I love being engaged. It is like the momentary euphoria one experiences on waking up and remembering that it’s a Saturday or Christmas, but all the time. The BSG proposed to me in May by a beautiful stretch of river in the Scottish Highlands, unfortunately known as ‘The Rubbish Heap’ (thoughts jump to medieval vegetable peelings far beneath our feet), during the few days we were there fishing for salmon.
People so often tell me how boring fly-fishing is (they usually haven’t tried it), but I love it. The fun is more in the process and less in the end result, which incidentally goes more often in the way of the swimmer! Of course there is an enormous rush at the strong tug on the end of the line, and the ensuing battle is more than exciting, but there is great pleasure to be taken from the complete mental break you get standing in the great outdoors by a rushing river. You stand quiet and still, so as not to disturb the unsuspecting silver swimmers beneath the bank, and I reckon this companionable calm does the soul a great favour once in a while. I digress, just try it.
The ‘engagement fish’ (it has become so important he even has a nickname) has a starring role next Monday when we have my dad and his mum over to meet each other for the first time. Like food you have grown yourself, fish I have fought to catch tastes all the better for it (all in my mind I am sure). We’ll have it with blobs of wobbly yellow hollandaise, the butterier the better, and the late season’s new potatoes with a crunchy green salad.
My first and only attempt at homemade hollandaise was such a palaver that I vowed never again - think sweating over a bain-marie with an outdated electric whisk and you get the picture - but my shiny new sister in law Rosie has a failsafe blender option she found in an old Delia Smith book somewhere…..something from John Tovey, a 70’s chef who sounds absolutely on my wavelength: life’s too short to sweat it. I’ll let you know how that goes down with the BSG…