YOU may recall that a couple of months ago, I promised my ten year old granddaughter Elise I would take her fishing.

Well, that day finally arrived last week, and I don’t know which of us was more excited.

First of all, I had to find my fishing tackle, which had not been plied in earnest for five years or more

That meant hunting out my venerable fishing bag, which has been in my possession since my early days on the Couran in the 1970s. Quite against company rules, I answered a small ad in the paper before it had hit the streets, and scooped up a vast collection of rods, reels, line, flies, floats, spinners and links for something like £20.

Of that cornucopia, only the bag has survived 40-odd years of cruel mistreatment but it is a long way past its best. None of its multiple zips fastens, lengths of nylon dangle mysteriously, and it smells of fish and Pek Pork and beetroot sandwiches. Plunge a careless hand into one of its many pockets and compartments and you are sure to withdraw it with a mangled Greenwell’s Glory buried under your fingernail.

I have always been a fly fisherman blessed with more enthusiasm than skill, but for Elise’s introduction to the water, I decided we would go worm fishing rather than attempting the more difficult fly casting.

I was fortunate to have been given not one but two spinning rods for my 70th birthday, and this would be the perfect opportunity to break them in.

I knew they were both in the tiny wardrobe in the master bedroom at Hextol Towers, and found one in seconds, but the other appeared to have vanished into thin air. It was a collapsible nine foot rod in a flat case, but after toppling piles of clothes, rearranging shelves and moving suitcases it was nowhere to be seen.

It wasn’t until the next morning that I underwent a severe berating from Mrs Hextol for making a mess, before she handed me the rod, which had been hiding in plain sight,

With the equipment assembled, I got in touch with Elise, and said that the great day had finally arrived, but she would need to bring a few worms.

Now some little girls are squeamish when it comes to dealing with slimy things or those with multiple legs - her elder sister is petrified of butterflies - but Elise is made of sterner stuff.

She rang me that night to ask whether I thought she had gleaned enough worms from her garden, and when I asked how many, she replied: “68 -some whoppers but a few tiddlers!”

It was just what we needed - I hadn’t got round to harvesting any for myself, as I have a somewhat ambivalent attitude to worms on the grounds that my elder brother used to make me eat them at school for the amusement of his classmates.

I picked her up at 8-30 the next morning, but she confessed she had been up and ready at the door since 7-30, her own bait in one bag and the 68 worms in her seaside bucket,

So we rolled up to Leaplish on a searingly hot day, only to find the shop didn’t open until 10am, so he had to backtrack the three miles to Tower Knowe to purchase our tickets.

Then it was down to the water, which could be glimpsed through the trees, but maddeningly, we couldn’t find anywhere to get down to it.

We walked for many minutes before finally squeezing down a hidden path, and tottering over to some sloping rocks on the lake shore.

Our orange bubble floats were soon floating on the water, worms dangling seductively, and the tension was palpable - but the fish refused to co-operate.

My knot tying skills were not what they used to be, and we lost one bubble float which drifted halfway to the middle of the lake, but the wind brought it back again an hour later, with the worm still attached and unmolested.

The bright and sultry conditions did not augur well, but I thought the piscatorial gods might have smiled on this little family get together after I had seen Elise only fleetingly and via video link during the many months of lockdown

Sadly it was not to be, but we chatted happily while unravelling twisted line, eating our bait and falling over a couple of times. Elise did hook something - but it was only a large log.

I assured her we could go as soon as she was fed up, but she refused to countenance such a thing, and it was only when the wind made it impossible to cast that we went home, two fishless but happy souls.