Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Activities to keep your morale up!

Well I am still in trouble with my back, but you have to keep mobile so I am trying to do things to keep active and keep morale up without making matters worse.  Last Friday we took three of the grandchildren to Marymoor Park.  Harrison rode his bike and they all played on the model train.  We nearly had a disaster as six year old Rose whilst running had her trousers fall down causing her to go sprawling right in front of Harrison who was speeding along on his bike.  Harrison rode right over her and I braced myself preparing to phone 911!  To everyone's surprise Rose got up, didn't cry and had only sustained a very small graze!  Phew!
Rose (6) and Harrison (8)

On Saturday morning Rosalind and I spent a couple of very pleasant hours downtown Redmond (note the American expression, I am trying to cater for my big US following) at the art festival, talking to some of the exhibitors.  We were very impressed by their talents and it was a well organised event.  If I had shed loads of money I would like to fill my home with beautiful art (mounted on ropes so you could pull it up to the ceiling when the grandchildren descend! In the afternoon we braved the traffic and drove into Seattle.  Finding a parking space was a challenge and we ended up in the multi-story car park at the back of Pike Place market.  Then we strolled down to Dock 50 (a very practical name in terms of finding it but not very imaginative or romantic. I am used to names like "St Katherine's Dock" or "Canary Wharf").  Here we boarded a Water Taxi and for two dollars each we were ferried across to West Seattle, noting the seals sleeping on the large buoys moored in the bay.
The whole purpose of the trip was to get some inspiring photos of Seattle from the sea. You can judge for yourself as to whether we succeeded!

To stop me feeling sorry for myself I have to keep busy, so I constructed a simple ski boot rack.  My son Dan liked it and has mentioned a "ski rack"!  Bless him!

Sunday morning saw us in church, the talks were excellent.  Let me explain that in our church with a lay ministry (that means unpaid ministers) members of the congregation get assigned (normally with several weeks notice) to speak (it's not compulsory) usually on an assigned topic.  This means that you get  to hear a wide variety of well prepared inspiring presentations.  Then we break for Sunday School classes. The standard of teaching and the contributions from class members are outstanding and I learn a lot.

Monday morning saw me back at the chiropractic clinic as I am still getting a lot of pain.  Dr Weir warned me against bending and twisting at the same time but told me to stay active and do plenty of walking.  I took his advice and later that afternoon Shayne, a good friend, drove me to the north fork of the Snoqualmie and I got good exercise walking to the river and wading its banks.  Needless to say I had a rod in my hand.  Shayne out-fished me but I had a couple of nice rainbows on the dry.  As we walked back to the car we had a real treat, a close encounter with a herd of elk!!

I slept better that night but my body was sending me messages in the morning, 

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Fly Fisherman in Big Trouble, Gets Rescued!

I really was in trouble, no I hadn't fallen in the Snoqualmie and was about to go over the 270 foot high falls, I was in agony because my back had given out on me.  Even simple moves like getting out of bed and walking resulted in painful spasms.  I had tried hot and cold showers and dosing myself with Ibuprofen to no affect and when I laid on my back I could not get up.  I was daft enough to put up with this for a week hoping to cure myself.  Then I called the travel insurance company (Saga) and they said it was an emergency so I could seek medical advice.  I wish I had called them a week ago!

My son Dan (who is 6' 10") recommended his chiropractic to me and I got an appointment for early the next morning with Dr Michael Weir.  His charming receptionist talked me through the paperwork whilst Dr Weir read up on the history I provided.  Then he interviewed me and I answered lots of questions, stressing that I needed help right now.  He was brilliant and did a full assessment of me using all sorts of techniques.  Now I haven't been to a chiro' in decades and things have obviously moved on.  I  will list some of the procedures just in case it helps anyone decide to seek help themselves. 

He weighed me on two scales, one foot on each to see how I distributed my weight.  Then he photographed me standing from the front and the side using an iPad with an ap that put the vertical in so I could see how I leaned.  He took two X-rays of my back and we looked at them together, with him explaining what was shown.  My back was warmed up with heat pads and then with me leaning forward on a couch he used a device to gently vibrate each of my vertebra.  The instrumentation told him how much freedom of movement each joint had.  When he found a tight joint he could increase the vibration force and rate to loosen it up.  Then we moved to a couch with me horizontal, face down, and Dr Weir gave me a jolt treatment that hurt me a bit.  That pain was nothing compared to what I had been feeling.

