Morden Hall once again provided the venue for the Wands annual dinner, as club members and guests gathered to celebrate another year’s work and play in and around our favourite river. As far as Wandly buildings go, Morden Hall is up there with the best of them – such is its proximity to the river that if you’d listened hard during the gaps in the animated conversation, you might even have heard the odd Wandle gurgle in the near distance. (Not to be mistaken for the committee members sampling the wine of course.)Wands Dinner 08

The food was excellent as ever – I can certainly vouch for the pate, lamb shank, and apple pie. And the wine wasn’t half bad either, as least as far as this uneducated palate was concerned.

It was a great honour to be joined by our two guests – Richard Aylard from Thames Water, and Charles Rangeley-Wilson, our new patron.

Creel black and white

Accidental Angler

There were many other familiar Wands faces amongst us, as well as at least a couple of new ones including new club members Paul Crowson and Jason Wright, who encouragingly had found us through this very web site.

Those who’d been lured along by the promise of prizes galore from the fiver-in-a-creel raffle weren’t disappointed either (spot the creel in the black and white photo above). From Erica’s bumper hamper to Richard Baker’s beautifully tied Yorkshire vs Wiltshire fly selection, there was pretty much a prize a head. One unnamed Wands member ended up with a signed copy of The Accidental Angler, only to then go and spill his drink over the author’s shoes in excitement. (Sorry about that Charles!)

And there were prizes too awarded for genuine talent. Congratulations to Jo Bishop on receiving the Golden Grapple, awarded annually to the female Wandler who’s contributed most to the river’s welfare over the past year. As a regular cleanup volunteer plus committee member of our very own club, I suspect it was an easy decision.

Jo Golden Grapple

The Wands Cup went to Andy Quayle for catching the first trout from the river in the past year on a dry fly. Andy wasn’t there to receive it, but hopefully it’s gracing his mantelpiece by now. There could be some fierce competition for it next year, especially if Ziggy wants it as much as he looks like he does from the shot below…

Wands Cup

Like many a good dinner, festivities were rounded off in the bar as fisherfolk discussed their favourite pastime. And, as often seems to be the case, at least one wife’s eyebrows were raised as once again tales of fish sizes increased in direct proportion to the amount of beer drunk. See you all next year!

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