Poor Ben... nobody warned him about MojoMeantime. Of course, we didn't know about it either...yet. But thankfully, it didn't stop us from having a Bang Up day leaning how to fly fish with Ben Bangham.  The story of the MoJo crew’s autumn visit to the UK is a tale of the unexpected. The trip took on some wonderful twists and turns as the ‘sisters’ breathed their own brand of the off-beat and the downright eccentric into the trip.

Perhaps the greatest revelation was a quantum one as time and space took on a completely new dimension. It was a concept the MoJo mamas seemed completely at ease with but one that left me briefly dazed and disoriented.

It began on a miserably wet Wednesday morning in October. The rain was coming down in wind-blown sheets but all was still on for a pre-arranged day of fishing.

MoJo were going to learn the arts and skills of fly fishing for trout at a lake close to one of the iconic chalk streams of Wiltshire. They were due to meet the magnificently named instructor Ben Bangham at 9. 30am at Woodborough on the River Avon.

There’d be a walk along the river where the ecology of a trout stream and the wiley ways of the brown trout would be explained. Then casting practice followed by a chance to catch a trout from the beautiful lake.

Nine thirty came and went.

Phone calls followed.

They were about to leave the cottage at Cirencester thirty miles away. Oh! They’d only be an hour late then.

A quick call to Ben. That’ll be fine said the laid back instructor.

Ten thirty came. And went. We were still in a NoMoJoShow situation.

Another call. Yup, definitely, possibly left the cottage now. Faith in that promise was not high.

Another hour passed. No show MoJo and Bangham wore the patient smile of a seasoned fisherman while probably wanting to bang his head on the wall of the fishing hut. No problems, he said, we’ve got all day which was already factually incorrect and two hours behind the passage of the sun.

In the end it was a MiddayMoJo arrival and the fishing experience began with Ben showing heroic courtesy while the sisters muttered stuff about broken hair driers and weather.

And so MoJo Mean Time was conceived and thereafter factored into the schedule.

What about the fishing you may ask? Well Ben weaved his magic showing how the delicate balance of a chalk stream supports the elusive trout. Right on cue a kingfisher flashed past in a fly-by.

Then the MoJo team spent a couple of hours of fun and fascination as they tried to master the skills of casting a line and catching a trout. Oh! And it didn’t stop reigning all day.

MoJo Mean Time - Two and a half hours behind GMT

gatebarrowmodA chill autumn day and the Mojo team were walking up a valley into the chalk downlands that lies between the town of Marlborough and the famous Stone Circle at Avebury four miles away.  

In the West of England such valleys are often called combs (pronounced cooms) a word derived from the Celts.  They are generally steep sided, meandering affairs created thousands of years ago by Ice Age glaciers or their melt waters.

In the summer they are carpeted with all manner of wild flowers; harebells, bee orchids, yellow rattle and cowslips to name a few. A myriad butterflies feed off the flowers while skylarks sing in their thrilling elevator flight.

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Lord it blew. How it blew! 

The gravel hard rain had stopped but the wind was still pushing us here and there as we scurried along the harbour side looking for somewhere to eat. And then the Cornish storm literally pushed us into the doorway of what, at first glance, seemed to be a whitewashed cottage on the quayside. But there was a menu posted in the doorway and, hopeful, we stumbled out of the gale into a hearty welcome. We’d found Outlaw’s Fish Kitchen and we were about to experience an assault on our senses to rival the weather’s blast outside. 

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Sometimes we get things wrong and sometimes, unintentionally, we don’t provide our readers with the full picture. To that extent we’d like to fess up to an incomplete article we wrote a couple of years ago when Bohemianmojo posted an enthusiastic and complementary piece on the pleasant town of Frome in the UK’s West Country.
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The MojoMakers had been in the UK for about a week and were only just drying out from two days of English rain when we set off for the tiny village of Buscot.  Their first drenching had been on a day’s fly fishing tuition; the second, and the heavier of the two, was on a foraging expedition in the beautiful Savernake Forest. So the opportunity to visit a blacksmith’s forge promised to be a warmer and drier adventure by far.  Everyone was excited. I’d arranged the visit through my youngest son Morgan who had qualified as a smith in June after three years at the UK’s National School of Blacksmithing.

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“Well yes, it is tasty but it doesn’t rhyme with tasty; it actually rhymes with nasty.  It’s a pARSty Stephanie, not a pAYsty.”

It took at least a day to teach Stephanie how to pronounce the name of Cornwall’s national dish, the pasty. Her rendition made the scrumptious West Country meal sound rather pale and unhealthy which it most definitely isn’t.

We were already well on our way to the ancient kingdom of Cornwall so there was no way I was going to sing ‘Let’s call the whole thing off’ just because an American couldn’t say pasty properly.

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