Wednesday, May 11, 2005

The importance of fish

My sister had never been to Scotland although two of our grandparents were born there. As she is off back to Oz in a week we agreed to a short visit after the election. Well, I agreed, BBM just came along. He seemed pretty tired but it took about three days for a really bad cold to develop. Ghastly cough and a sneeze that would reverberate around the Grand Canyon for hours. Then he burst a blood vessel in his left eye. Red Eye which he as a photographer should appreciate. But he refuses to look when I give him a mirror.

First to Inverness where they seem to have had a General Election of the old fashioned kind. Every lamppost and every tree were voting either Labour or Lib Dem sadly not many Scot Nats. We stayed Saturday night at a gentle countryhouse hotel. I was consoled by a silver framed photo of Alex Salmond and Sean Connery with the proprietor, on a table in the hall.

On Sunday we drove to Oban. A change of constituency to Argyll I think, but still in the land of the Liberal Democrats. Asked at the hotel for best fish restaurant, and after a couple of mini lessons in Gaelic and the pronunciation thereof-set off for "EE Usk" on the waterfront. "EE Usk" is Gaelic for fish (as in EE Usk and chips).

On the glass door of the restaurant we read "Seafish restaurant of the year-2005" It must be at the most eight weeks since BBM and I attended the Seafish Awards dinner at the Royal Lancaster Hotel in London where the owners of EE Usk were the winners of the top award.

We all had marvellous mussels followed by various EE Usks with our chips. Haddock, Halibut, Turbot. Wish we had a restaurant like this in the constituency.

Drove to Tarbert Loch Fyne the fishing village our great-grandafther set out from for New Zealand. Our grandfather, a merchant seaman and master mariner went back to visit Tarbert several times when working at sea. Someone sent us a copy of a letter he wrote in 1902 lamenting the fact that now he was married with three children(our father wasn't born for another decade) he doubted if he would ever see Tarbert again. He dreamed about those wonderful fish suppers he had with the family in "the old country". Fish so fresh, straight from the loch. New Zealand fish he wrote, were not nearly so tasty.

Maybe it was our grandmother's cooking.

Our grandmother was a Bute woman, so we went off to Rothesay by three ferries and a few narrow country roads to look at the place where she was born in 1869. Her father was a tailor . She was born in a room above his shop on Victoria terrace looking out to sea.

Suggest to BBM that as a grand daughter of Tarbert and Bute and the wife of a fishing MP, the sea has played a big part in my life. No reaction at all. Just another bout of old man's coughing.

BBM says he has not the strength to go to London for the party meeting and to listen to Blair's Apologia. Think this is a good idea as it will stop him being tempted into the troublemakers team on day one.

Suprise myself that I feel very strongly that unity is what is now required. Blair has said he will go. That should be enough.


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