Good Evening everyone.
It’s a late blog tonight, partly due to the fact that I was on the closing down the fish counter shift and also due to the fact that I couldn’t find the above photo in my 100’s of files!
The photo included in my blog was taken at last years Fish Craft Championships and the gorgeous girl with the fabulous grin is Ms Nicola Rowbotham and the beautiful girly in the middle is Mrs Manda Wheeldon. They are my inspiration for the blog tonight. I have been a member of the National Federation Of Fishmongers for almost a year and the two girls have just very recently become members.
I am very privileged to know alot of fishmongers and many who I am proud to call friends, and quite a good number are female. Even though we are in 2016, there are still some career paths which are synomous with men, the fishing industry being one of them. Fishermen, Trawlermen and Fishmonger you instinctively think men. Only once have I been called a fishmongeress (doesn’t roll off the tongue does it?)
Its that aspect of the trade and my career that makes me smile. Knowing that, for the vast majority, you think fishmonger, you expect to see a man. At The British Fish Craft Championships, there are awards for best female fishmonger and also the best newcomer quite often is awarded to a female.
I recall one customer I had. An elderly chap. He asked for the fishmonger and I told him I was. “Oh, but you’re a woman!” I smiled very sweetly. The gentleman was, in his own words, old fashioned. He had been a Sgt major, very proud, back straight, very clipped manner in his speaking. Apparently, you could have heard a pin drop on my counter. Anyway, I smiled and said “yes, I am, but I’m also a trained competition fishmonger.”
He looked straight back at me and nodded. “Right, I would like 4 mackerel filleted and a whole salmon the same.” By the time I had finished the order, we were chatting away like we’d known each other a while. He inspected each fish before I wrapped it up for him, and after I’d washed my hands, he held out his and warmly shook my hand and apologised! The gentleman has come back a few times since, always chat about fish and fishing and is appreciative of what I do.
Not every customer is that surprised by a woman fishmonger, but you do hear the “oh!” in peoples voices when they ask what you do for a living. That’s also why I am very pround of all the “girly fishmongers” I know.
Nicola won the Charlie Caisey New Comer award at last years Fish Craft Championships along with Certificate of Merit in the Fish Craft Challenge, is also a gold merit trained fishmonger and her displays on her counter in her Tesco store in Manchester are a sight to behold.
Manda was last year’s Seafish Industry award (which I was winner of this year) along with her certificate of merit and is also a gold merit trained fishmonger with outstanding displays.
Dina-marie Lewis, Jeanette Goldsworthy and Lynda Helen Smith are also my close fellow girly fishmongers who work tirelessly in their stores to ensure top quality service and have won countless awards between them at The Fish Craft Championships.
I have the great pleasure of knowing Mrs Gemma Lambert from M&O fishmongers in Horwich and Emma from Mousehole Fish (I will get to see you next year!) I had the most fantastic time working alongside Caity Murray in Leeds Market for Tarbett’s, filleting and prepping to our hearts content.
Being a fishmonger is not everyone’s idea of a dream job, wether male or female. I would love to get more women involved and trained as fishmongers,in fact I would love to train anyone. I would love to run my own fishmongers as “The Girly Fishmonger.” I would love to get more female fishmongers involved with the National Federation Of Fishmongers. There are women out there who do an outstanding job, day in and day out as fishmongers. We may not be allowed on trawlers (according to fishermen superstition) but we can definitely fillet, skin, gut, pocket and canoe the fish that is landed for our counters.
Please look up M&O Fishmongers on Facebook and Twitter.
Mousehole Fish Emma on Facebook
Tarbett’s Fishmongers on Facebook and Twitter.
And also The National Federation Of Fishmongers
Thank you for reading.
Your Girly fishmonger