Already I was starting to feel more mobile, but a bit tired and delicate.  He then gave me instruction on what I had to do for the next 24 hours involving ice packs and Ibuprofen.  He told me to sleep on my side with a pillow between my legs!  The net result is that I am already feeling a big improvement and at my second session today we both noticed a significant change.
I can come off the ice now and start to do my usual back exercises supplemented by some new ones Dr Weir has given me.
Dr Michael Weir
Regular readers of my blog will note that I don't advertise anything but when I come across excellence I feel duty bound to mention it.  So thank you Dr Michael Weir for your expertise at in Bellevue, WA, USA  (If your in agony like I was you might want the phone number 425 635 0495).

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Challenges on the fly fishing front

We all get challenges, usually when we least expect them.  Well I got mine!  Being tall (6' 5")over the years I have been susceptible to lower back pains so I have been in the habit of doing a regime of simple back exercises every other day to ward off any problems. Since being on holiday here I haven't stuck to that as I figured all the yard work, sawing and axing etc. would keep me in good trim.  Well I was wrong! Everything was fine till I changed from using the family's Toyota Sienna to my son's Ford Focus when I drove the 20 miles to the Avid Angler Fly Shop. When I got there I noticed my back was a bit painful, but I didn't change the seat settings as I didn't want to mess it up for my son.  The next morning around 6 am I drove the same car to Sultan to meet up with Lonnie to fish the Sky and I stumbled out of the car with a painful back.  It improved as we got in the water and started fishing. Everything improves when you start fishing.  Anyway to cut a long story short since getting back from that trip I have been in a lot of pain and sometimes have found it really hard to get up from the horizontal.  I have tried to keep moving and have been taking Ibuprofen  to reduce the pain, but it has resulted in me cancelling two fishing trips one with Ryan fishing the Salt and another with Mark fishing Rattlesnake from my float tube.   I am desperately trying to get better so I have tried to keep active, being careful not to stress my back.  Well so much for the sob story.  Meanwhile I have managed to fit two new LCD lights in the garage, jet wash a large patio (it was either jet wash it or grow potatoes in the moss) and have a water color painting session with a 4 year old and a 6 year old!  I even helped a family friend with his heat pump installation for an hour or so.  My efforts have been completely eclipsed by my wife Rosalind who hasn't stopped working: what with clearing brambles; cooking; vacuuming; cleaning all the windows and fly screens; emptying a large refrigerator and washing all the shelves; washing floors etc. I don't know where she gets her energy from! And then there is dealing with a parrot who is addicted to Kellogg's Crunchy Nut!
Highlight of the day was having "Facetime" with my daughter Naomi and her family.
As soon as I get back on the water I hope to post some fishy news.

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Today, fly fishing success on the Sky thanks to my friends

Lonnie and I met up at 06:30 at the "Park and Ride at Sultan, I parked and having loaded my kit into his Explorer, we rode (and chatted as it was over a year since the last time we fished together). Lonnie explained that the water level in the south fork was higher than the north fork as the south picked up more snow melt, so that was where we were heading.

As we drove through Gold Bar etc, he explained that some of his favourite fishing holes where you had to cross the rail road tracks were out as the railway police were fining people who cross the tracks 80 dollars!  He said folk were not happy about that.

