Well good evening everyone.
I am very much on a “blogging roll!” But then again a lot is happening and a lot for me to reflect upon in these coming months.
This time last year I found myself literally counting the days, hours, minutes and seconds to the 2016 British Fish Craft Championships as apart from getting my practice in for the categories I had chosen, this was the one thing I was waiting for. This year is very different.
As I sit here writing this blog, I’m already thinking about packing my suitcase for next week and the Great Yorkshire Show. I still can’t get over the fact that I was chosen, along with Nicola to showcase the best of what Tesco Fishmongers can do around the country at the Agricultural Shows. Then there is the show in Wales to do and before I know it, it will be British Fish Craft Championships 2017! And without me having to post a countdown on my social media timeliness!
Last year I entered as an independent competitor, separate from Tesco. It was a difficult decision on my part in the end, but one which I think paid off. It was fair to say that I was extremely nervous the first year I entered, as is everyone I think. Last year was something else.
I was there “on my own” so to speak. Yes I had the Tesco Team shouting me on as we are the greatest of friends, and independent or not doesn’t come into our friendships. But I literally felt independent. I had nothing to prove to anyone other than myself and I’ll be honest I truly enjoyed it. Even the Flatfish Challenge behaved slightly and I managed to skin the Whole Plaice before moving on to the next part of the challenge. Just being there, in that atmosphere and surrounded by literally THE best in the country is good for me. Many of those I’m pleased to say are friends of mine and I look forward to seeing everyone again this year. (Yes that even includes you Mr Dave Bennett and your “clipboard of doom!!”)
I always stand at the back of the crowd of fishmongers and their supporters when it comes to the awards. I never expect to win anything. The fishmongers who take part literally have years of experience as opposed to my almost three years experience. So I just stand there cheering everyone else’s results.
When I was awarded with…The Golden Jubilee Perpetual Challenge Cup, sponsored by SEAFISH, I was shocked to say the least and when my name was called out, it took Nicola who was stood at my side to nudge me and tell me that it was actually me! There were happy tears and I managed to get rid of them before I took the award from SEAFISH CEO Mr Marcus Coleman and had my picture taken. I had never ever felt so proud, and when we all got back to the hotel, I will also admit to screaming into my pillow, dancing round the room and crying! That takes added skill!!
This year, I am proud to say that I am officially representing Tesco at this years Fish Craft Competition. Maybe in years to come I could be representing an independent or even my own shop, but as usual I’m thinking well ahead! It is important for all who are in the fish industry to know about the Championships. Not only does it showcase what fishmongers do, but also the suppliers themselves. It gives everyone a chance to show the UK that the industry is still alive and very much kicking and has so much to offer. This year the event is being held in Billingsgate! I have always wanted to visit Billingsgate and what better way to visit then entering the Fish Craft Competition there!
I do think that entering as an independant last year proved something to myself. I will never be the most self confident of people and I’m still amazed on a daily basis that I get complemented on what I do either in store, “on the road” or through my blogs. It makes my heart swell with pride just a little when I hear that friends in the industry sing my praises. You know who you are and I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Winning that award, as well as a certificate of merit in the New England Fish Craft Challenge, wasnt the end of my exploits. It seemed to give me a reserve of confidence, almost like a whole different side of me.
Just a few days after that I went down to Brixham to help out for the first time at FishStock festival, actually working alongside fishermen and fishmongers all in aid of The Fishermens Mission, and I look forward to that again this year. I am one of only 3 Tesco Fishmongers who are members of the National Federation of Fishmongers and in January I had the pleasure of attending The Federation AGM at the beautiful Fishmongers Hall. Then I was awarded with The Twitter Friend Award from the Fishermens Mission, I finally got to go on the holiday of my dreams to Peterhead and not only visit Peterhead Market but also meet two of the finest gentlemen who took time out of their busy schedules to ensure that I had a holiday I’d never forget. Then getting to travel the country showcasing exactly what Tesco Fishmongers are capable of and then it will be August and Fish Craft Championships all over again.
People ask me what I’d want to win this year. My answer is, I don’t set out to win anything. This year I will be more than happy to complete the FlatFish Challenge. Some of the competitors complete that whole challenge in just 3 minutes!! But I will just be happy to get the filleting, 1/4 filleting, skinning and pocketing done within the 8mins. (Yes, Mr Steven and Richard Stansfield, I know that challenge list like the back of my hand!!) I also want to enter the Sterling Halibut Challenge, as Mr Magnus Skretting wants to see more girly fishmongers enter this round and also its a beautiful fish that I dont get to work with.
The time between last years Fish Craft Championships and this one has given me more experiences and wonderful memories than I can comprehend. The bottom line is that I love the industry I have the pleasure of working within. Every day is a learning day, every day I pick up new techniques or find a little bit of confidence. Every day I learn what my strengths are and try to work on my weaknesses. It is a career that brings so many rewards and brings into focus an industry, that despite its many challenges, still fights on. Even if through my blogs I can get to show just a little of the passion I have for what I do, then that is rewarding. If you see me at one of the Agricultural Shows, come and say hello, and even more so if you see the team at Fish Crafts.
For more information regarding this years Bristish Fish Craft Championships please go to http://www.fishmongers.info
If you’re on Twitter then you can follow the National Federation Of Fishmongers @NFF_fishmongers
Also, for more information on this years FishStock in Brixham, follow @FishstockFest or my friend Mr James Portus @FishStock1
You are also more than welcome to follow my Twitter page for all things fishy, with maybe some cat photos for good measure! @Girlyfishmonger
As always, thank you for reading my fishy bloggings.