Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Smoked salmon and chips.

             We moved to Scotland in the late 1970s, me , my husband and our 7yr old son. Hubby was working offshore in the oil business and so a move to the Aberdeen area was inevitable . At first we lived in the village of Kemnay on a small estate of houses built for incoming workers and then later to a large house outside the tiny village of Monymusk. It was in Kemnay that our daughter was born, the first year we were there.,                                                
            The houses in Kemnay were built on a beautiful grassy ,semi- rural area beside a huge curve of the picturesque River Don . Hubby was immediately taken with the location as all he had to do was walk a few yards from the house and there was some of the most wonderful fishing Scotland has to offer ! Not having fished the fly since he was a boy, he was most eager to start again . I am not a fan of "catch and release", I dont believe fish dont feel pain ! I mean, how does anyone know ? So the deal was made that it would be fine with me as long as we ate whatever he caught !                            
           At the time hubbys work schedule was two weeks away one week home , so this gave him plenty of fishing time but the "day tickets" were quite expensive .However, this was soon solved as hubs got to know the owner of that stretch off the river pretty well ( he was always at the "big house" buying tickets !) and learnt that she needed a "part-time" ghillie to assist her existing one . There was no pay as such, just the permission to fish whenever he wanted  as long as that particular beat was not booked, and all he had to do in return was patrol the river checking permits occasionally.! Well, as you can imagine he didnt need asking twice.........he was like a kid in a sweet shop and I soon got used to being a fishing widow as he spent hours down on the river . I couldnt blame him , the River Don is a particularly lovely river and kingfishers and heron and huge dragon flies flirt around the edges and all you can hear is the gentle bubbling and swirling of the water..........its just how I imagine heaven !                                              
           There is always a snag , well not really a snag but hubby proved to be remarkably good at fly-fishing and most days came back with a salmon, and when I say salmon I mean HUGE salmon, most of them over 20lbs ! We all like salmon and so it was , at first, fairly easy to keep to our agreement and eat everything he caught. This arrangement worked perfectly until one year , which must have been a "bumper" year for salmon, he started to catch so many that we were having salmon almost every meal ! Salmon poached, baked , fried . Salmon in pies and fishcakes . Salmon and broccoli , even salmon and chips . Then a pal got a job at a fish smoking place so we sent the best specimens off to be smoked . Oh it was absolutely delicious , it melted in the mouth and we had it as a "starter" almost everyday and our son took it in his lunchbox and we took it on picnics ,and our dinner parties were famous for the quality of our smoked salmon and because we had the blooming stuff coming out of our ears, visitors went happily home clutching a side of the damn stuff ! And our freezer was stuffed with it !                                        
            By now we were travelling the length and breadth of the country , going to dog shows and this particular day we were down in England and stopped at a motorway service area for coffee etc. It was Summer school holiday time and the place was packed and the queue was huge. I was trying to establish exactly what sandwich my, now 4 yr old daughter, wanted. I read out all the different options, none of which were very inspiring, I must admit. She just looked blank so I read them all out again, aware of the restless queue and impatient "tutting" . Anyway this little child of mine yawned, gave a Gallic shrug and then in a very loud voice , with all the world weariness of a 50yr old said .....
           Oh, anything Mummy, as long as its not smoked salmon again. Im sooooooo tired of smoked salmon ! "
           I will leave you all to imagine the looks we got !   


  1. What a picture you paint xxx

  2. Lovely lovely story! From one who's never been especially over-faced by salmon, it sounds idyllic.

  3. What a good blog post! Very descriptive, and the bit about all that salmon was very funny! Well done. xx