It was on our day off a few weeks ago that my thoughts turned to the month of May and
especially the weeks in May they call Duffers fortnight. The trouble with Duffers fortnight
is it can fall in any of the weeks of May. It's all down to the weather and the sex life of the
may fly unfortunately nobody has the control of either. Mrs R. had gone out for the
morning something to do with propping up the economy of her
after looking outside and on seeing that the weather was raining cats and dogs I decided
to stay in and find my little box of fur and feathers and tie a few
The last time I saw the box was last year, but I had a few ideas were Mrs R. may have
hidden it. Although she bought it for me many years ago it was one of those presents that
seemed to be constantly lost for reasons that I can't make out. One of the places
that I thought I might start my search was a large cupboard in the
kitchen. As I opened the door it was full to the brim with objects that had not seen the light
of day for some time, slowly I removed each object one by one.
Each one I removed was a
vital piece of kitchen equipment that had been bought over a period of time to make life
easy in our modern way of life. The first one was a blast from the past, a bit of a thing at
the time to impress your friends when they came round for
tea. Yes it's the good old
sandwich maker, pop your favourite filling in and push down the lid and hey presto out
comes a tasty toasted sandwich. The soda stream was the next item that hit the deck, a
must for every household especially if you had children. It was one of those vital bits of
kitchen equipment that each mum had to have on display just in case little Fred and his
mates from next door went home and told their mums that the lady from number 9 has
not got a machine for making fizzy pop.
As I unloaded the cupboard the next item that I came across was an instrument to remove
electronically the lids of tins; this was followed by a machine that, if you followed the
instructions correctly, would remove the juice of any fresh fruit placed within its plastic
container. The freshly made fruit juices went one way and the pith went the other, great if
you had the odd hour to spend cleaning it after use. Then that's
where it got to, the coffee
machine that you pop your freshly ground coffee in, and after a noise that one could only
describe as slurping, it will produce, if you are lucky, a cup of indigestible
coffee, oh and here it is the electronic coffee grinder, still in its box.
Top of the list was the bread maker, a must for any busy housewife that
produce a loaf of fresh bread at double the price of a shop brought loaf, and so my search
went on; electric carving knives, electric knife sharpeners, slow cookers, ice cream
makers, bottle openers, and then a teasmade came to light, dear oh dear when was the last
time this made an early morning cup of tea?
At last at the back of the cupboard, a small wooden box.
Could it be the box that
contained the assortment of old hares' fur, and fluff from unknown body
parts. Yes I do
believe it is and on sliding back the lid it was.
I remember a good friend of mine, who was a great trout fisherman, in a conversation
regarding the very best hair for an imitation trout fly. He was told that the best hair came
from a certain part of a lady. The part that the hair came from was not easily forth coming
and he had heard of only two other men who through persistence
sufficient hair from their ladies. So a plan was made to extract the hair from the lady in
question; it was to be done while the lady was asleep.
Apparently the hair, if taken from this part of
the ladies body, had special qualities that would excite the trout in taking any fly made
from the hair. So after three nights of waiting for his wife to fall asleep my friend
attempted, with the aid of a pair of specially warmed snips, was unable to remove the
hair that he desired. But on the forth night he had a cunning plan and he opened a nice
bottle of red wine, the lady in question consumed a few glasses before retiring to her
bed. This gave my friend his best, if not his last chance, to snip away, as his wife fell in to a
deep slumber he phoned me to say that he had been
successful. Anyhow the next day he
caught the biggest trout that we had seen. Yes caught on a specially tied fly from the hair
taken from his wife's special hair or ,as we all know it, from her
fringe. What she
thought had happened to her hair as it was two or so inches shorter
we didn't know, but when asked we looked
at each other and made no comment pretending not to have
noticed. But it was
good for catching trout!
It was at that time when all the items of mass destruction were sprawled out over the kitchen
floor that I heard Mrs R returning. Knowing that it was not the done thing to put
your hands into any ladies drawers without asking first, after an hour of
interrogation I finally broke down and had to tell Mrs R. why I had been in the
cupboard. With all these
unused items on the floor I made the mistake of asking why do we save these?? This was
a big mistake, guys never tell a woman that she doesn't have to hang onto an object,
even if it may be a pair of old yellow and red shoes with pink bows that are two sizes too
small, or maybe that food mixer that has not seen the light of day for almost six
years. So with
this selection of useless equipment displayed on the floor and because of Mrs R's.
unexpected early return and my incorrect use of words I felt that my time had come.
With my hand firmly grasping my flies and my special box tucked under my arm I was
frog marched to the garage. Mrs R, I assumed was not in the mood to be mucked about, and
once in the garage it was pointed out that I had a hedge cutter but no
hedge; also it was
pointed out I had a grass mower but we did not have a lawn, and just to add insult to
everything Mrs R. said how about sorting out all those fishing
rods. She almost made the
mistake of saying "you have fishing rods but," then for some reason she stopped
herself.., and thought better of it. As Mrs R marched back to the house to return the goods
to the cupboard, never mind I thought, happy days to come, the winding stream,
warm sunny days, birds singing, a hand tied special Mayfly from my old mate, and of
course, Duffers fortnight.
Many years ago I used to make a trout
pâté that was resold at a trout farm, they used to
bring me the freshly smoked trout and I would blend it ready for them to package
little tubs for resale. Why pay silly prices when you can easily make your own at home?
First of all you have to buy your smoked fish, this can be smoked trout, or if you prefer a
slightly stronger flavoured taste then you can use smoked mackerel.
To make a good smoked fish pâté, choose your fish, buy two good sized fillets and
remove any skin, next go to the cupboard and find the food processor, flake the fish into
the bowl then add around 12ozs of slightly softened butter.
Switch the processor on and give
it a good blitz. Do this until the smoked fish and the butter has blended well together.
To season the pâté add the juice of around half a small lemon, a tad of white pepper,
add salt if you need to. If you have a little cayenne pepper add a
Give the mix and
seasoning a good blitz; once done scrape out the fish pâté into a clean bowl, cover
with cling film and place in the fridge to set. Serve this smoked fish
pâté with crispy
toasted bread or cream crackers. The pâté will keep for a few days as long as you keep it in the fridge, but I have a feeling
it won't last that long once you have tried it.