There is nothing attractive about a wetsuit. They are tight, uncomfortable, ungainly things that squeeze at your body, pushing the stomach into places it does not want to go, cutting off the blood supply to arms, legs and head and for good measure constricting the throat so in order to breathe you have to hold your head up high and look straight ahead. But they do help keep you warm when the water cold.
So yesterday I squashed myself into one which did all of the above and then managed to rearrange my crotch so that it lay awkwardly across my lower stomach.
I looked like the gimp from Pulp Fiction and no doubt made a fine sight as I found myself bumping into our neighbour, who kindly introduced herself and then spent five minutes passing pleasantries as I stood legs forced akimbo trussed up and ready for the rack.
I then took out one of the kayaks and went fishing for mackerel. There is an additional frisson trying to catch fish so low in the water and in a boat that can easily capsize with one bad move. There is no room for anything so if you do catch fish the line and the hooks and the thrashing fish all have to be tucked into the six inch gap between the knees and you then have to try an untangle them and get the fish off the hooks, give them a tap on the back of the head and then throw them into the bucket.
It can be difficult enough with just one fish on the line. Yesterday my first haul of fish had four of them all pulling in different directions a fighting to get away. The mackerel had some brief revenge as the hooks caught in my fingers and legs as I tried to get through them.
I caught another six of the course of the next twenty minutes. Each time the line went back into the water it was more of a tangled mess until it was time to give up and paddle back to the Cottage.
As I paddled back I saw a kestrel over Owen’s Island. It hovered in the light presumably looking for some seagull chicks that might still be in the nest although it seems too late in the season for that.
I had three of the mackerel for lunch on the barbeque eating them less than an hour after they had come out of the water. They only took five minutes to cook and I had them just as they were. They were very fine.
The rest of them I filleted and skinned. I then chopped the pale stickly flesh with sweetened cucumber, capers, gherkins, lemon juice, olive oil and seasoning. I ate the mackerel tartare smeared on small pieces of toast with a dash of horseradish.
Later I made first use of the Pernod but that is another story.