Fish for Tea

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic
A tale of humour

Submitted: August 26, 2013

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Submitted: August 26, 2013

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Fish For Tea

Grandpa had just finished his breakfast when he heard his morning newspaper come rattling through the letterbox. He got up from the table, reached up to the mantelpiece for his pipe and baccy and walked down the passageway to the front door. On the way he jammed his old, battered panama over his unruly white hair, picked up the newspaper and walked into the garden.

He made a beeline for the orchard where he had planted his favourite garden seat. It was quiet here and Grandpa could enjoy a bit of peace either reading his paper or having a quiet snooze.

On this particular morning the sun had risen early and now was warming up nicely, making it very pleasant to be out of doors. Grandpa sat down wearily, telling himself he wasn’t doing much today. He took a flake of tobacco from his pouch and gently rubbed it between his palms, then thumbed it down into the bowl of his old, cherry wood pipe. He loved this pipe, he’d had it for a good number of years and he always said it smoked just as good now as it did the first time he’d smoked it after he’d cut and shaped it from a piece of the old cherry tree he had chopped down some years ago. He fondled the bowl in his old, gnarled hands then put the stem in his mouth and struck a match, lit the pipe and puffed away contentedly. The smoke drifted away on a slight breeze and disappeared over the garden hedge.

Back in the cottage Nana had awakened young Jimmy and told him his breakfast was ready. Jimmy was only seven years old and he was spending his school holidays with his grandparents at their cottage on the edge of a tiny village of Billworth.

Little Jimmy, as Grandpa always called him, loved his grandparents and often came to stay with them during his school holidays. Grandpa told him tales of his fishing exploits when he was much younger. He told him how he caught brown trout in the wide stream at the bottom of the Dumbles; fifteen minutes walk from the cottage. He once told Little Jimmy of the time he almost tickled to death one large, brown trout almost as big as ‘the side of our cottage.’ "What did you tickle it with?" Jimmy had asked in amazement. "Why, my bare hands of course," Grandpa answered proudly". "How did you catch it then?" Jimmy asked excitedly."Well, I’d lay flat on my tummy on the bank and gently slide my hand into the water and feel the fish. When I felt one I’d gently tickle it’s tummy with my fingers until my whole hand was around it, then quickly lift it from the water with a quick chucking action. Sometimes they’d slip through my hand and escape, but I caught most of them."

This story and many more excited Little Jimmy that much he asked his Grandpa, "When can I go fishing with you so I can catch a big fish?"

2

"When you get a bit bigger and a bit older I’ll take you fishing and you’ll catch the biggest fish you’ve ever seen." Of course, this pleased Little Jimmy so much that he couldn’t wait for that time to arrive quickly enough. After breakfast Jimmy asked his Nana, "Where’ s Grandpa gone Nana?"

"You’ll find him reading his paper in the orchard. Go out to him and keep him company for a while."

When Jimmy got to the garden seat he could see in a minute his Grandpa’ s eyes were closed and his newspaper had dropped on the floor where the gentle breeze was lifting and doing it’s best to scatter the pages. Jimmy looked at Grandpa full in the face, just to make sure his eyes were tight shut, then discreetly sat beside him and very quietly waited.

After a while Grandpa opened his eyes, felt his little grandson sitting against him, put his arm around him and cuddled him to his side, saying, "Well, I`ll be blowed! I must have dropped off for a minute or two. How long have you been here?"

"Not very long," Little Jimmy answered kindly, then went on "are you properly awake Grandpa?" "`of course Little Jimmy why?"

"Well I just wondered if I was big enough and old enough to go fishing?" "`of course you are Little Jimmy," Grandpa answered lovingly, "who says you’ re not?"

"Nobody really, so do you think we’d be able to go fishing today?" Little Jimmy asked, looking up into his Grandpa’s face.

Without thinking Grandpa replied, "`course we can," and then he realised how he had been cajoled into going fishing with his little grandson.

"Well you little tartar. Now I know you’ re growing up. Let’s go and look in our bottom shed for a couple of rods and some sort of line. Now what can we use for bait on a nice, warm summer day?"

"Bait? Rods and line? What are they for Grandpa?" he asked in surprise.

"To catch a couple of trout with, why, what do you think?"

Little Jimmy looked at his Grandpa and said, "I thought you lay flat on your tummy and you tickled them out!"

"Ah! Well! That was a long time ago. Things change as time goes by and we sometimes do things a bit different."

Little Jimmy didn’t reply to that, he just looked and felt a little nonplussed.

"We’ll set off straight after dinner then if thou likes."

Jimmy flew into the cottage to tell his Nana he was going fishing with Grandpa that very afternoon, down in the wide stream.

Nana could hardly believe it, so when Grandpa came through the door she looked straight at him and asked, "Are you going fishing?"

3

"Yes! Little Jimmy and myself are going to spend a lazy afternoon by the water and we might bring home a couple of trout for tea."

"Well, you soft ha’porth! You’ve not been fishing for years, but you’ve filled him up with all them fishing tales and now he’s called your bluff and you can’t get out of it."

