A view on Fishing,Community and Life on the NW coast of Scotland

Posts tagged ‘fish pie’

Wagons Ho.

The evening shift went well out front although the kitchen is struggling as they are having extractor fan problems and the back up is not really working. Doors, windows open and praying for not too many steaks were the order of the night and they all came to pass. Still as you went from the prep to kitchen you entered a wall of heat. Although there were a few big groups booked they turned out to be well spaced out and it was an easy night as far as organising tables and seating. It has to be said that all the pre arranging and planning makes an evening run like clock work, it does not just happen. Tony was out on his holidays, something he always says when he has his plate of prawns.

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At 11.15pm there is no one in the bar, everyone is aware of taking in the bells either at home or at the hall. the hall has been open for over ten years now and mainly for visitors. A while back the usual first footing was being a little disrupted by guys who did not really know the protocol and some of the older folk were getting a little nervous with their “open” houses being filled with strangers who did not realise it was not a city style party they were at. The community hall opened to give these people a taste of Hogmanay and keeping an Applecross welcome for them while giving the elders a bit of peace and quiet.

At the Hall I have to say I did not connect as there was no one organising the Bells or “fireworks”. Although no one notices these things it was by the skin of our teeth we got every one out for the Radio Scotland New Year countdown but the fireworks were miserable. I only got two rockets off before giving up in the wind, getting an ironic cheer coming back to the Hall. Only had 8 to set off….not the best of displays but fitted in with Applecross’ new green out look.  Emily before and Becca after the bells, with an interlude of pipes from No4,

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provided some fine entertainment. Had some music backup on the Ipod but the Scottish was not in great demand. Stovies and couple of chats and home by 2.30am. Did mean that New Year’s morning started off with a clear head and after a wee catch up with first series of The Bridge it was up the road to paint the front door of the toilets and pick up the filleted ling for the fish pie. Met a couple of waifs along the loch side and was taken with their drinks transport….bit wild west with “wagons ho” coming to mind.

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Tongie was doing well as after I had left last night he was involved in a bit of crowd surfing setting off from the stage….the only thing missing was the crowd but that is Tongie for you. So it was home for a bit of wood chopping and fish pie construction and a bit of laziness. Nipped out for an appearance at the Milton Shed party but everyone was on a different level so did not prolong the “appearance”. I was a trifle late but by all accounts it was a fine display of music, camaraderie and food and carried on a tradition through to the next generation.

Today at the Inn it was busy but not manic and there was a lull late afternoon when I had a magnificent halibut with an essence of prawn sauce, wonderful food. A nice feel to the day and it finally felt as though the real New year had arrived when you wished a genuine good year to people when they had recovered from the libations of the last couple of days. There seemed to be a hopeful looking forward to 2014 and I had my first good political conversation of the year, again full of a hoped for change of direction, away from the tired, repackaged status quo. The weather in the Bay although not severe was poor enough for me not to go fishing and this is coupled with a very big tide.

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Listening to the forecasts there is a concern for the western seaboard which is going to be hit again tonight with another storm surge. A blink of sun is all we seem to be getting just now.

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A lot quieter this evening as the family additions left this morning in a wee car packed to the gunnels, dropping off personnel at Inverness and then Perth before completing the long journey to Dumfries. Dougal seems to miss them already,

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and all the walking he did over the holidays. He had four long walks yesterday. His mum and granny however seemed quite happy in front of the fire.

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Reading this back maybe it’s an age thing and sitting in front of the fire is becoming more desirable at this time of year and leave the “wagons ho” to the younger generation.

Starts with a tangle but ends with fish pie.

On the way out today I had a kilometre of tangled rope to sort out. Over the next couple of days that’s the morning job. ‘C’est la vie’ as they would say in Paris. Discovered who the skipper is that went through my gear, he’s back in town. We all thought he had gone to pastures new to bother other guys but we ‘ve to suffer him for the rest of the summer. Kenny and I have got some good feedback after our appearance at Holyrood. What we said seems to have been well received.

Did not let it spoil a good day. Flat calm and a few prawns caught with not many tangles and just two foul fleets. Almost as good as a decent fishing is catching your own tea and today it was fish pie which even although I say it myself was very tasty. Ling, crab, squats and prawns with a little help from the Applecross Inn in the form of Torridon hot smoked salmon. Topped off with tatties and a cheese sauce, hard to find a better meal.

RNLI, Food, and thoughts.

Still dealing with the fallout of our meeting at the Inn and lots of emails and discussions have followed. There are items that need to be clarified so any actions have to wait until this takes place. I see this community discussing and planning solutions to problems like never before. There is a realisation that there many problems that the community has no say or control over but that does not hamper the conversations. You influence the situations that you can and hope the the over-riding problems will change, dealing with them in the future. There was a really interesting conversation that took place on friday about how important the bottom line was to a business. On one side the argument was based on the fact the business was more than a business and the help, compassion and services extended to the community was paid back tenfold to the business by the community in trade and loyalty which in turn contributed to the success of the business. The other side of the argument was the bottom line is everything, creating distrust and decline. Social enterprise in action.

It was good to get a bit of light relief on friday evening although that meant taking a lot of not very sober people home around the various parts of Applecross. The 10th anniversary of the Applecross/RNLI boat pull. Over the 10 years they have pulled a model lifeboat on a trailer to a destination 50 miles down the road, raising 10s of thousands of pounds in the process for the RNLI stations. Wick, Dingwall,Barra and Skye have all been involved and they came to celebrate at the Community Hall to the sound of Rhythm and Reel, regular visitors to Applecross. It was a good night and good to get away from ongoing politics about the future direction of the peninsular. Being one of the only sober people who go to these events I am often asked to drive the Community bus to get the revellers home, as this did not finish until the wee small hours fishing did not happen on saturday even when the weather improved by mid day.

I got my hot box finished but still waiting for my thermometer before I launch into some real composting this week. Having really good food outlets means we will have access to lots of materials and of course the hens will be contributing. The combination of good compost, the wormery and rock dust hopefully will increase production in the garden meaning we should have excess that we can put to the local producers market and maybe the Inn. As it will take at least a year to get the soil back into proper condition photos of before and after will be available. As well as the hot box it was a day of rugby but the least said about that the better as winning the wooden spoon is not an accolade.

Mother’s Day at the Inn went off ok with a busy lunch, the star meals being the Rib Roast and the Fish Pie. The countries are mounting up as we have hit the 26 mark, Slovakia added to last weekend’s Greece and Hungary. I went up to the Walled Garden to sample the new menu on friday and had an amazing Pulled Pork roll, salad and chips. Once Pete and Jaqui’s flowers come out it is going to be a well visited venue.

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