It makes sense: broadly speaking, we are busier than ever in our professional lives, and more overwhelmed with choice in terms of how we spend our leisure time, too. As such, we place an ever-rising premium on that precious free time. We are increasingly unprepared to wait for anything.
Which brings us to fishing - a sport which doesn't so much demand your patience, as build its whole appeal around it. Personally, we like nothing better than a spot of flyfishing in rural Hampshire and nowhere more so, than at Mottisfont Abbey. We went recently, winding our way down the M3 and through the North Hants countryside with an old friend along for company.
Mottisfont, for the uninitiated, is the birthplace of modern day fly fishing; the very location at which F. M. Halford the man widely credited as the Father of so-called 'dry fly' fishing spent countless summers perfecting the art. The famous Oakley Hut, where Halford spent so much of his time at Mottisfont, still stands today. It has been left largely untouched since his death in 1914. Photographs in the hut show how little the river and the fishing has changed in the intervening century.
And that permanence is one of the things we most treasure about fishing. While most things in life are prone to swift change, both positive and negative, fishing remains the same simple challenge it has always been. It is still about relaxation, contemplation and concentration. And patience, of course.
There are three beautiful beats to fish at Mottisfont: the Oakley, the Rectory and the Main. Each offers not just excellent fishing, but the opportunity to enjoy the untrammeled beauty of the Home Counties countryside. Birds chirp here. Brooks actually babble. Mottisfont will dissolve your cityweary cynicism in a heartbeat. It will also remind you that speed and convenience aren't everything. There is still no quicker or easier way to enjoy the countryside than to go to it.
And fortunately for those among us who love fishing for it’s slow and deliberate pace, there is still no quicker way to catch a fish than to cast a fly, and wait for a bite.