Matt is kind to Z and Matt is kind to Z

I bought fish from the market and chatted to Matt, the fishmonger for a few minutes. I said I’d forgotten it was Thursday, so was glad I’d happened to come into town in time to see him – he usually starts to pack up about midday. I went and fetched fruit and veg from Al and then, as I packed it all in the panniers, he called again “Was it you who asked me for bloaters* a while ago?” No, it wasn’t, but I’d have some if he’d got them, I replied. I love bloaters, they remind me of my Lowestoft childhood – although bloaters are most associated with Great Yarmouth.

He took a pair and started to wrap them. I reached for my wallet. “No, that’s all right, have them on me.” He was adamant and I could only thank him.

Next, I cycled up to the bike shop as my bicycle needed some adjustments. The back mudguard was catching the wheel slightly, as I had one heavy item to take home the other day and a weight in one pannier only must have shifted things a bit. The back wheel needed a tweak too. Matt in the cycle shop opened the door to me. I’d expected to leave the bike while I went to my meeting, but he said he’d see to it straight away. Ten minutes, and he was done, having also oiled the chain and pumped up the front tyre. He put the panniers back on. “Blimey, they’re heavy.” I explained that that was a normal day’s food shopping – we eat a lot of vegetables…” I took out my wallet – “No, that’s all right, no trouble” he said. “Are you sure,” I asked, feeling embarrassed, “it took you some while.” He wouldn’t take anything and, again, all I could do was say thank you.

I trust their generosity doesn’t send them out of business, I’d feel awfully guilty.

*I suspect few of you young people have ever tasted a bloater. They are smoked herrings but, whilst kippers are split and gutted and smoked, bloaters are smoked whole, and the guts give them a more gamey flavour. I’m sure my mother used to cook them whole too, but I take the innards out before I cook them. They are very bony, but delicious. Buckling are also smoked herring, but they have received a hot smoke, so can be eaten without further cooking.

11 comments on “Matt is kind to Z and Matt is kind to Z

  1. Dave

    You are right. I am one of those young people who’ve never tasted a bloater. I did used to have kippers quite often as a child, though.

    I don’t really like the hassle of eating bone-filled fish.

  2. Z

    I don’t think I can wait until this evening – are you free for lunch?

    Dave, I bone fish for my son, who otherwise would take three hours to eat a meal, so I’ll be happy to bone your bloater (a lesser man would take that as an improper suggestion, which of course it isn’t). I’m more than half dog, so I’m unbothered by bones in my mouth.

  3. LizSara

    People called Matt are kind.

    I don’t eat fish…maybe i should because it’s nice. Actually it’s because i don’t know how to cook most types.

  4. Z

    I eat a lot of fish – main thing is not to overcook it, which is easy to do as it cooks so quickly. I’m lucky enough to have a fishmonger who calls on a Monday and the market on Thursdays – there’s also a chippie in town that has a wet fish counter. Proper fish counters in supermarkets are fine, but clingfilm-wrapped fish doesn’t taste right. Not even if I unwrap it before cooking.

  5. badgerdaddy

    I thought the bloke on the market’s name was Gary! Whoops. Mind you, the memory is not reliable after a year and a half away from Yagnub.

    And as for boning a bloater… Well, consider me a lesser man.

    The bike shop chap’s lovely, too. They both made my time in Yagnub worthwhile and then some – along with the man in the chippy and his fish counter, Alex, Mark the Butcher and Mel and Warren at the Dragon.

    Fine old town, that.

  6. Z

    I relied on the Sage. I’ll ask Al.

    Some good community spirit in Yagnub. Al is surprised to find himself a pillar of the Chamber of Trade – lucky he is not the ambitious type or he might end up a Feoffee!

  7. Z

    I love smoked fish, especially that which has been prepared in a traditional smokehouse. Not many of them left now, however.

    Dilly says that Al always refers to him as Matt, Badgerdaddy – I’ll check though. And you can scrub that grubby mind, dear boy.


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