Horace the fisherman and gourmet

Dad was a keen fisherman and he would often take me with him on his forays into darkest Shropshire.  Dad had no transport save his bike and so we would often set out very early in the morning, walking to the Levedale dairy yard in Trysull road where we would cadge a lift on a lorry that was due to go out to the farms to collect the milk.  The driver would drop us off in some remote part of Shropshire.  After a long mornings fishing, the train usually made the return journey, in those days; the trains still ran to the small towns and villages of the county.  Even at that early age the steam engine held a fascination for me as great as any and the return journey would be as enjoyable as the outward trip.  If I were lucky, the iron horse would be a hall, king, grange or castle that ran on British railways western region.  These kings of the railways were often built or maintained in the sheds of Wolverhampton.  Sadly the onset of diesel locomotives and the dastardly Dr Beeching all but destroyed these country branch lines.

Not only did dad find fishing enjoyable but sometimes nourishing as well.  Following the war, times were still relatively hard for the majority of the working population.  There was little spare money about and some items were still either scarce or rationed.  One of his favourite dishes was jellied-eels.  These he would catch in the river Severn, usually at Atcham during a night session, and once caught the eels would be kept in an old pillowcase until they were ceremoniously handed over to mother for cooking.   Personally I always thought they were thoroughly revolting and I could never bring myself to at them.  Another of dad’s specialities was curry.  He had served in India and Burma during the war and developed a taste for curry that in many ways was years ahead of the curry and lager generation.  He had his own recipe and neither mother, or myself were allowed in the kitchen during his culinary activities.  Now these, I did enjoy although the after effects were sometimes quite alarming.

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