Dr. Michael Charter

At 80 you deserve an afternoon nap!

My father and I have lived thousands of kilometres apart since I was 15. I grew up on England’s southern chalk streams and fly fishing became my guide through life, my balance, inspiration, source of friends, my teacher, entertainment and fuelled my thirst for knowledge. For his 80th Birthday 10 years ago this June I booked a weekend fishing the River Test. I did not tell him I was coming over from Australia, I just turned up at his cottage on the edge of the New Forest in Hampshire. As I walked up the path, he happened to come through his garden gate and the moment was precious. This photo was taken on that trip on the second of two very full days fishing. I had noticed my father had been gone a long while downstream. I panicked thinking he may have fallen in and raced back, only to find him fast asleep, the split cane he had made that year and caught six fish on that day, lying in front of him. It is a fly fisher’s picture of utter contentment. A river of rising fish, mayfly dancing and a shady spot to rest awhile. My father and I deserved so many more adventures together, but I am grateful for every one of the few we have had. This June he turns 90, I won’t be there, but I have no doubt we’ll exchange emails and talk not of his birthday, but rather of how the trout season is.