Getting Articulated A play on words with Bob Graham
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One feature of the English language is that many words are polysemous. That is they can have several meanings. A simple one is ‘pen’, which can be a male swan or a writing implement that will soon be extinct when we all use word processors.
Dictionaries have their contents listed under ‘headwords’. ‘Articulate’ is a headword. The first definition is the principal meaning of the word and it is followed by other meanings and then other constructions. For example adding a‘d’ to articulate changes it to an adjective – an articulated lorry.
All very uninteresting and worthy of the attention of semanticists and philologists but what does it have to do with troot catching.
Do you know that fly tying involves articulation? Think of the normal tying of a Worm Fly with two hooks joined by a piece of nylon. This is an articulated fly. What about flies with stingers attached? Usually a small treble, a stinger, is again attached to the main fly by a piece of nylon or wire - an articulated fly. The next time someone asks what you are using tell them it is an artic. And watch their faces.
Articulation can be used in another sense. Over the years the architectural meaning of articulation has moved from referring to building joints to the overall decoration of the building. A very simple building has walls, a roof and a floor and looks like a stone, brick or concrete scab. What the architects do is to add articulation. Maybe a different colour of brick above the doors and windows; maybe some fancy columns and arches; maybe going the whole hog as in the Scottish Portrait Gallery building in Edinburgh with statues all round the building. That, gentlemen and ladies is articulation.
Again, what’s it got to do with troot catching.
Take a Black Spider. A bit of thread and hackle is all you need. Then start to articulate it by adding a silver rib. Then add a G.P. tippet and you have a Black Pennell. Add a wing and you have a Blae and Black. All flytying is articulation – you can express your own personality through your flees. And that takes us back to the principle meaning of the headword ‘articulate’. An ability to express yourself fluently and coherently.
Just think, when you’re sitting at the bench you’re up there with the Corbusiers and Spences. Who said troot catchers were thick? And do the troot know we are fluent and coherent?
Bob Graham is an occasionally lucky gentleman who claims he does not do very much these days other than try to catch trout five or six days a week. Bob is a regular at Hillend Reservoir and lives in Whitburn West Lothian.