PAYMENT IN KIND ON THE SPEY
hello, Mr. Gunn
That interlude in a Grantown-on-Spey Bed & Breakfast occurred in 1973. I lived in London at the time. I spent several hours one day going through a pamphlet I'd picked up at Farlow's on how to go about fishing salmon in Scotland. I was completely dismayed at the costs involved, especially for beats on the Tweed and the Tay, the rivers I'd hoped to fish. I finally drew the conclusion that I'd never be able to afford a Scottish salmon experience.
But then I stumbled on a river called the Spey. In fine print, I learned that one could fish the "town water" on the Spey for 2 quid a day, providing that the angler "stayed at a Bed & Breakfast in Grantown-on-Spey". What a smashing deal! And that's how I came to meet Angus Maclellan.
He was quite a character. I'd only just met him and five minutes later, after proclaiming me a "keen fisher indeed", he insisted that I accompany him in his Mini. With sublime patience he drove me up and down the river, stopping at all his favorite spots, relating to me in absolute impeccable detail the where, the how, the when and the what of salmon fishing on the Spey.
I absolutely had to catch a salmon after all that tutelage!
The evenings were marvelous. Angus had several wooden crates he brought out after dinner. Each was the size of a large laundry basket, absolutely packed to the brim with Brass Faced and Alloy Perfects, Dingleys and old Farlow's. Each was packed in a blue velvet bag. He removed them from these bags like rare jewels and handed them to me as if they were the Faberge eggs.
I think it was then that my perverse fascination with these reels began, although at the time I couldn't imagine using such monstrously large pieces of equipment for my fishing.
And of course it was Angus that taught me the meaning of Payment in Kind, although it seems to be a sad lesson of life that now that I know what the term means, I've never been in a position to consider such an offer again...