Wednesday, 11 August 2010

California Dreaming!

She said YES!  It was as though, for a moment, the setting sun wavered and rose again, ever so slightly, over the horizon. An unexpected extra few moments of light at the end of the day.  The whole Pacific coastline was bathed in a warm glow, and so was I.  I nearly fell over.  Are you sure? Did you hear me? Is that it then?  All thoughts, racing through my head but thankfully prevented from leaving my lips.

We headed back across the warm sand towards the tent and that’s when we met John Maybury of Fort Bragg California.  He was carrying what looked like a lacrosse, which turned out to be a fishing net.  “Have you seen any night fish?” he enquired, “they follow the day fish!”  I explained that while I had just a few moments earlier, landed the greatest catch of my life, I had no idea of what he was talking about.  He was looking for Grunion, small fish about the size of whitebait, and he was using a traditional Native American Indian method to catch them.  The ‘lacrosse’ was a triangular fishing net, which he used to scoop the small fish from the breaking waves.  I managed to trade a couple of cold beers for a bowl full of Mr Maybury’s catch and we headed back to camp.

She’d impressed me all those months ago back in Leeds, dropping tequila & champagne slammers like they were going out of fashion.  The week on Menorca had revealed her penchant for slick camping gear as well as a couple of other points of note. We’d made a fantastic team, picking sites and pitching canvas along the Lost Coast, and now she was pulling heads off little fish!  But best of all she had accepted my proposal and agreed to become my fiancé.

They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.  Perhaps it’s the same route to the heart of a woman.  Whether it was the fancy cooking, my whittling skills or some other divine force at work, the Guyrope Gourmet played a vital role in this courtship ritual and set out a stall and standard to maintain.

The engagement celebration was a riot.  Laughing and joking about my having to ask her father for his daughter’s hand in marriage, we gutted and cleaned the night fish. Tossing them into a bowl of well-seasoned flour, my mind turned towards completing the meal.  It was obvious really.  We didn’t need anything else.  Seasoned night fish fried in olive oil, plucked from the ocean half an hour after high tide, a bottle of J.Lohr, Wildflower Gamay and a wedding to plan.

No comments: