Monday, 23 December 2013

Carter Family Christmas Newsletter 2013

Christmas greetings from Rosalind and Alan to you.

It is that time of year again when we count our blessings and remember all our extended family and friends. As I haven't had the chance to fish or post recently I thought I would share our usual Christmas Newsletter via the blog.  So here are the big events for us this year.

Washington State, USA.  We took the plunge and went to stay with Daniel and Holly for 6 weeks at Redmond, near Seattle, during June and July.  The trip involved babysitting of Erin, Harrison, Rose and Kate, some fishing and a lot of decorating!  However, we did manage to fit in some trips and we stayed at two lovely B & B’s and two amazing Church camp sites. We also saw a huge black bear in their garden!!!

The Move!  No we didn’t move, it was Lorraine and John and their boys, Samuel and Seth who moved after living with us for 2 years.  John had given up his job in central London and taken up a training contract with a law firm at Oxford so they moved to a bungalow near Bicester.  This had a big impact on us as we were able to redecorate, re-model and re-carpet parts of the house!

WelshTrips.  We spent a wonderful holiday in South Wales as guests of Lorraine’s father-in-law, Mark, who kindly took us to see the amazing Roman Baths at Caerleon, the brilliant St Fagan’s Welsh Life Village and a concert.  Alan also went on a long weekend fishing trip in Wales with his pals Rowland, Ian and Andrew.

Most spectacular event!  We were invited to attend the Lord Mayor’s Show by Rosalind’s cousin Fiona Woolf.  Fiona became the second woman to take this role as head of the City of London in 686 years!  Within the City of London only the sovereign (the Queen) takes precedence over the Lord Mayor. Fiona actually arrived at the event in the Queen’s row barge Gloriana. Having had drinks at a reception in the Mansion House, we sat in reserved seats on the balcony and watched the 3 mile long procession of bands, charities, Worshipful companies, soldiers etc.  Then having watched the Lord Mayor arrive in the gold coach and take the salute from her own personal bodyguard, a company of Pikemen and Musketeers, we all had luncheon in the Mansion House.

Autumnal Holiday.  For a reason that will become apparent, we decided to treat ourselves to some sunshine in October.  So we consulted our holiday travel expert, my brother Chris.  He recommended a small, un-spoilt island called La Gomera.  It is the Canary Island, in the Atlantic off the coast of Africa, that mass tourism forgot. Chris also recommended that we stayed at the Hotel Jardin Tecina located on the cliff top overlooking the tiny port of Playa de Santiago. We were not disappointed. I arranged the holiday through Thomson and we flew out from Gatwick in the UK to Tenerife South and then aided by a lovely couple, Muriel and John, from Scotland, caught the Fred Olsen ferry from Los Christianos to San Sebastian on La Gomera.  The hotel consisted of a main building housing the reception, restaurants, bars, sports facilities etc and the 460 bedrooms and suites were arranged carefully around the pools in the beautiful grounds along the cliff top.  My favorite feature was the two modern Otis lifts that took you down to the beach and the salt water pool and another restaurant.  Alan’s favorite activity was his SCUBA diving trip, Rosalind enjoyed the flamenco dancing and the whale watching.

Irene Moe – (Alan’s Mum) is still with us at 93, soldiering on, mainly in bed but a few hours a day propping up a chair in a nice care home. She doesn’t respond much but we do get the occasional smile.

Voluntary Service.  On the 11th November Rosalind and Alan started working fulltime for 6 months as volunteer Ordinance Workers for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at the London Temple.  Although the Temple is only 15 miles from our home (near East Grinstead) we decided to live on site and just spend Sundays and Mondays at home.  Those reading this who are not members of the Church may be interested in knowing more about our roles in the temple and might like to copy the following link into their browser and have a look:-

The London Temple
Most of the activities mentioned above are covered in earlier posts on the blog, if you would like more information please use the index on the right to find them.
So let us close by wishing you a wonderful Christmas and a happy, healthy and comfortable New Year.

Monday, 2 December 2013

Beware: Curry's PC World Scam!

We went and bought an iPod at Currys PC World and were pleased with the customer service and the product.  We found it was around £20 more expensive than we had seen advertised but we were told that we could apply for £20 cashback.  Well when I went on the web to claim that what do I find?


