Once again the PAA added a little dignity to the T&G Tackle Show at Stoneleigh Park on the 16th and 17th of this month, a few of us mere innocents amongst all the bandits of the tackle trade. We shared a corner booth with the Angling Trust and the Federation of Sports and Play Associations, well away from everything except the Fox stand (I wonder who we upset this time?). Only joking – we are lucky to get the chance to publicise ourselves for nothing and we are finally being taken seriously by the tackle trade.
We were even invited to the gala dinner and awards presentation where one of our number, Jimmy Coffey (who has been recently co opted onto our board of directors) was given an award for Coach of the Year by National Fishing Month, an attractive, large but rather fragile glass groundbait bowl. He had to go up onto the stage to collect it and gave an excellent acceptance speech, although the last time I saw someone so reluctantly in the public eye they were in the dock at the Old Bailey. Some of the other speeches were more controversial and the less said about David Hall’s contribution the better. He flirted with every taboo I can think of and one or two that surprised even me.
The meal was excellent, the drink flowed freely and when the entertainment started towards the end of the evening I think I was the only sober person in the room (had to stop drinking twenty five years ago, occupational hazard in the Met) who noticed how dire the singing was. Watkins lost consciousness standing up in the bar but claims it was tiredness and several people looked a little jaded the next morning (nice sunglasses, Naidre!) but everyone soon perked up.
The show was great and I personally enjoyed every minute of it. Two days in the company of fellow coaches (and Naidre), some of whom I hadn’t seen for years, in a hall full of stands showing the latest fishing tackle and staffed by people who want to talk about it. What’s not to like? Is this how it will be in heaven? If so I’d better smarten up my act!
We managed to negotiate, confirm and renegotiate some great deals with manufacturers and importers, many of whom were more than generous and as a result I can see that the PAA has taken one more step to becoming what it was meant to be – a coaching support body. All it needs is for you guys to start using some of these deals otherwise we lose or credibility with the manufacturers.
Many thanks to Naidre and Eileen who managed to overcome the problem of a kettle with too much cojones for the electrical circuit, as supplied and therefore ensuring that those of us doing all the talking were able to keep our throats lubricated with tea and coffee throughout the two days, and to David Hall and T&G who made it all possible.