Helen and I hope that as you read this you have all had a great Xmas, ours was nice and quiet, we had our youngest daughter Joy over for a week with her dog Yeoman, and our good friend and neighbour Tim who is the local singleton popped over for Xmas lunch.
Good food and great company, what else do you need.
Those of you who are regular readers of my Blog will be aware of just how much work we put in to trying to make our fishery as good as it possibly can be, not just the fishing, but all of the facilities.
This year has been slightly different from our perspective in as much as the lake is developing in to exactly what we have been working toward and therefore will require less work during this closed season. The benefit of that of course is that it gives us more time to work on the other facilities.
The fishing really is improving year-on-year, and this year we have taken another massive leap forward. You may recall that last Winter we added more new stock and those fish were all between 20 and 30lb, they are young, hungry fish, so they have featured quite readily on catch reports this season which has helped to keep the fishing more active but they have had the affect of keeping our average fish size down.
Being exact with fish numbers can be difficult as some guys return them without recording any detail, some forget to read the chip numbers, some forget to record the weight, etc, etc. But 99% of you are great at playing my little game and consequently our records are very accurate.
Allowing for this 1% error rate our stats have improved quite dramatically from previous seasons and here are the annual stats for those of you that are interested:
We were open for 26 weeks over our potential 30 week season.
We had lots of guests but only 53 anglers.
Total number of individual fish caught was 216.
Total number of fish caught was 680.
Total weight of fish caught was 24,489 lb.
Average weight of the average fish is a tad over 36lb with the lake record still standing at 62lb.
Average catch per angler per week was 12.8 carp (a massive increase from the old 7.1)
Average catch weight was 462lb per angler per week.
Some of you will have had better sessions than others for a whole host of reasons but at least now you can all make a comparison against the season’s averages to see how you performed. For those of you who we have the pleasure of hosting next season you now have an up-to-date average to use for next season’s target.
As you know we had the roof on the house replaced this Summer and that has given us the certainty that we can commence a programme of refurbishment throughout the whole house without suffering any further ingress of water.
Since we closed at the end of October our entire effort has been on improvements to the house, we had 2 projects in mind for this Winter. The first was the en-suite to our main bedroom, after living here on a permanent basis for over 6 years it was time to improve our own comfort levels. The second was our conservatory which is also the dining room for ourselves and our guests.
We attacked the conservatory first, we are not sure when it was built exactly but whenever it was built it has never contained any insulation, during previous Winters we have had to have the radiator on full, a mobile gas fire on full and we have still had to wear extra woollies.
Our aim was to install a new ceiling with new electrics and a whole load of insulation in both the ceiling and the walls.
After ripping off the old cladding from the inside of the walls and inserting the insulation the next step was to first-fit the electrics and then fit the frame on which to suspend the new ceiling:
Once that was done all we had to do was board it all out and fill it with as much insulation as we could squeeze in:
After a bag of filler, a few coats of paint, some new LED lighting, and a couple of very nice fans, it was job done.
It has been well and truly worth the effort, we can now use the conservatory as a part of the house, we no longer have to close it off when the weather is cold, we don’t need the gas fire, and we don’t need to wear extra cloths. Lovely.
Hopefully the insulation will also help to keep some of the Summer heat out so those of you who choose to dine with us will also find it more comfortable.
The next job was our en-suite, it had a massive 2 meter long bath which no-one used, it had a horrible little shower which had no extraction for the steam so it was a bit black and mouldy, the furniture was very tired and to make it worse the floor had been tiled so it was always cold underfoot. It really did have to go.
Ripping out the old stuff was quite straight forward, apart from the floor. I hated that floor. Whoever laid it had done it properly, there was no way the floor was ever going to flex and thereby allow the ceramic tiles to move and become loose.
Double sheets of plywood had been screwed to the floor with the joints between the top sheets overlapping the joints in the bottom sheets ensuring that there was never 2 joints in the same place, the screws were every 150mm in all directions, literally hundreds of them. Then they had applied a very thick layer of levelling compound, then the adhesive and then the tiles.
This was never going to be an easy job and I was at it for days and days and days, aaaaargh!!!!!!!
Once again the pain was self-inflicted, I could have just levered the plywood sheets up, tiles and all, but underneath all of this mess was the original oak floor, I was desperate to save it and eventually I wanted it to be our new floor. The tiles came up quite easily, the problem was finding all of the screws and screwing them out without causing any damage. Each screw had to be dug out and exposed, then cleaned out to take a screwdriver, very laborious.
With every sheet of plywood raised came a little prayer, was the floor going to be in good condition underneath or previously damaged beyond repair, after all, why was it ever tiled in the first place ??
It was all looking good but the tension got worse as the sheets of plywood got less, I had this fear that as I lifted the last sheet I was going to find the floor full of holes or worse still there were going to be great big areas with the oak strips missing.
I lifted the last sheet of ply and felt a massive wave of relief as the floor was exposed and found to be relatively undamaged, my effort was not in vain !
It is covered in paint, and glue from previous carpets or lino, but once that is all off and I have sanded it all down I am sure that it will look stunning. I will let you know how I get on.
I was hoping to get the en-suite finished before Christmas but the floor has cost me a lot of time, at least the plumbing is all in, the radiator has been re-positioned and the electrics are all in place:
The refit is underway:
Most important is the toilet, it is now fully functional so if I have to get up in the early hours for a jimmy riddle I do not have far to go.
I hope to get the majority of the en-suite finished between now and the New Year as the 1st of January will see my attention change from the house toward the lake.
There may be less to do around the lake this Winter but it is still going to be a mountain of work, I reckon that it will take me the better part of January to get it all done and ready for next season. I will let you know how the work goes in my next update.
In the meantime Helen and I wish you all a very happy New Year and if you are not coming to us next season we hope that you find yourselves some great fishing in 2018.