Monthly Archives: July 2014

26th June 2014 – No.68: Go Fishing and Catch a Fish


Emi and her friend

So, my daughter Emiko recently had a day off school due to an INSET (teacher training) day. I was just planning a bit of a ‘cuddle on the sofa with a movie’ thing, until the father of one of Emi’s friends invited us to join them on a fishing trip to the local Wishing Tree Reservoir. I was really pleased to accept; not only does Emi love spending time with her friend, but bonus -I had an opportunity to achieve something off my list, going fishing…and actually catching a fish!


Emi fishing with her friend

I had actually been fishing twice before, both times in Fethiye, Turkey. The first time was off the top of a cliff with hand reels at a BBQ. I was the only member of our party to catch anything and it was neither a fish, nor was it edible. It was about a foot long and pinkish and spiny; I was told it was a sea slug and it was toxic. The second time was off the back of a speedboat we had rented and that time I came up empty handed. Other than that, there was a blue-clawed crab my friend Jess and I caught in Sugar Beach Lagoon but I’m not sure that counts as fishing. Since it’s a bit of a digression, I’ll put that story at the bottom of this post and you can decide for yourself if it counts πŸ™‚


Me, fishing off a cliff in Fethiye, Turkey, and the thing I caught -sea slug?

So back to the third fishing attempt. We only had two rods between the four of us, so we let the kids have a go first. Emi’s friend caught an eel and then a roach without too much effort. Emi didn’t catch anything on her first few tries. Then us adults had a go and after a couple of attempts, I got my maggots on the hook and cast the line. The first fish just nibbled the bait and got away. The second time, though, my hook had a little fishie on the end! I was ridiculously pleased for such a tiny fish (although we wouldn’t have caught much else with maggots).

Wiggle fish

Me with my very first fish!

Next, the friend’s dad caught himself a roach and shortly after (me having handed the rod back to her,) so did Emiko. She did try to hold it for the picture but I don’t think she was expecting it to be so slippy and wiggly because she dropped it and after that she made me hold it. Which is amusing because when not fishing, she and her friend spent most of the time playing with the maggots. Since we’d all caught something and it was getting on a bit, we packed up to head back. The kids and I chucked our leftover bait in the reservoir for the fish and ducks. They got bored before we’d finished, so I just lobbed the rest out the tub…bad idea, because the wind changed and I ended up inhaling a bunch of maggot dust (or whatever the dust in the bottom of the tub was). I spent the whole evening after sneezing uncontrollably 😦 Regardless, it was a great day out and I have dreams of one day fishing from a little wooden boat in the middle of a lake with only my fiance and some beer for company. Oh yes, and I need to catch a bigger fish now πŸ™‚


Emi with her first fish

Still here? Great, then I’ll tell you a tale…the tale of Lazarus the Crab.

So, this was on my first visit to Fethiye to see my friend Jess and her then-fiance. Jess and I were having a lovely day at the lagoon (despite the feral cats that stole the last of our lunch, which we had left unattended) when we spotted a blue crab meandering around in the shallows. Jess was on the phone to her fiance at the time and mentioned the crab, he said we should catch it and bring it home to eat. He was actually joking but we thought he was serious. I remembered reading that if you can get a crab to think a stick is an attacker, it will grab hold and not let go, so we annoyed the crab with a long stick we found, and it did! Hooray! We wrapped it in the remains of the lunch bag we’d retrieved from the feral cats and took it back with us, much to the amusement of the other passengers on the bus home.

My trip to Fethiye, Turkey (106)

Lazarus, the blue-clawed crab

Having arrived home and surprised Jess’s fiance with our catch, we announced our intention of boiling it alive, which is what you are meant to do. Jess’s fiance said that was cruel and that we should kill it first. He then stabbed it with a knife and assured us it was dead because it was ‘dribbling’. We left it on the kitchen counter while we had dinner and when we returned, it had disappeared because it was still alive. Some playful havoc ensued as we tried to locate Lazarus (Jess named it so because it ‘rose from the dead’) and eventually he was found and Jess’s fiance lobbed it in the sink, whereupon it picked up a knife that was waiting to be washed and started waving it about aggressively. Honestly. Jess and I then boiled the crab like we had first planned to do and ate it the following day. It was delicious and although I’m sorry the poor crab went through such trauma, I’m still quite pleased we caught it, as it’s the first time I have ‘hunted’ something and then killed and eaten it. It justifies my status as omnivore πŸ™‚ Even so, I still don’t think it counts as fishing, which is why I didn’t cross that off my list then.

Hope you enjoyed this little addition to the post!

5th May 2014 – No.77: Run the Keith Chandler 5-Mile Memorial Race



So, in my last post, I wrote that I had started training, by which I mean I’d been jogging a couple of times. Well, confession time, I went maybe once more after that. Running alone is really boring and I have much more interesting stuff to do. Consequently, I had very low expectations for my goal of running more of this race than the last one and assumed I would end up walking most of it.
For the first part of the race, it seemed my earlier assumption was correct; I started too fast, couldn’t hold my pace, and ended up walking, just like last time. Then, around one and a half miles in, I passed a man accompanying a blind female runner. (Well, she may have been partially sighted, I didn’t ask, but they were each holding one end of a short skipping-rope-like thing and he told her every time we approached uneven paving etc, so, I’m going with blind.)

“Are you alright?” he asked.

“No,” I replied, “I’m having trouble keeping pace.”

“You can run with us if you like,” he offered.

I accepted eagerly; and started running again. The pace was good and I found to my surprise that I could actually sustain it. It was nice chatting to my fellow runners as we went. I began to believe I could actually make it to the end. Then we turned into the wind and it got tough. I struggle to breath properly with the wind in my face anyway (it feels so horrible it might as well be drowning) and fighting wind resistance is, I think, what caused the stitch to kick in.

With the finish line just around the corner, I faltered. I nearly stopped. The stitch was bad, I had never run this far consecutively in my life (no, really, the most I ever did in school was the timed mile we were forced into- 8 mins, if you were wondering) and I nearly gave up. Then a hand grabbed mine and a voice said;

“I’m eighty, if I can do it so can you!”

And the lovely man ran with me over the finish line, my octogenarian hero πŸ™‚

My time was 1 hour 5 minutes and 52 seconds. I came in 358th out of 367, which is in the bottom 2.45%. And yet, the medal I got for finishing means so much more to me than the one I got for the half-marathon because although it was a shorter distance, I ran more of it. It was a huge personal achievement for me, although an hour an five minutes isn’t a particularly fast time for five miles. The whole experience of this race was better because other people buoyed me up. The man and woman I ran with, the old guy at the end, I may not know who you are or ever see you again, but thank you, if you are reading this, thank you.


I decided to go all Olympian for this one πŸ™‚

Oh yes….because somehow I’m determined to keep torturing myself (emotional and mental gains from these races are epic but physically…ow), I am planning to enter a 16k obstacle course with a couple of my fiances cousins in November. Wish me luck!

UPDATE: Although I didn’t manage to enter the obstacle course last year, it’s still on the list. However, I have entered this 5 mile race again for 2015, with my friend RJ, who I’ve been regularly training with (yes, you read that right, actually regularly training)! Once we’ve done it I’ll post a photo.

Me and Rachel

Me andΒ RJ