Nana stood by the garden gate waving them off as they climbed over the stile that led to the Dumbles and went out of sight across the fields. The path was overgrown with long grass, weeds and briers and progress was slow, those briers had some nasty thorns that bit your legs if you weren’t careful. Although the going was a bit hard for a seven-year-old, he felt like a grown man, carrying his own fishing rod, line and reel.

Grandpa was saying, "The way to catch fish on a nice, warm and sunny afternoon, the best way that is, is to keep very still and quiet, no shouting, no talking, not even a whisper. Once I’ve got you tackled up you just cast your worm into the stream and wait ‘til a fish grabs it, when your float starts bobbing and goes under the water, pull your line tight and start to reel your line in. I’ll show you when we get there and give thee a bit of practice."

Turning off the path and pushing through the scrub littered with small hawthorn bushes they hit the stream at one of it’s widest places and straight away Grandpa spotted a trout and said quietly, "Come and look here, here’s a trout, look, down there," Grandpa pointed with his finger. "Can you see it?" "Is that it, there, that little fish? I thought they were as big -------``

The sentence was left unfinished as Grandpa cut in quickly, "Yes, that’s it, but it’s only a baby trout."

They continued upstream `til they came to a fairly wide part, but the important thing about this place was that there was a tree close to the bank, which would serve very nicely as Grandpa’s backrest. He tried it for comfort and after a couple of wriggles found it greatly to his liking.

"Now watch me tackle up thee rod and line. Thread the line through these rings, like this look, the whole length of the rod, and then tie this float on here. Now fasten this small hook right at the bottom and hook on the worm. Thou’s not scared of worms and things like that then?

"No! I don’t think so. Let me put the worm on."

"Go on then but mind thee fingers, them hooks are real sharp thou knows." After a bit of practice casting Grandpa left Little Jimmy to it and got his own rod tackled up and cast the hook and worm into the water. Placing the rod on a rod rest Grandpa eased down to the comfort of the tree and prepared his old, cherry wood pipe for a nice quiet smoke.

Keeping his eye on Little Jimmy, Grandpa knew it wouldn’t be very long before he saw him struggling to keep his eyes open. On a warm, summer afternoon with nothing to do except to sit watching a float on the surface of the water it would be almost impossible for any seven-year-old to keep awake. So before very long that’s how it was with Little Jimmy, his eyes closed tightly, he had fallen to sleep sitting up. Grandpa rose from his tree and carefully and gently laid him down in the shade before taking up his own position again. Soon Grandpa’s eyes were shut tight and he’d fallen to sleep as well. So there they were, two would be fishermen, enjoying forty winks in the peace and quiet of the countryside. It looked as if Grandpa’s strategy had paid off after all.

4

Two and a half-hours had slipped by before Grandpa opened his eyes and he smiled to himself when he saw Little Jimmy still fast asleep. However, it was time they were getting back home so Grandpa would have to wake him up. When Little Jimmy opened his eyes the first thing he said was, "Have we caught any fish Grandpa?"

"No! We nivver had a bite!"

Walking slowly home down the side of the stream Grandpa suddenly stopped dead in his tracks. He beckoned to Little Jimmy to come and look down into the water and quietly whispered, "See that big fish right under the bank. I’m going to tickle that one out and we’ll have it for tea."

Little Jimmy peered down into about three feet of water and saw a dark shape, "Is that as big as the side of your cottage Grandpa?"

"No, this one’ s about half grown, but it’ll be alright for tea."

Grandpa lay flat on his tummy, right on the edge of the bank, and put his arm into the water and started tickling. "My, this one feels a bit slimey. I shall have to watch this doesn’t slip through my fingers," he whispered. Next minute, amidst a great splashing of water, a foot long piece of a tree branch came flying out on to the bank and amidst a bit more splashing Grandpa rolled over into the stream. Cussing the stream, the fish, the sunny day and almost everything else he could think of, he struggled, with Little Jimmy’s help, back on to the bank.

Dripping wet through and still cussing, he looked at his grandson’ s face and detected a little concern there, so he changed his whole attitude and gave Little Jimmy a reassuring smile. When he saw the returned smile light up that little face he knew things were alright.

Trudging slowly home Grandpa looked at Little Jimmy and said softly, in his best pleading voice, "There’s no need to tell Nana I fell in whilst trying to tickle a fish ‘half as big as the side of our cottage’ is there?"

"Don’t worry Grandpa. Your secrets as safe with me as the ‘side of your cottage’ but I don’t think I’ll ever forget the way you rolled off the bank into the stream."

By the time they arrived home the hot sun had dried out Grandpa’s shirt and trousers and he looked none the worse for his unfortunate experience. When they walked into the cottage they saw Nana had laid the table ready for tea

"Where’s the fish then?" she asked, tongue in cheek.

5

Little Jimmy piped up, "We were unlucky, we nivver had a bite."

Nana trotted off into the kitchen and returned with a tray on which were three steaming plates of nice, freshly cooked trout. " It`s a good job I had a bit of luck then, isn’t it, when I just popped down to the fishmongers?"

?

Written by John Kirk...


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