For some years now I’ve used the tagline ‘Passionate About Much, Obsessed About Nothing’ on my social media posts. If I had to choose my own epitaph then that’s what I would go for. It’s not just a saying but rather a principle that I live by.
For me, obsession is a bad thing. It controls you; it consumes but in a negative way and it causes an unbalanced mind. On the other hand, passion is healthy. It releases you into a positive lifestyle.
Take my angling for example. I really love it, but when I’m away from the bank I’m not hating life and wishing it away. I don’t count down the days, hours and minutes until I’m water’s edge again. I’m very passionate indeed about angling but I’m not obsessed.
My faith is the same. It’s very important to me but I don’t have an unhealthy obsession. You see it in some, religious mania can be very unsettling and disturbing. I’m passionate about my faith, it’s who I am, it’s what I’m about, but I’m not obsessed.
It’s all about balance. Passionate about much, obsessed about nothing. In fact, I’ve changed the heading of my blog to that. This week’s entry headline is the Elvis Presley track, Always On My Mind, that you can listen to via the Spotify link below.
It was written at the time his marriage broke up. You were always on my mind is not a positive song, it’s a sad one. It talks about regrets, the way things could have been, the desire for a second chance. It’s a song of obsession not passion.
As has been the case in recent blog entries, my Poachers Pocket set-up features in my angling again this week. I was on the canal doing a session and a lure angler making his way through commented on it. The mini-rod and reel stands out. As I shared with him, what started out as a way to get fishing in when I wouldn’t normally be able to, has actually become a method of choice. I enjoy fishing this way and it’s certainly very practical and convenient.
My sessions this week saw me on canals and a brook, where roach and a single bullhead were banked. On one occasion I had a hook-pull on a perch about 2lb at the net. This wasn’t due to the set-up though, these things can happen any time regardless of what you’re fishing with. When this does happens though, rather than discourage, it actually inspirse me to get back to the venue and try to right the wrong, so to speak. I’ll be back.
The temperature – both air and water has continued to be rock-bottom this week. The mornings have been greeted by frost and the daytime air temperatures have been low singles. Of course, as you can imagine, the water – and as anglers that’s what really counts – has been very cold. There is a sense that the fish do become accustomed to it during a long spell but also that they definitely lose their appetite.
This is where my oft-used statement ‘As long as your bait’s in the water, you’ve got a chance’ comes into its own. I’ve managed 13 outings this week, all very short ones but I caught and that’s something I wouldn’t have done if I hadn’t made the effort. And that’s exactly what you have to do sometimes – push yourself. Not just in angling though but life in general.
When conditions are like this it’s important to fish the right spot. On the canal I’ve been on (Staffs/Worcs) the water has been crystal clear. You could walk the length of the stretch and see the bottom quite clearly – and also the lack of fish. They’re still in there though, just not evenly spread. That’s where watercraft comes in, it’s based on experience and common sense.
Look for overhanging trees and bushes, reed beds, bridges, locks, stone structure and permanently moored boats. They’re all features that offer shelter and protection which fish instinctively head for. Plus, if you can, fish at dawn and dusk when the light levels are low. Even though it’s been very cold, the sun has been dominant at times.
A Visit To Glasgow And The Irn-Bru Factory
This is the second season that the Scottish Challenge Cup has gone under a new name to reflect the sponsors (Irn-Bru Cup), broadened it’s horizon and opened up to teams from beyond the country of origin. Last season, The New Saints (TNS) reached the semi-final and this time round we are back in the last four.
Part of the build-up involved the captains of the sides (although Northern Ireland’s Crusaders couldn’t make it this time) filming at the Irn-Bru factory. Last season it was based on a tour of the plant itself, this time everything was in the yard around the trucks. I was there with our captain, Paul Harrison, and due to the early start we travelled to Glasgow the day before.
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The perks of being in the #IrnBruCup semi-final is getting to visit the #IrnBru factory in #Cumbernauld That’s two years on the bounce now. This time with #Dumbarton and #InvernessCaledonianThistle along with #TheNewSaints As well as the official stuff, a selfie. Always a selfie.
H, as he is known at TNS, came up on a late train due to other commitments but as I had a free day in that sense, I set off on the 11.37 a.m. from Wolverhampton. I had a number of articles to write, research to do and of course, answer the non-stop flow of emails. I did a certain amount on the train and then finished everything off in my hotel room next to the River Clyde. I also enjoyed a walk around Glasgow itself.
On the way back, we had Kevin Bridges sitting by us on the train. Now at this point let me add I didn’t even know who he was, it was H who told me. In fact I had to do an internet search just to even find out what he did. Always looking for a media opportunity though, I got a photo of him with our captain for TNS social media. Plus a selfie for me. Always a selfie.
Sports Chaplaincy UK
My travels also took me to Cardiff for the SCUK Wales conference. One of my roles at The New Saints FC is that of club chaplain. It might not be anywhere near as high a profile as many other things that I do, such as matchday radio commentary or post-match interviews but for me it’s a great privilege and honour to serve in that way. It’s a very practical application of faith.
Back to my comments at the head of the blog entry this week, my faith is important to me. Without doubt we do live (here in the UK) in an ever-increasing secular society and having a bold Christian faith isn’t always seen in a positive light.
That’s where – whatever your ideology, belief or opinion – you have to stand strong and firm on your views. Peer pressure isn’t just something that affects young people, adults also have a fear about what others think of them. Fear debilitates. As far as I’m concerned, I’m a Christian. It’s not something I apologise for, it’s who I am.
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