishing so I get up and relieve the boyfriend of his heavy fishing rod and aching shoulder. He teaches me the pivot-movement of the rod, punching forward with my right shoulder and pulling back with my left. Despite my multitasking abilities to combine any activity with use of my BlackBerry, I was seriously struggling with the strict process of letting the reel out, releasing your finger from the line at the optimum point before it flies out and lands miles out in the sea (for me it was a matter of inches), before counting to three, putting the clutch on (or off, I can never remember!) and slowly reeling it in, waving the rod around back and forth to emulate a fish swimming in the sea. I don’t think I’d be convinced as a fish either.
Hours later, and the only thing I’ve caught on my hook is my line, another line, and my boyfriend. I’m slowly managing to get the hand of it, despite my wrist hurting like the combined effort of everyone doing the ‘Mo-bot’ during the Olympic season. Someone near us keeps catching huge fish, and to my utter outrage, keeps throwing them back into the water. I’ve been so determined to catch a damn fish that I’m even prepared to karate-chop it dead with my bare hands and fillet the slimy bugger. I’m actually tempted to leg it across the beach like a possessed child, arms stretched out, begging to take the fish from him, just so I have something to show for my time at the beach.
Still without our main ingredient for dinner, we decide to cut our losses and head to the local chippy for restitution. Perhaps I should have tried my hand at rock-climbing or body boarding as I’m a competitive person with will-power the size of Manhattan, and today did nothing for my self-esteem. However, it was a change from dragging my boyfriend around shopping malls and high streets and for that he was entirely grateful. I’m half-willing to admit that it was quite a good afternoon - I’m not one for sunbathing but this is more ‘constructive’ sunbathing, and if you catch nothing from the sea, you’ll at least have caught some vitamin D.
the crazy happenings in my life