A Fisherman's Tale

January 10th, 2017 in Features

A man and a little boy fishing

John's story

What makes your day a happy one?

Do you prefer a relaxing walk in the countryside, or an action-packed day at the football? Does the dreary rain get you down, or do you love splashing in the puddles? We are all unique, and, at Home Group, we want to celebrate your individual passions, preferences and skills when we work with you.

With that in mind, we are continuing to roll out our person-centred planning approach across our services, and we will soon be using an even wider range of tools and exercises to get to know you better and understand what makes you tick.

So how exactly does person-centred planning work in recovery? Here is just one example of how we have supported someone's wellbeing and independence by tapping into their personal goals, passions and happy memories.

A fisherman’s tale

By John Baxter

I woke up one morning excited with anticipation. I was really excited about going fishing again and I remembered thinking back to how I used to go when I was married, and the many times my father took me fishing as a young boy. Hopefully I can catch something again that my dad would be really proud off.

When I was a child I often went sea fishing with my father. Sometimes we would go alone, or sometimes we would go with his work colleagues who worked for the local electricity board. Our favourite location was Aldeburgh in Suffolk. Sometimes it would be freezing cold with wintry showers, but we never let anything put us off. Thinking back, the thermal underwear may have had something to do with it.

One day we went fishing to Aldeburgh, it would have been late autumn / early winter and, when we arrived at our destination, we unpacked our gear and started walking up to the beach. If you know this location, you’ll know that the further you walk, the deeper the water gets and, hopefully with a bit of luck we would find lots of fish. After we had walked for what seemed like ages I said something like “Dad are we there yet!?” I was about seven or eight and carrying loads of gear, so I remember having a little moan and being a bit cheeky. To be honest, I can still be cheeky at times!

We probably walked three or four miles on a shingle beach and this was hard work, but I secretly loved it. Thinking back now thirty five years or so ago to this occasion, I don’t think we ever believed we would have caught so many. After we got home, we had a count up and had over 100 fish! It made the local newspaper which was something I was always very proud off.

So here I was, nearly forty years later, ready to go fishing again. I was, still suffering from depression, but I had started learning how to help myself. My support worker, John, was one of the many people who inspired me and he encouraged me to get back into fishing.

So on this day, at around 9am, John picked me up ready for the trip. After picking up a couple of fellow clients we hit the road and, after about an hour we arrived at the reservoir. We soon had everything set up and it wasn’t long before we had our hooks and bait in the water.

The weather, if I remember correctly was amazing. It was hard work at first and I think only a couple of fish were caught for the first three or four hours. But we were all having an amazing time. I was so happy watching the tip of the rod in the water, waiting in anticipation for a bite.

After a few hours, John shared a few of his fishing tips with us, including how to stop the fish feeling the weight quickly, if it picked up the bait.

Shortly afterwards chaos came upon us! Everybody was catching on nearly every cast! By the end of the session I had caught the limit of eight which was amazing, It was my first trout fishing experience and John took a photo of my first ever trout, which he brought in for me a few days later. I have a tear in my eye now as I am writing this as this was an amazing thing to do.

After years of depression I had caught the fishing bug again and I was feeling great.

Right now, as I write this, I am smiling so much. I will never forget the trip and I’m hopeful that we can have even more times like this. It has played such a huge part in my recovery. And I hope that I can now share some of my skills with others who might also benefit from this amazing hobby

Just this morning, we had a date confirmed for our next fishing trip to Roker. So now my imagination is running wild with what we might catch. Of all the hobbies and interests I enjoyed before I became ill, I’m so glad that fishing wasn’t the one that got away!