Sunday, 5 June 2016

Harbour skulks

I've spent a couple of evenings skulking round the peninsula this week. It's been the perfect end to a day spent in an air-conditioned building doing stuff with sound and education and marking exams.

Even driving down the road, with the sunroof open on the old-skool Micra, makes me breathe more easily and kicks my mind into a more creative gear. If it was a film, I'd have something cool playing on my stereo too, but the last thing I need to hear after a day at work is music. Silence, which isn't silence but the hundred sounds of the fields and sea, is what I want.

It's bliss to sit on a bench outside the Portaferry Hotel in the sunshine and eat a bowl of mussels. The guy beside me tells how you can see five castles from here, and you can. Then the hotel minibus pulls up right in front of us, replacing that fairytale panorama with some well-maintained white Renault. Castle guy gives him a comical earful and our view is restored.

Then it's across the cow-parsleyed bends of the Cloughey Road to Portavogie, where the most lovely, most weathered fishing boats rest. Sunday is the best day to find them in harbour, but in the evening you can can often catch them returning from their day's work. 

I spend a while getting nice camera angles on the Crimson Arrow, which is having some work done in the yard. A gentleman approaches and tries to sell me the Crimson Arrow. It belongs to his brother. It's only 48 years old. You can make a great living in prawn fishing these days.

I have a vision of myself in sailor trousers and big sunglasses, lifting pretty prawns out of the Irish Sea in a vintage fishing net, against the background of my very cool faded red trawler. The photographs would be excellent.

At which point the Sapphire Stone sails in and I notice that actual fishermen seem to wear woolly hats, dungarees and rubber boots, and they have paid minimal attention to the styling of their decks while out on the seas. They also seem to have caught a lot more prawns than my intended net would ever manage.

So I reluctantly terminate my negotiations on the Crimson Arrow and wander off to shoot some reflections in the oily water. The light is lovely and there are miles of coastline still to enjoy this evening.

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