‘Do you want some mackerel?’ asked the old man with a thick Scottish accent as we pitched our tent on a nice bit of grass. ‘I had some American lads who wanted to fish and they caught too many today, so I’m bringing them round the houses for people to eat. Leaving them is a waste of good food and that is no good at all.’

That is how we met seventy-year-old Alexander and his young 11-year old sidekick Nathan. 

         ‘Aye, they got to do something during the summer holiday. Otherwise, they only sit inside behind the computer, you know. That is no good, so I take him to sea and have him help me on the boat.’

We commented on how much cleaner the bay looked as opposed to a few years ago.

        ‘Aye, I took the shed and boat over from my brother after he died. I cleaned it up a bit. Had a pretty big bonfire to burn all the plastic stuff. But I let you get on with it.’

When we woke up the next day we knew it was going to be a drieg day. A gray day with a thick drizzle that wets everything. But now, at seven o’clock, it’s still dry. We get up and I start clearing out the tent while Alex starts making hot water for the thermos flask and porridge. We might be in the water before the wetness starts and leave this depressing bay on the last 2 hours of the tide.

        ‘Hello there!’ old Alexander approaches the tent with the young Nathan following behind him wearing a yellow raincoat, a happy-go-lucky cocker spaniel jumping around them. Alexander and Alexander strike up a conversation. The drizzle starts. Old Alexander doesn’t seem to notice it. He’s a Scotsman, for him, this is Scottish dry. I don’t think we are going anywhere today. We missed the tide and now and everything is wet. This is going to be a long day in the tent.

       ‘Aye, it’s going to be a drieg day. Why don’t you come in for a cup of coffee and we’ll talk some more.’

We get into our rain gear and walk up to the asbestos shed. First, we enter the shed part of the building with all kinds of fishing stuff, we get out of our rain stuff and leave it there to dry. We walk further in the livable space where a nice fire is burning in the hearth. The furniture has seen better days and the bunk bed looks a bit rickety. I guess a woman has never been in this shed and she certainly did not decorate it. It’s a proper man cave. In one area you could recognize as a kitchen, lay the whitest bread you can find and beer and cans of baked beans and bacon and eggs, canned mushy peas. You know, Scottish man food. No fresh vegetable in sight.

Behind our mugs of instant coffee, we see the tide go out through the grubby windows of the shed. Through the cobwebs, we could just see the fishing boat called ‘Girl Josie’ fall dry in the shallow water.

      ‘Och aye, we’ll be clearing the lobster pods when the tide is in, still need to do some pods just outside the bay. But first, I got to fix my boat. I need to get some things for the repairs. You can just stay here at the fire, no bother.’

My Alexander saw his opportunity and asked, ‘Can we come on the fishing boat when you empty the pods? I always wanted to see how you work on the boat and see lobster fishing in action.’

        ‘Aye, sure why not, but it’s not exciting or anything, mind. But I need to get my boat fixed ’, old Alexander answers.

Now that was a nice thing to look forward to on this gloomy day. 

2 hours later he was back. But he seemed to be reluctant to go to work, so he stayed inside to chat a bit more. Now the boat fixing could start. That was not a simple repair. Old Alexander wasn’t happy, so young Alexander went to see if he could help. After a bit of tinkering, the problem was solved and the boat’s engine was working again. By that time the tide came up and the boat was afloat. At 18.00 hours the lobster-fishing adventure could begin. You can check out the video by clicking the button.

We emptied 24 pods and caught 28 lobster. Alexander put the lobster in a holding pod for selling. 3 crabs and 4 damaged lobsters were put in a basket to take home. 

Back in the shed, the lobsters and crab claws were cooked in a big pan on the fire. But lobster and crab are best eaten cold. Although we were starving we had to wait for the cooling down. At 23.00 hours we found out we were the only ones eating the seafood. Old Alexander doesn’t care much for lobster. So we ended up eating two lobsters each. It was really delicious and challenging too. All kinds of tools from the shed and kitchen were needed to get under the hard armor of the crustaceans. Banging on the lobster claws with a rusty gamer on the dirty wooden floor of the ‘house’. We were stuffed after eating the lobsters so we saved the claws for lunch the next day. To finish the meal a bottle of whiskey appeared out of a kitchen cupboard. 

       ‘Aye, just a wee dram to finish a grand day, I’m not much of a drinker myself, but I like to share my whiskey with nice people like yourselves.’

It was midnight when we finally made it back to the tent. Definitely a day to remember with a wee dram of Glen Livid.

Charlotte Gannet

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