Saturday, June 30, 2007


Having a blog is a great incentive for getting out and doing things. If it weren't for my sense of solemn duty to you, dear reader, I probably would not have bothered to attend today's Newhaven Fish Festival. It would be an exaggeration to say that it was well worth the effort, but it was better than not going. There was a mini fairground, the French market that regularly comes across from Dieppe with incredibly expensive produce, a marquee full of local organisations, and the local police on a charm offensive. What there wasn't much of was fish - one stall in the marquee. However, there was also the West Quay itself to look at, with its array of boats and fishing paraphernalia.

Furthermore, it brought me yet another new experience: jellied eels. This is something I have long wanted to try. My mother's family, going back many generations, are from the East End (granted, my mother couldn't wait to put as much distance between it and her as she possibly could); I support West Ham football club; I have, in the company of my maternal grandparents, eaten cockles on Southend Pier. In short, I am quite attached to this little bit of my heritage, the more so now that I have recently been visiting various parts of East London for work purposes, and finding that I do like the feel of it (although any East End exile will tell you that it's not what it was; but then, what is?), and have looked curiously at a couple of pie/mash/eel emporia, but naturally lacked the courage to venture in. So I took the opportunity today, expecting them to be horrible, or at least an acquired taste, but guess what - they were quite nice. Just like rather salty soft white fish. With bones, of course. And jelly.

Thus emboldened, it'll be oysters next.


Boatwoman said...

Hi Sarah. I guess there is very little excitement to be had at a fish festival lol. Ewwww I am not a lover of jellied eels, you are so brave. I am one of these people that as soon as I get a bone in my mouth, I cannot eat it.
We have had a French market in Stone a few times, and it is very over priced.
Still it is always nice to see what others have to offer.

Pete Woodcock said...

You are a martyr to the blogosphere Sarah!

I have no idea if it still exists (having not been there in 13 years), but when I was in student halls on Rosebery Avenue in Clerkenwell, just where it meets Exmouth market (in real Peter Ackroyd House of Doctor Dee territory) there was an old fashioned wooden fish cart selling, amongst other fruits of the sea, jellied eels. I never braved it (I was just 18 at the time), but now wish that I had. Some fantastic pubs around there as well.