Hello my lovely readers of my Girlyfishmonger blog. Its been a crazy couple of weeks, a whirlwind almost! I can definitely say that I’ll have covered quite a vast area of the UK by the end of the year. Also, I’m definitely on a blogging roll. After I had written my blog which covered the Royal Highland Show in Edinburgh, that particular blog went viral through my company, which for me, was a great honour. Then I was approached to write a blog regards the MSC award which Tesco Fish Counters were awarded for our amazing 22 different lines of fish which are MSC accredited on our counters. I had some amazing feedback from both of those blogs, which made me feel extremely proud.
Anyway, as I’m typing this blog, I’m smiling at the photographs I’ve included. I must have literally over 100 photos which I’ve either taken myself, Nicola has taken or the many selfies we took with our new little mascots, but more about those later.
The Great Yorkshire Show took place from 11th-13th July, in beautiful Harrogate. Even in the pouring rain which graced the showground and the many stands and attractions, it didn’t deter the crowd. This time I wasn’t nervous as we sought out our Tesco Marquee. In fact, I was quite excited to meet up again with the team I had become friends with back in Scotland, and to be honest with you, the team looked just as happy to see us, at least that’s what they told me and Nicola!! After sorting out our fish, discussing between the two of us what we were going to prepare for the chefs, display on our counter, and demonstrate for our audience, we set to work helping out the chefs with their cookery demonstrations. Its quite a lift to go round and talking to the public about the great recipes which are developed by our great Tesco Chef Martyn Lee, along with Sophie and Will.
Then it was our master butcher, Gavin Kempsells’ time to demonstrate to the public with his great butchery demonstration. He is so passionate about what he does as a butcher, every time he gets the audience involved in what he teaches them, and literally had queues of people lining up to try some sirloin steak.
There is always just a little nervous build up for our fish demonstrations and display. I have been told though that feeling a little nervous is good, as long as our hands aren’t shaking too much!! Gavin very kindly did the commentary for both Nicola’s demonstration and my own, talking to the crowd, which also included a surprise visit from our friend and fellow girlyfishmonger Lynda. I think it served as a calming influence for myself and Nicola and we both enjoyed it just that little more.
For the second day of the show, it was decided that we were going to do things a little differently. Chef Martyn makes beautiful “Crab On Toast” for one of his demonstrations, so it was decided that Nicola worked along side dressing a Whole Crab at the same time. As always, Nicola did an amazing job dressing the crab, even as she was watched intently by a little boy who loves eating crab! It was also decided that I would do the commentary for the Fishmongering Demonstration! As I stood there, all miked up, crowd in front of me, Nicola all ready to start her demonstration, for a split second I didn’t know what to say! Then all of a sudden, I started by welcoming everyone to the Tesco Stand, and that was it. Jittery nerves the first time I did the commentary, but managed to do it. Then I did my demonstration as Gavin did my commentary.
It may come as a surprise when I said I was nervous about speaking to the crowd. That was the first time ever I have ever spoken to a crowd that numerous about fish. I do little school group talks from time to time, but nothing on that scale. And I loved it. I found myself becoming more passionate about what we do as fishmongers. On the final day of the Show, I managed to talk some more about MSC and how important it is for sustainability and quality for our customers. I am extremely proud and passionate about having that MSC link to our counters and find it a very great honour to be able to try and promote that, especially through this avenue at the Agricultural Shows around the UK.
The final day went extremely quickly, especially as both myself and Nicola knew we were travelling back and having to start work in store again the next day (or today as I’ve written this !) That’s where our little mascots come in to it. Myself and Nicola have two very talented fellow girlyfishmonger friends, Dina and Amanda. They are extremely good at crocheting and knitting. I love Octopus, so Dina made me a fabulous Octopus! I named him “Anton”, after a very dear friend of mine, which I assure him is a sign of affection!! Amanda made Nicola a very beautiful Jellyfish, which Nicola named “Emzie”. Emzie the Jellfish is affectionately named after me, because the tentacles are reminiscent of my curly hair!!! I take that as a sign of affection!! So, therefore, Emzie and Anton go wherever myself and Nicola go. Everyone wanted a selfie with our little mascots, and for the Welsh Show will even be included into the set for when we do our demonstrations.
We had so many people come over and speak to us about the fish, I even had one seafood vendor get into a conversation about fish and it turns out he follows me on Twitter! He paid me a great many compliments about my blogs and my travels around the UK as regards my passion for Fish and The Industry, and I thank him very much for that.
I’d also like to thank Jon Bellamy for getting myself and Nicola to work beyond our own comfort zones. I always liked the idea of doing a commentary for our fish demonstrations, but didn’t think I’d be good enough. Jon helped me to realise that I could do it, along with the support of Gavin and Nicola. I loved every second of it, and I am really looking forward to expanding on that for The Welsh Show. Nicola was unsure about doing a Crab demonstration along with the Chef. Nicola is a constant inspiration to me when she prepares fish, she appears so calm and collected and always produces a fabulous finished article. Jon suggested that Nicola could do that, and it proved to be a great talking point, not only for the chef as he was carrying out his recipe, but also for the audience to see as well.
I am very much looking forward to The Royal Welsh Show for an extra reason. Three years ago this very month, I began my fishmonger journey. I started my training at Vin Sullivans in Blaenavon. So, to be back in Wales, where my amazing journey began will be a special one for me.
Thank you as always for taking the time to read my blog and our adventures, and I shall look forward to writing about Wales.