How It Works

  1. To take advantage of this promotion please complete the online claim form on this website. You will need to provide the following information:
    Online Purchases
    • Date of Purchase as detailed on your follow up cashback email
    • Order Number as detailed on your online order confirmation email
    • Product Code(s) as detailed on your follow up cashback email
    In-Store Purchases
    • Date of purchase as detailed on your in-store receipt
    • Branch Number as detailed on your in-store receipt
    • Receipt Number as detailed on your in-store receipt
    • Product Code(s) as detailed on your in-store receipt
  2. A full and valid claim form must be submitted no sooner than 21 days and no later than 60 days from the date of purchase, with the day after purchase counting as day 1. If claims are submitted before 21 days, you will be asked to resubmit your claim within the correct dates. Claims received which are after 60 days from the purchase date will be invalid.
  3. Once the claim has been received you will receive a confirmation of validation of your claim by email from
  4. Cashback will be paid directly into your nominated bank account within 14 working days of your claim being validated.
WHAT A CONN!  For my money it underminds all the good customer service received in the store!  Its not fraud but it is a trick and I don't like being tricked!

Monday, 18 November 2013

Boat fishing Bewl, last days this year: The where and the how!

Yes the boats come off the water at the end of November but there are still a few days remaining to hook up from a boat.  I went down today and caught 3 beauties, the largest of which I thought was going to disappear over the horizon! It weighed in at 3lb 8 oz and was perfect in every respect.  The where is: around the cages.  The how is: Cats whisker or simillar lure.  It was overcast and calm and the fish were near the top but only showed when they were on the chase.
 Just look at that perfect tail!
The head looks pretty too.
I understand that bank fishing will be available right through to February.  You can always check their website (see link at side of page).  Why not join the Bewl Bridge Fly Fishing Club, brilliant value for money and you get the famous magazine with all the marvelous tips.  See the link for that as well.
A big thank you to everyone who follows the blog and sends me e mails and comments.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

The spectacular Lord Mayor's Show and why we were there!

It is not what you know but who you are related to that counts!  My wife Rosalind and I were invited as guests to attend the Lord Mayor's Show because Rosalind's cousin Fiona Woolf had been elected as the 686th Lord Mayor and the second only female Lord Mayor of the City of London.
 The Lord Mayors coach is spectacular!  You can see it in the Museum of London.
 Fiona being interviewed by the BBC.  During her year of office she will visit around 30 countries and give over 700 speeches!
But Fiona still found time to have a photo taken with her cousins Rosalind and John.
The weather was a little damp but that did not stop the girls getting their glad rags on!
Over 7,000 people took part in a parade that was three miles long!
Lots of military bands and horses!
 The Mayor's personal bodyguard consisted of pikemen and musketeers, very impressive.
It must be fun dressing up!
After the parade we enjoyed having luncheon at the Mansion House and meeting Rosalind's relatives who had come from all over the world for this historic event.

Friday, 8 November 2013

Fly Fishing Virgin Scores at Dever Springs Trout Fishery

My brother asked me to give a fly casting lesson to Jim, a business colleague, who had just retired, as a thank you present.  When Jim mentioned he lived near the famous Dever Springs Trout Fishery and as I had not fished there for many years I thought we should give it a try. 
Well it rained all day, but Dever is very well equipped, with a lovely lodge which was helpful. So we did the health and safety topics and the explanation of why it is called fly fishing in the dry out of the rain.  Jim explained to me he had tried teaching himself to cast a fly and had given up.  He also told me that the main outcome he wanted from the day was to learn to cast and that if he caught a fish that would be a bonus.  So we started on the grass, then graduated to the lake but with a piece of fluff on instead of a fly and went through all the basics. Fortunately, Jim was a quick learner and by listening, asking and then copying he was soon casting far enough to cover fish.  So we switched to a real fly and started fishing and the rain kept coming down. Jim hooked and lost a couple and finally failure could not cope with persistance and he landed his first rainbow trout weighing in at just over 4lb.
As you can see Jim was over the moon with his catch.  We fished on and Jim had a couple of other fish on but they got away.  Other anglers had caught a lot of fish earlier in the day obviously all the "easy" ones, so the fishing got harder and the rain wetter so we called it a day.

Bewl Water:Temperature dips so change of tactics required!

