I have to admit that I have been a little quiet on my blogging. In fact, I was surprised when looking back on my posts, that the last blog I published was back in August! Thankfully, a friend reminded me that my blogs are read, so that gave me a little push to get one written. One of the fortunate aspects of working within the fish industry, is that it provides more than enough information for writing blogs, its just finding the time to research and write!
Anyway, its been a very busy few months for me. I started to work for Premier Seafood, on Riby Street, Grimsby in July. I find that the customers I serve are really friendly, and of course wanted to know about the “new girl”. The looks on their faces when I told them, “I’m originally from Stoke, I live in Leeds, but work in Grimsby.” A 158 mile round trip from my place in Leeds, to work and back. Every day. Why on earth would you do that, you crazy person!!! I hear you all shout. The seafood industry, in a simple answer. If you have followed any of my previous blogs, or know me personally, you’ll know that I love being a part of the industry. That leads me to want to learn more, from the catching sector to sustainability, from learning how the fish is sold in a shout auction to then physically pulling the fish off the market floor with metal poles.
Not Everyone’s Idea Of Fun
Monday through to Wednesday, I go along with my boss Nathan to Grimsby Fish Market, which is literally 2 mins drive away from the shop. At the beginning, I would stand back, watching everything going on, numbers being shouted out, merchants placing their tickets on the kits of fish. Now, I love walking on to the market, walking around the kits and pallets of fish, checking quality, knowing which merchants will bid for certain fish. There aren’t many people who believe me when I say I find it exciting, seeing the potential sales in the fish which is purchased. Then we get to the fun part. Dragging the kits of fish, literally. A long metal pole, with a hook on the end, hook the handle and pull. Thankfully, because the floor is wet, you get a good start on pulling a kit and it slides, sort of! 50kgs plus of fish in each kit. Plus, thanks to the pandemic, we all have to wear masks on the market. That comes in useful though, then all the other fish merchants can’t see me puffing for breath, and seeing as I’m the only female on the auction floor, I can’t let the side down! There have been some lovely sunrises over the port, the sun will hit the iconic tower just right and I find it beautiful. Then its getting the kits onto the truck and back to the shop.
Time Flies When You’re Having Fun
My day can be so varied, that time does fly. From serving the mobile fishmongers, to the general public who come from all over different counties. I can also find myself filleting a varied range of fish, so I find that no sooner have I started work, its time to start closing down the shop. I do love it when I get chatting to a customer, and we talk about the fishing industry, or they ask for an opinion on a recipe, or even why I’ve made the move to Great Grimsby at all. The fish industry is an exciting, frustrating, fast paced, dangerous, under appreciated, poorly understood, industry, and I love it.
Personally speaking, I feel I’m not the most self confident of people. Alot of the time I question my own ability and sometimes even my own worth to the industry. However, even I can’t deny that I’ve had an interesting journey over the past few months. From driving from Leeds to Grimsby and back every day, to now being settled within 15mins driving. Dragging kits of fish off from market, to going back to the shop to help sell it, from filleting to helping a customer with a recipe idea. I love it all, and all the while being aware that the fish we sell has had to be caught. There’s been a skipper and crew and hard work to get the fish here, and I find that an awesome thought and one which inspires me to try my best.
I have been very privileged to have done a couple of interviews in the past few months, and each interview ended with the question “What’s next for Emma, the Girlyfishmonger?” The honest answer, who knows? 7 years ago I “hated” fish. In the past 3 weeks, I’ve eaten at least 7 different species of fish! Thats just scratching the surface. I would, however, love to go to sea on a trawler. I’ve had the pleasure of being aboard “Amity” in Peterhead, and “Van Dijck” in Brixham, but we never left the quayside. To go out to sea would be the icing on the (fish) cake. As long as I try and promote the industry, try and pass my passion I have for the whole industry on to others, I’m a happy Girlyfishmonger.