Yesterday I was down by Regents Canal just sitting by the water when I noticed a man fishing nearby. I had no idea you could fish in London canals, so I was quite intrigued. I went over to him and asked him about it. We started talking, and he told me all about what kind of fish he found in the canal and how he just did it for the fun of it; letting fishes go once he caught them. He had been sitting in his “lucky spot” all day and had not had a single bite.
This man, who I later found out was called Joe, works a long distance haulage contractor in Europe. He told me he has had migrants at Calais trying to get into his truck. As we talked about the ins and outs of driving long distances and HGV, (Miss W’s dad, Mr W, used to do the same type of work) I looked out to the water and noticed a slight tug at his fishing line. Sure enough, Joe had caught a fish. He was ecstatic.
He reeled it in while laughing and saying I had brought him good luck. I was very pleased that he thought my presence somehow had caused a fish to bite.
The best thing about this moment was that Joe was just so happy to be experiencing it with someone else. He said to me “See, you came along to talk to me and we talked on the same level about this and that, and then I got a fish! You’ve made my day! You have brought me good luck!”
Miss W is sceptical as to whether she actually brought him luck, but whatever the reason the fish decided to bite right at that moment after all day of nothing, it was a lovely shared moment. It made me think about how sometimes, specially in London, we avoid the humans around us, as if they were obstacles to be surmounted in our race around the city.
I am generally quite a curious person, and it was my curiosity about the fishing that led me to talk to Joe. I could have just wondered about it and walked past, and our human encounter would never have occurred. I love the serendipity of this moment. So, this post is really just to encourage you to stop and talk to strangers if your curiosity is piqued. Here go more pictures of Joe with his fish (if anyone knows what kind of fish it is please let me know, Joe did tell me but I’ve forgotten!)