My friend Rowland and I were fishing Bewl and I thought that the floating booby and hopper techniques of a few days earlier would still work.  However, after an hour on the water drifting over the recent "hot spot" there was no sign of action.  So we motored round to the upwind side of the cages and tied up to a buoy.  We soon noticed that another fly fisher was hitting fish.  Not being proud and wanting to make sure Rowland connected I called across and asked what they were on.  He kindly replied that it was gold head daddies a few feet down. 

I switched immediately and on my third cast was rewarded with a fish.  Then I went on to have some more takes and I got broken and lost my last Daddy.  Rowland kindly gave me one.  I think he gave it, but he might only have lent it!  Anyway I have still got it! 

This is the gent who kindly tipped me off as to what to use and how to fish it.  By this time another boat had moved on to a buoy the other side of us and they were immediately into fish. Then a chap with his girl friend turned up.  She must have been very devoted to him because it was quite cool and a bit breezy and bumpy!

I came away with four good fish and Rowland had his share.  Back at the car I spoke to the guys from the other boat, one had eight fish using a cats whisker and the other had four.  Thinking back I realised that the fish I had caught had all taken the daddy when I was retrieving quite fast.  I think if you retrieve a daddy fast it tends to look more like a lure imitating fry, so maybe I could have caught simply using lures.

A cats whisker fly

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Keeping Homes Warm in Winter at Minimum Cost

Here in the UK there is a lot in the news about soaring energy costs and the discomfort and risk to people who cannot afford to heat their homes adequately.  Having had over fifty years’ experience, in a professional capacity, of trying to provide suitable internal environments for people in buildings I thought I would try to offer something useful by way of guidance on the subject.

In what follows I have tried to explain things in layman’s terms.  First, let us consider the factors affecting human’s thermal comfort.  These personal factors are:-
·         Metabolism (all the chemical factors in a human being that result in energy production).  In this respect we are all different.
·         Amount and type of clothing.  Another area where we are all different!

So doing some fairly vigorous exercise before going to bed will mean you will slide between the sheets feeling warm, whereas sitting around all evening watching the TV will lower your metabolic rate and mean that you go to bed feeling cold. 

Similarly wearing warmer clothing which reduces the natural heat loss from your body will result in your feeling warmer.  People in bygone days realised this and that is why nightcaps and bed socks were popular in unheated bedrooms in draughty houses.  I wish I could get my wife to wear bed socks, instead she prefers warming her feet up on my legs!

Then there are the environmental factors:-
·         Air temperature
·         The surrounding surface temperature of walls, floors, ceilings and glazing
·         Air movement (velocity)
·         Relative humidity (in winter when internal relative humidity is generally low this does not have a significant effect so we will ignore it)

If the air temperature around your body is below your body’s surface temperature your body will lose heat to the air and you will feel cooler.  If the surfaces around you are colder than your skin surface temperature your body will radiate heat to those surfaces and you will feel cooler.   If air is moving over your bare skin then it will evaporate moisture from your skin and for this evaporation to take place energy is required and the energy comes from your body making it feel colder.  You can prove this evaporation effect for yourself by licking the back of your hand and then blowing across the licked area.  You will feel it go cold and your body will then have to warm it up again.  The heat to warm your skin up has to come from your body.

Hopefully what we have looked at above is second nature to you and you dress appropriately keeping body parts covered (insulated) and you might consider wearing bed socks or even a night cap if your bedroom is cold at night.

Now let us look at the environmental factors, but before we do we must consider the two ways in which heat is lost from a room. 
·         If there is a temperature difference across a room surface (say a wall with 1 deg C outside and 21 deg C inside) then heat will want to flow from the warm side to the cold side.  We call this a “fabric loss” because heat is flowing through the fabric of the room.  We insulate walls, ceilings and floors to make it harder for the heat to flow through them.  We double glaze windows for the same reason.
·         If a wind or breeze hits an obstruction it results in high pressure on one side of the obstruction and low pressure on the downwind side. If there is an air pressure difference across a room (or a building) due to a breeze or wind then the high pressure air tries to reach the low pressure air by flowing round the obstruction or through it.  We call the effect in the room a draught!  The effect of the room air being changed by draughts is very significant in terms of heat loss particularly in older buildings when in windy conditions the whole volume of room air may be changed one or even two times per hour.  All of this air has to be heated up to room temperature in order to maintain that temperature and the required comfort level.  Also if there is a lot of air movement in a room due to draughts the occupants will feel cooler.

