A group of fisherman took up camp on a bend in the river close to the junction with the main road, just outside the village. Their white transit van didn’t move for five days. Finally, curiousity got the better of him and C went to take a look. They were catching eels.
Two nights later I found myself dragging six foot reeds through a muddy field and loading them into the boot of the car. C had spent hours the previous evening threading hooks onto thick twine and winding it around polystyrene cubes. The following evening he arrived home from work with a tub full of earthworms and a grovelling smile.
“Can you help me?” The next three hours were spent dragging a poly bag of stones along the river bank behind C as he hauled the reeds, one end of each cut into a sharp point. At regular intervals he dropped a reed and I laid a stone alongside. We continued in this way until we had disposed of all 15.
Retracing our footsteps I tried not to squirm as he threaded worms onto each of the hooks on every reed, tied a stone to the end of the string, threw the stone into the middle of the river to cast the line and rammed the reed into the mud at the edge of the river bank.
The following morning he bounced out of bed at 6.30am to check his catch. Success! He returned with a bag of eels. It has become his new hobby and the MIL has found a new source of food.
I am assured they taste like meat but so far I have resisted tasting them. But, if C’s pay is cut to the minimum and my income doesn’t jump to cover the difference I could soon find myself with no choice.