Howard Marshall - Reflections on a River
H.F. & G. Witherby 1967
The cover says this one cost twenty-five shillings when it was printed, which makes it a bargain at only ten pounds, over thirty years later. In a superb piece of detective work, Paul Morgan at Coch-y-Bonddhu Books has managed to track down a couple of packing cases of mint first editions, still in vibrant dust wrappers, which were somehow overlooked and remain unsold, though I suspect not for much longer. Reflections on a River has minor classic status thanks to its author’s choice of subject and writing ability – Howard Marshall was a well-known radio commentator, whose broadcasts covered everything from the D-Day landings, to the Coronation. Reflections has much in common with Plunket Greene’s ‘Where the Bright Waters Meet’, only this book is mainly about the Lambourne, a miniature chalkstream that feeds the Kennet.
There is some absolutely classic writing in here, in chapters which range from discussions of resident trout, to Tiger Fish in the mighty Zambesi, a day with Frank Sawyer, and a Tench fishing philosopher on the Charente. A flavour of the book can be gained from the latter, who pointed to his line and remarked, ‘These are our connections with the unseen forces of nature. Even if we do not catch fish, they lead us to a larger life.’
I think I am going to have to read it again.