Given all of the above what are the practical ways available to help maintain comfort whilst reducing energy bills? 

In terms of reducing the “fabric loss” the straightforward ones are:-

1.      Insulate the room/building surfaces with cavity and roof insulation or surface insulation if a solid wall. 

2.      Use heavy curtains, preferably from floor to ceiling and keep them closed when possible.  Close blinds especially at night.

3.      Insulate behind radiators with foil faced polystyrene sheets.

4.      Insulate the floor with thick carpets and underlay.

5.      Turn off radiators in parts of the home that are unoccupied or if radiators are fitted with thermostatic radiator valves reduce the setting.  Shut the doors to these areas.

6.      I was always being asked which is best: do you turn your heating off when not required or is it better to keep it running continuously.  In terms of saving energy you should turn it off (preferably onto a frost protection setting so you don’t get frozen pipes).  Common practice, especially if you have young children, who kick their bed clothes off, is to turn the thermostat down at night or if you have a two zone system, only keep the bedroom zone running at night.

7.      Warm air systems involving fans, heater batteries, ducts and grilles will heat up a home quicker than water systems so the pre heat period is shorter but they do result in more air movement so room temperatures usually need to be slightly higher than for a radiator system which does not have increased air velocities.  Make sure the vanes on the grilles direct the warm air down otherwise you will have cosy temperatures at ceiling levels whilst being cold in the occupied area.

Regarding controlling infiltration a balance has to be struck between health and safety issues and controlling energy costs.  Even if it were possible to eliminate air movement from outside completely it would not be desirable.  Room occupants require oxygen to breath and the dilution of the carbon dioxide they breath out.  Both require some fresh air entering the space.  If the room is being warmed by a heat source that involves combustion actually in the room such as a gas fire, oil fired heater or even a multi fuel heater it is crucial that adequate fresh air ventilation to the room or appliance is provided.  So don’t go blocking off vents specifically provided for combustion air supply.  To reduce ventilation for combustion can result in the appliance producing a deadly gas called carbon monoxide.  This colourless, tasteless and odourless gas makes one feel happy as a prelude to unconsciousness and death as it restricts the flow of oxygen to vital organs.

In terms of reducing the infiltration loss here are some practical suggestions:-

1.      On a breezy cold day check windows, doors, skirting, etc. for obvious draughts using the back of a damp hand.  You will only be able to feel the air coming in on the windward side of the building, so you need to repeat the exercise when the wind is blowing from other directions.  Having determined where the draughts are you need to try to block or restrict the air path using an appropriate method. Some suggested methods are:-
a.      For old metal casement windows with warped frames – clean off the window edges, put a release agent on one surface (washing up liquid) and a clear silicone sealant on the mating surface and close the window.  Twenty four hours later the window can be opened again but by then the silicone should have made a perfect seal.  If you forget the release agent you will probably never get the window open again!
b.      Old wood sliding sash windows are more of a challenge.  If you are looking for a cheap temporary fix, either wipe clean and tape over all the gaps or tape a polythene sheet over the whole opening.  This is also the way to carry out a temporary fix if the window pane is broken.
c.       Silicone seal any cracks or gaps around the frame and also check under the window sill.
d.      With double glazed units check all the edge seals are in place and if not replace.  Quality double glazed units usually come with “trickle vents” at the top.  These could be closed during severe weather conditions but I usually like to see them left open to provide normal ventilation.
e.      Pay particular attention to external doors, fitting draught strips if necessary and using the old-fashioned fabric sausages laid along the door bottom to block draughts. 
f.        During windy weather it reduces cold air infiltration of outside air if all internal doors are kept closed.
g.      If you don’t have fitted carpets then check the gaps under skirting boards.  If you cannot afford or cannot use a sealant gun then fold up strips of newspaper or card and force the strips into any gaps.

Finally, if you feel your thermostat is set too high, don't suddenly turn it down a couple of degrees, that will only upset other members of the family.  Do a staged reduction over a week so they and you can acclimatize.

 I expect there are some suggestions I have missed, so please let me know if you think of any.

Friday, 1 November 2013

Latest Fishing News and Action from Bewl Water

My old fishing pal Richard suggested we fished Bewl together today, so how could I refuse having remembered how well it fished this time last year.  He kindly offered to provide the transport so we had a good catch up chat on the way down. 
The great thing about fishing with Richard is that he just loves being there and doesn't complain if he is not catching.  The challenging thing, for me, is that he sometimes out fishes me!
In preparation for the trip I had read the latest fishing report from Janet in the Fishing Lodge.  Here it is:-
Fishing has been a bit more difficult this week . Very strong winds and heavy rain have made conditions on the water uncomfortable.  However, rod average for the week still a reasonable 2.34.
The fish have remained in the top 1-2 feet of the water. Best areas for boats have been Chingley, the Main Bowl and Hook Straight and for bank fishing have been Bramble Point, Ferry Point, Ward's Lane and Chingley. Successful flies are again Minkies, Minky Boobies, Cormorants and Daddies. (We have sold out of all Minkies and Minky Boobies in the Bewl Fishing Lodge).  Vince Brooks' Annual Charity Competition took place on Saturday in high winds. 83 anglers caught 168 trout giving a rod average of 2.02. The winner was Keith Lawrence with 7 fish weighing 13lb 1oz.  £1,307 was raised
for Fishing For Forces.  Boat fishing runs to end of November but part of fleet is now off the water for winter maintenance so a reduced number are available. To avoid disappointment and a wasted journey, prior booking, especially at weekends, is strongly advised. Lodge open through November 0830-1030 only.
So I imagined the fishing would be a bit challenging, but having been briefed on a few tips by my personal Bewl mentor (RB) I switched to fishing a minky booby and a couple of black hoppers on droppers using a 6lb leader.  I was still tying on my droppers when there was a tremendous splash and Richard was into his first fish.  Sadly after a brief encounter it shot away to live for another day.  Shortly after that I took a fish on the minky booby and having played it very carefully coaxed it into the net.  It's rainbow colours were stunning.  We motored the boat round to drift over the same spot.  I like to drift from a known position, usually a buoy, so if I find fish I can repeat the drift and hopefully find them again.
I then experienced a savage take, so savage that the line parted at one of the dropper knots and I said farewell to fish and most of the leader!  Fortunately I had used the dodge mentioned in a recent Bewl Angle Magazine and brought with me some fresh leaders, complete with flies, carefully wrapped around a length of foam pipe insulation as shown.  Well actually not as shown because I used the flies and leader!
Within a minute or two I was back in action.  We both rose several more fish and had "takes" but we did not hook up and then the breeze dropped and the surface activity stopped.  We did all the usual things, changed location, Richard used an intermediate line with lures and all the time we were watching the other boats.  Then we did a bit of a tour, got drenched by the odd shower and even tried the dam where the waves were a bit uncomfortable.  Finally we went back to where we had started and as the sun dropped towards the horizon the fish started to move again and we had some swirls and follows.  Sadly we had to be off the water by 3.30pm as we are now on GMT and it gets dark quite early.
Walking back to the car we chatted to another boat fisher, who said in the afternoon he had seen 15 fish showing on the top.  Using a single sparkling booby on a 15 foot leader he had managed to catch 5 of them!  So obviously Richard and I just need more practice!

Saturday, 26 October 2013

La Gomera holiday: Mountain hike, pilot whales and dolphins

To conclude my account of this amazing holiday here are the pictures of our other activities.  We signed up for a 4 hour hike through "The Wild Northwest" of the island of La Gomera.  It was brilliant.

 Anahi Konrad was our excellent guide. The majority of the people on the walk were very fit Germans!
 We enjoyed walking through the tiny communities hiding in the valleys.
 Some of the paths ran through remote gorges.
 Rosalind found the descents a bit challenging but true to form she did not complain.
 The final reward was complementary refreshments at Vallehermoso.  Anahi the guide told me that in all the times she had been guiding walks she had never seen the English and Germans mixing so well.  She said they usually ignore each other.  She was particularly impressed with the duets sung by me and a lovely German gentleman who I think was called Norman. 
 On our final day we went whale watching and we were really lucky as about a mile off shore we were surrounded by several pods of pilot whales.  They circled around us for around half an hour.  This does raise the question as to whether we had come to see them or they had come to see us?
Then we moved off and found the dolphins who did all the things that dolphins are meant to do.  In fact they got so close to the boat you could almost touch them.
Then the boat anchored in a small bay opposite an abandoned tuna processing factory and we had a swim in the warm water and then a lovely lunch.