Having reached our favourite spot well up the valley, and kitted ourselves out with waders etc we headed for our favourite stretch.  Lonnie decided to fish sub surface with nymphs. I tied on the large dry that Ben in the Avid Angler Fly Shop had recommended.  We were to fish downstream along a seam of deepish water close to the opposite bank.  Lonnie remembering that he normally out fishes me, and being the gent that he is, let me lead the way. It took me a couple of casts to get distance and drift right, the fly being very visible, when BANG!  The water exploded and I had a good fish hooked up.  Lonnie gave a cheer and I focused on getting the fish under control in the strong current, and into the net (without falling over)!  The thought running through my mind was "this is what it is all about, this is worth all the travelling, all the waiting in line at immigration and customs, to have the privilege of being here in this majestically beautiful place and hooking a energetic bar of silver".  Given the excitement I could not remember where my camera was so having shown Lonnie I released the fish into the current. OK so it was only a rainbow of at around 12 inches or so but it was a perfect specimen.  Two casts later and the fly was pulled under but not held.  I stripped the line in so I could dry the fly. As I lifted the leader right in front of me a trout hit the fly and I realised it was the same one that had pulled it under.  It had followed the fly and had another go, a more successful go from my point of view as it connected.  I worked my way down the beat catching several more smallish fish.  Then I put a long line out and as it was about to drag I walked down stream a couple of paces and my foot caught on a stone so I glanced down into the crystal clear water.  Just as I took my eye off the fly there was a large splash as a big fish hit it, instinctively i lifted the rod and the fish broke free taking the fly with it.  Lonnie who had been watching the whole episode thought it was quite amusing.

Having fished that beat out we tried a few other places and Lonnie caught on the nymph and I blanked.  Then with the sun getting warmer and a strong up steam breeze we decided to head for home to do some chores.
I can claim to have out fished Lonnie this time, but only because he let me fish ahead of him and Ben put me onto a deadly fly (large, black foam, black legs and a shinny purple body, with a white parachute top making it easy to see).  Here it is. I am not sure what it is called!

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Things are hotting up on the fishing front

Temperature wise things are already scorching here, however there is still snow melting on the mountains so there is water in the rivers and fish as well. I caught some parr this morning and a large white fish just 20 minutes from the house on the Snoqualmie. I was practising for tomorrow when Lonnie and I are on the Sky.  I want to be able to hold my own so I popped over to Lake Forrest Park to see my old pal Ryan Smith owner of the Avid Angler Fly Shop.

Ben recommended some large dries so I am hoping to out fish Lonnie (for the first time).

It was great to see Ryan again although he was more handsome when clean shaven and I remember Britta's advice when I first met her about eight years ago that on large lakes the browns tend to occupy the margins and the bows the open water!

Later in the week I am going to fish the salt (Puget Sound) with Ryan so I am really looking forward to hooking up with some sea run cuts and maybe a salmon.

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Fly Fisherman's Struggle with Tramp!

Well I have wet a line on the Snoqualmie River above the falls for a couple of hours.  I had a couple of little fellers on the nymph fished under a dry.  It is so different fishing these large rivers compared to fishing upstream dries on the chalk streams.  Also the fish facing upstream were looking into a very bright sun and I was starting to cook!  So after I had my brief fishing fix it was back to the house and the next project which was to erect a "Springfree" trampoline.  See the white rods in the picture below, getting them located in the pockets in the edge of the mat took the combined strength of Dan and I.

I must report that the tramp was an excellent project and the grandchildren took to it immediately.  Because it has no perimeter metal springs to fall on it is a lot safer than the more common tramps.  After the initial bouncing stuff and shooting baskets the children decided that the best game was granddad throwing balls at them from the house balcony. Sadly I don't think that is an Olympic event!

The good news is that now I am no longer committed to a summer school taxi run each day I should be able to get some serious fishing in.  Forever the optimist (you have to enjoy the journey)!

Thursday, 31 July 2014


When we get to my son's home in Redmond, WA, USA there are always plenty of projects to get on with and we don't mind that working on the principle that if you stay busy you stay young!  However, when it comes to yard work (what we in the UK call gardening) and the property is surrounded by several acres, it can be (to put it mildly) a bit of a challenge, especially as the temperature is in the eighties.  So it was a great relief when we heard that two hundred reinforcements had been sent for.  

They were very hungry goats and they cleared the land of vegetation by eating everything in sight.  We had to keep the young children on the outside of the portable electric fence so they did not become desert!  It was amazing to watch them strip brambles and even try to climb trees.  You hire the goats by the day, they arrive in a special truck complete with a goat man and a couple of goat dogs.  Watching the goats munch their way through jungle is a bit of a spectator sport, so the neighbours appear and passing cars slow down and enjoy.


Having eaten everything in sight they were quite keen to load up and head off to their next meal.  Well done goats!