All things natural

2007-11-14 00:00

MILLENIUM Bug is not the name of a trout fly. Wolf Avni describes how his son hijacked the parental fly-tying equipment to create a girl's earrings, which he called “millenium bugs”.

That story sets the scene for a collection of 86 essays that offer an insight into the life of a man who quit the city to become a trout farmer and supplier of hospitality in an area of natural beauty.

Vivid writing, together with the magnificent photographs that enliven the book, enables us to share Avni's enthusiasm for all things natural. We can learn from the epigrams of Surly the Gillie, or the sayings of old Puffadder.

Technical information about various aspects of fishing and natural history reflects remarkable diligence in bringing together accurate data over a wide field of expertise. A summary of the main features of various aquatic insects cannot be faulted, except for the minor point that a mayfly dun transforms into an imago, not the other way round.

Throughout the book scientific names are meticulously accurate, while the standard of reproduction and printing is excellent. Avni condemns those who jeopardise the ecological well-being of his beloved rivers and mountains through inappropriate developments or destructive agricultural practices. At the same time he deplores the lack of realism on the part of those who campaign to do away with all non-indigenous species, trout in particular. A mixture of light-hearted stories and evocative descriptions of scenery, wildlife and the changing seasons tempts one to keep turning the pages.

If you want a present for a friend, buy two copies and keep one for yourself.

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