 Tuna steaks were on the menue.
Then we headed back to Playa de Santiago and the hotel.

 We were so blessed to have had such a brilliant trip thanks to

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

La Gomera: Holiday Paradise!

La Gomera is the Canary Island in the Atlantic off the coast of Africa that mass tourism forgot.  I only headed there because my most reliable travel guide, my brother Chris, recommended it. He also recommended that we stayed at the Hotel Jardin Tecina located on the cliff top overlooking the tiny port of Playa de Santiago.  We were not disappointed. I arranged the holiday through Thomson and we flew out from Gatwick in the UK to Tenerife South and then aided by a lovely couple, Muriel and John, from Scotland, caught the Fred Olsen ferry from Los Christianos to San Sebastian on La Gomera. 
A taxi driver, who would have done well at Formula 1 motor racing, drove us from the port up and down a continuous series of hairpin bends past a perpetual array of spectacular views to the hotel.  The hotel consisted of a main building housing the reception, restaurants, bars, sports facilities etc and the 460 bedrooms and suites were arranged carefully in the beautiful grounds along the cliff top.

So there we were perched up on the top of the cliffs.  This is how it looked from the sea.

And here are some shots of the hotel grounds

Next is an aerial view of the hotel's salt water pool and other facilities next to the sea seen from the lift landing.

I was disappointed to find that Spain now requires sea anglers to have a fishing license especially as I met a local chap who had caught a large barracuda just off the harbour breakwater.  So I tried to charter a sport fishing boat (they have a license that covers you) to go after the serious stuff, like Tuna and sail fish but I was told that a new film version of Moby Dick was being made on the island and all the charter boats had been recruited to help the film crews.  However I spotted these canoeists out on the water.

This led me to "Splash Gomera" ( in the middle of Playa de Santiago, run by Brian, originally from London.  When I realised that as well as being a canoe instructer Brian was also a SCUBA diving instructor I decided I had to have a dive.  Our friend Muriel kindly let her husband John join me and having had our training session off we went with Brian.  The pictures tell the story.

 Brian had all the gear
Brian helping John with the kit.
John getting ready to rock and roll over the side.
Me in the water, totally relaxed with Brian working on reducing my buoyancy!

And down we go!

When we got back it was nearly dark but we were smiling because it had been a great experience with clear water and plenty of fish etc.
If you want to know about the walk in the wild northwest (of the island) and the encounter with whales and dolphins please read the next post.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Osprey seen at Bewl Water?

See the osprey top right. We do get ospreys at Bewl Water as they migrate through but I must own up to the fact that I scanned this picture from the front of the latest Bewl Angle magazine.  Ray French, the editor, always manages to photoshop in an osprey in somewhere on the front cover of the magazine.  I must confess that he had me fooled the first time I saw it.
On a more helpful note here is the latest fishing report.  Please note that boats will be available for use on the water till late November.


The good fishing has continued for another week. Conditions haven't really changed since last week. The fish are still high in the water but do need a bit of work to catch them at times. This week's rod average is a very good 3.99 and average fish weight up to 2lbs 2ozs.

Best areas for boats - from the dam across the Main Bowl and into Hook Straight . The cages and further down Hook Straight. Bank anglers are catching well from the dam wall. There are also plenty of fish at Chingley and Bramble Point which are starting to come in closer as the water cools.

Successful flies have been Minkies, Minky Boobies, Sparkler Boobies , Cormorants and Hoppers. All fished on a floating line.

Request from Vince Brooks: Please could anyone wishing to take part in Vince's Annual Boss's Day Charity Competition on 26th October, and hasn't yet done so, please give him a ring on 07955 174210, so that he has a reasonably clear idea of numbers.

Water temperature 14degC - water level (now falling quite quickly) 65%

I like to fish Bewl this time of year when the fish are on the top and hunting the fry, but I will have to wait as I am off now to a La Gomera a small unspoilt island in the Canarys.  If I get a chance to fish I will give you the full report.