Maria has known her friend Kay for nearly thirty years since they both worked at securicor together with Les, the twins father. Kay and her husband John have been very supportive and good friends and anyone that knows Kay will know that she is ever so slightly bonkers, not dissimilar to Maria then 🙂 however, Maria is quite practical though….
Earlier in the week, Maria decided that her trouble with fishing (she has still not caught anything we could actually eat in two years) was probably caused by inferior equipment rather than poor technique. So she took the rods to our local fishing tackle shop, who have sold us our own body weight in bait, and asked their opinion. I was a little surprised when she came back with two new rods and tackle explaining that she now had the answer to all our fishing problems.
Kay and John are due to arrive late morning which is perfect for the tides since we will get through Ipswich lock when they have the level and drift down the river with the tide and light northerly winds (again, we have never seen such a long period with solid Northerlies). 11am and no sign of our guests. The boat is ready and the cats are getting impatient, they know we must be going somewhere so either go or let me off the boat! Half an hour later we get a call and a sorry story of locking themselves out with their phones inside and having to wait for their daughter to let them back in – it can only happen to Kay. We get everyone on board, including the cats, and set off. A few refreshers for John who is keen to learn and we safely and easily get through the lock and start to sail down the river at a very gentle pace. The weather is gorgeous, in the twenties and I need sun cream to avoid becoming a lobster. We make the turn into the Stour but not before a little hiccup when the wind does an about turn and literally goes from behind us to on the nose. More drifting gently down river before Maria declares that she wants to fish this evening and so can we get there. We find our favoured anchor spot near the cardinal under the Royal Hospital School.
Time for Maria to break out the new fishing gear and to get the ragworms ready. Now Kay is also a little squeamish, and although no vegetarian, she tells us that nothing should die…..including the worms. However, prior to this Maria has asked me to move the rod holders to the stern rail so that they point to the sides. To do so I have to loosen the bolts holding the holder to the rail attached by four bolts. Fortunately, Kay is there and ready to “cup my nuts” as I loosen and move the rod holder, thanks for your help Kay :).
Rod holders realigned and Maria and John assembled the new roads and got to catching fish, crabs or seaweed as appropriate. However, after a few hours, John hooked a really nice Sea Bass which was over the size you are allowed to keep, although subsequently we have been told you are not allowed to at this time of year. Anyway a discussion was had. Kay was firmly in the get that hook out of the fish, you are hurting it camp. Anyway, in the end and despite me reminding her how much Sea Bass costs in Sainsburys, Kay told John he had to return the fish to the river :(. Adam wasn’t happy. A few minutes later, John caught another Sea Bass which was much smaller. Despite having pretty much swallowed the hook, we were able finally to remove the hook and having checked the fish was OK in a bucket of sea water, we released it and saw it swim away. You will notice I have yet to mention Maria catching anything….
Anyway, we had a glorious evening of fantastic weather and a lovely sunset (Maria still hadn’t caught anything). Then just after sunset Maria’s line was being pulled with a heavy weight. We all looked on expectantly as Maria retrieved her line to find loads of sea weed, poor Maria didn’t catch anything else all night. We had been drinking Prosecco since we had anchored and after several bottles, Kay started to doze up in the cockpit while the rest of us chatted. A lovely evening just chatting to friends with music quietly in the background and no troubles.
The next morning, we were up at a reasonable time and Maria prepared a cracking cooked breakfast before we sailed back to Ipswich, slowly…there wasn’t much wind. The first part of the sail up the stour was into Ann Easterly wind so we tacked up river on the main and self tacking stay sail – last sailing at its best. As we turned into the Orwell the wind died even more but we drifted up river for several hours until finally we decided it was time to get moving and return home in time for a nice lunch at the Brewery Tap.
Thanks for coming to see us Kay and John and see you again soon 🙂