The first mackerel of the summer

The first mackerel of the summer were a gift from Tommy. We had watched him for a couple of hours laying pots for shrimps across Kitchen Cove. I was hoping he might have caught some as well and we could have eaten those sat round the fire in the evening.

When I saw that his boat was in I took a walk down the pier to see what he had. He and Joe were sat in the cabin with cups of coffee. We talked briefly about the weather and how bad it had been. Maybe two days of it being good but that was it and the rain and grey would close down again. He was still catching lobsters and they were still going to Spain. It seemed that their financial troubles had not dimmed their appetite for good fish.

He then offered me a mackerel or two. I took them in my hand – slippery and hard still bright with their colour from the sea.  As I thanked him I said that we had friends coming that evening and so he gave me some more so that I was cradling them against my chest. We then poured them into a metal bucket and I took them back to the Cottage.

He had a whole tray of them – 30 or 40 fish, some pollock as well and was going to be handing them round to his neighbours.

I filleted them down by the rocks and put the fillets in the smoker for 10 minutes. We will have them this evening eaten with our fingers.

Later that evening we saw Paddy and Mary in Arundel’s. It was their grand-daughter’s christening. They both shook my hand and we talked about the weather. Paddy put my drinks on his tab. Two pints of Murphey’s and three bottles of coke.

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