We love hearing stories of people’s adventures at Millican. We’ve particularly enjoyed following the story of Si and Cat. Seeing their project develop over the last 10 months has been a real pleasure and their launch date of 19th August is eagerly anticipated.
Their aim to build a boat and establish a small business from the village of Portscatho on the south coast of Cornwall – catch fish under sail and oar and sell it locally is becoming more of reality.
Back in November they had a series of boat sketches and an idea. Now they have a workshop, a boat and a few stories to tell the grand-kids.
Following on from their last update in June, I’ll hand you over to Cat.
Teach a Man to Fish – July 2012 Update
Every good story should have a convincing beginning, middle and end. And so – we think – should every food story. This month on a break from boat building we set out to find something to cook for Friday night dinner with friends and came across a very good food story indeed. I thought I’d share it with you….
Putting last plank in!
It was a cold, wet and windy Thursday. We’d put the last plank on our boat, proudly coated her in shining epoxy and were sitting at home watching the waves being whipped up in the bay by a gale coming in from the sea. One by one the headlands disappeared into the grey.
On the radio severe weather warnings were issued, in our living room we lit a fire and put our slippers on and in the fishing town of Newlyn, forty miles to the south west a gill netter called Ajax headed into harbour, crossing the Penlee lifeboat on their way out to answer a call. We’d been following Ajax all afternoon on Twitter as they steamed straight into a Force 8 gale on their way back from the hake grounds to catch Newlyn’s Friday morning market, feeling entirely grateful not to be on a boat.
The t-shirts and hoodies may tell you otherwise, but in our experience when the weather is properly nasty; when it really genuinely is a bad day on the water, you would give anything to be in a nice, dry, safe office.
Fully planked hull
So Friday came and we set off in search of dinner. Twenty minutes down the road from us is a food hall selling Cornish produce. We wanted something fresh and local to show off our lovely county to our friends; along with asparagus and new potatoes ideally we wanted fish.The fish counter was empty when we arrived. Today’s stock was on its way in a van from Newlyn where it had been bought at the morning’s market by the shop’s fishmonger.
So we picked up strawberries and clotted cream, eyed up the cider and waited for about ten minutes before large fish boxes were wheeled in and the fish began to be unpacked. If the fishmonger was a little taken aback by my excitement over the hake as it appeared first out on the slab he didn’t show it and instead we chatted about when it was landed and what we’d cook with it. We headed home.
Ajax coming into Newlyn
Oven on, tomatoes roasting, garlic, capers and olives crushed for tapenade. On Twitter we saw@AjaxAH32 was taking on ice and fuel ready to go to sea again. I tweeted the skipper, asking about hake and hoping our fish would be one they’d caught. It was, landed the night before and sold on the morning market. So I thanked Ajax for our dinner, especially in view of the weather it had been caught in. They hoped we’d enjoy it.
That Friday by the time we sat down to eat with our friends with a view of a by now much calmer sea we knew where our fish was caught, when and where it was landed, bought and finally sold to us. We knew how it was transported and by whom, and we had spoken to the person who’d caught it. And frankly, although fresh Cornish hake is naturally one of the most delicious fish you can find, it tasted better than ever knowing all this. I would have taken a photo but our plates were clean before I could find our camera.
After the Storm
It was thanks to stories like these that we first decided to start our project and build our boat and we look forward with excitement to the day when someone sits down to eat a fish we caught with a view of the bay and our boat in the harbour. We’ve nearly finished the hull of our boat and in the next next few weeks we’ll be turning her over and fitting her out ready for launching on 19th August. That day is getting closer!