Fisherman's Friends!

A while ago there appeared in an EMAP angling magazine, an advertisement, small and discreet, offering a service. 'Friends or Lovers for Lonely Fisherfolk,' it declared, together with a box number for applicants.

A date line for those who have been abandoned at the river bank. Haven't we all, at one time or another, I hear you cry. No, not that kind of abandonment. I'm not talking lack of inhibitions here. I'm concerned that there are sufficient lonely angling hearts out there that the advertisers reckoned they would get a good enough response to warrant the cost of the classified.

So, I am appealing to any single females who wouldn't mind befriending, or be-lovering, a forsaken fisherman. There is no need to resort to a dating agency though. It is relatively easy for a single angler to find a partner - or vice versa.

Supermarkets are the obvious places to go. Ladies, if you visit one of these locations late on a Friday evening, you can spot 'em. Unattached anglers will have in their trolleys, at least a few of the following: tins of sweet-corn or luncheon meat, food colourings and flavourings, dog biscuits, soya oil, dehydrated meals which turn instantly into a three course banquet at the merest sniff of boiling water, small amounts of anything fryable and so on.

None of these items are remarkable individually but, in combination, they're a dead give away, especially if the shopper also has a couple of T.V. dinners for two among his prospective purchases. Don't let this last deceive you, though. A microwaveable dinner for one will feed a five year old with a picky appetite, not your average sized angler.

When you spot a possible, the next phase of the operation is to 'accidentally' allow your trolley to ram his. The angler will not suspect a ploy. He will put it down to women drivers syndrome, raise his eyes to the heavens and sigh deeply but if you offer a smile, a few abject words of apology, admit that you're only a girly, can't tell left from right and totally lost control of your steering, he may find that he has picked up more than a Lean Cuisine and a bag of apples by the time he arrives at the check out.

And, if you are a willing, single male angler, all you have to do is to stand still and appear totally helpless and confused in front of the washing powder/loo cleaner shelves. Spoilt for choice, we women do not expect a mere male, with water on the brain, to understand the finer points of biological - or not - lime-scale removal or the sudden death of 99% of household germs. We're only too pleased to offer help and advice, especially if it leads to a permanent relationship.

I've been told that some supermarkets are even considering 'singles' shopping hours. Dates 'R' Us may go out of business.