Wednesday, August 04, 2010


At the risk of being boring, I am about to write another fishy post.  We live close to the sea and in these months, (Summer and Autumn) people who like messing about in small boats, take their opportunities, weather permitting.

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip (Consort) hired a small cruise ship to take a sail round the Northern Isles of Scotland.  It was a Royal annual trip when they had the provision of the Royal Yacht Britannia.  On route, the yacht would berth in the Far North and the Royal family would all disembark, (lots of them) to go and visit the dowager Queen Mother, who would be resident at her Northerly castle.  She died nine years ago aged 101 years.  According to one of the newspapers, Prince Charles took over the role of the [deceased[ Queen Mother, by greeting his parents at the quayside. What a macabre thought.  Then the whole entourage disappeared off to the 

We went out in the small boat.  Hubby to fish, me to observe him doing so.  We passed the berthed cruise ship, dressed overall,  off-loading large well covered containers, likely to have been luggage  and right royal rubbish.

There were strong tides and out at sea, the small boat rolled, vigorously at times, from side to side.  One fish was caught on the line.

Sea birds began to cluster round the boat to be in a position to grab any fishy spoils that might come their way.  The boat continued to sway and move quickly with the tide towards the bay.  

We motored out again into deep tidal waters.  Two small fish were returned to the sea, though one was not  very sprightly and was taken by a Great Skua.

Mollymacks, (Fulmars) appeared, the only birds that challenge the Great Skuas, attempting to get a bite of the unexpected catch.   The boat continued to roll.  Some more fish were caught and my camera recorded the scene. 
The tide became stronger still, the boat continued to sway.  A headache developed and I began to yawn.  Hubby noticed.  I sipped some bottled water and carried on taking pictures. The yawning continued.  "We're going back, you don't look good," hubby said.  

More birds arrived to battle for the fish and  to join the current waiting group.  Some young birds were  calling to parents to feed them.  I urged hubby to gut his fish and feed them.  He did so, very quickly.  More pictures of sea bird behaviour, the boat listed and swayed, and I felt really queasy. 

 A young herring gull swooped attempting to take the fish held by the Skua;  the Herring Gull can swallow a fish whole.  The Great Skua is more interested in breaking the skin to get to the nourishing fish liver and pecks at the fish, sometimes dropping it.  This is the point where it could lose its prize and nearly did.

To our surprise Gannets showed up.  They also wanted a share of the food chain, it was becoming quite a scrum.

Nearing the harbour, a Great Skua flew towards us,  swooping close to my head, I moved to protect myself; a close-up photo opportunity missed.  I prepared the camera in case the bird returned: it did.  No picture that time either of the Skua...... I had to dodge away from it, the darn thing was mobbing me!  I was obviously a better looking morsel than hubby. 


Vincent said...

Very interesting about the birds. Also about the Royal Family, though you sound a little less enthusiastic about them.

keiko amano said...


Wow, wow, wow! Amazing. It could be dangerous to gut a fish on board or to take a photo under the circumstance. Those birds are gorgeous. I looked up Skua in the dictionary. In Japanese, it said Tozokukamome. Tozoku means a gang of thieves, and kamome is sea gulls. What a name! I agree with the translator 100%.

By the way, do you know the name of the fish your husband caught? It's brown, isn't it? Most fish I see in Japan are bluish. But, I could be wrong because I'm not near expert on fish. I only see fish at markets or sushi bars.

One more question. I like the nickname of husbands, hubby. It's cute. Is there a similar name for wives?

ZACL said...

I didn't see the Royals, Vincent. The thought of a living representation of the deceased person, seemed to me as somewhat bizarre.

I should think some of those on the cruise with the dear lady herself, would have been little children when they last took such a trip. Others would have been new to it.

ZACL said...

Hi Keiko,

The Japanese translation of a Skua is spot on, it describes what the bird is and what it does.

O.H. (Other half: could be male or female) caught a Ling first. It is a long fish,can be a bit brownish, has a lot of bones and its flesh is a bit grey in colour. Its taste and texture is like a fish called Cod, which is the other fish that hubby caught. Some fish take on the colouration of their surroundings, like a camouflage.

I'm no expert on fish, though I have learnt a little about them. I have preferences in tastes, there are some, (not many) I don't like the taste and texture of, so I don't eat them. There are a some, not fished in our cold waters, I have yet to try.

This trip was the first time I went on a fishing trip with hubby. All my other outings have been more to explore and for pleasure.

There are various 'endearments' for a wife or female partner. I mentioned OH, which is not gender or relationship specific; 'better half' is often used to describe a wife or female partner.

'dear one'
'the wife'
Mrs... followed by username initials e.g. Amano Keiko could become 'Mrs AK'

There are many different descriptors for both genders really, these are just the pleasant ones and those in general use.

keiko amano said...


Oh, wifey really exists! That's cute. Hubby and wifey. I love it.

Americans often say significant other. Chinese say shenshe for husband (my pronunciation in Chinese is not good, so it could be different). Shenshe is teacher. Wife in Chinese is taitai. Tai means big, number one, the most important. At first, I thought calling husband "Teacher" is not good unless he is a teacher, but since Taitai sounds very important, I like the pair.

But in Japanese, for instance, when we speak about your husband, we say goshujin (honorific like Mr. plus main person), and wife is oku-san. Oku means the interior, and it means that married women stayed in the back of their house. Now, I think it's time to change the name of a pair.

Vincent said...

Your mention of oku-san brings to mind the probable English translation - "her indoors". This was made popular by a TV series called Minder, in which Arthur Daley, an unscrupulous wheeler-dealer (you may have to look that up) always refers to his wife in this way. Of course, she never appears in a scene!

keiko amano said...


So, the character's wife was a housewife. And housewives traditinally stayed home most of the time. But now, when I go into restaurants in Japan daytime during weekdays, they are filled with mostly women. They are not at home. "Her outdoors" is more appropriate. But we do have more neutral way to refer to husband and wife. Otto (husband) and tsuma (wife). But the pair is used only when we refer them like in a formal conversation and law documents.

Anonymous said...

lovely was well worth a little sea-sickness to get those snaps!

ZACL said...

Hello Keiko,

There are so many regional variations in terminology it is hard to remember what people might say.

'Her indoors' was a term I often heard in the East End and South Eastern areas of London. It's popular use for a time, may have been generated by the TV character. It would sound more like 'er indaws'. The character Vincent was referring to, was very much a stereotype of the time. I am not so sure that I would hear the use of 'er indaws' these days. There's bound to be some new evolutionary description.

Sometimes you will see and hear the term 'my missus' or 'the missus'. That would be another way of saying 'Mrs'

Other more endearing terms would be 'the love of my life, my wife/partner', or just 'the love of my life'. I have come across 'dear one'. And in John Mortimer's books, Rumpole of The Bailey, (Old Bailey High Courts of Justice in London) The wife Hilda, was described as 'She who must be obeyed'.

ZACL said...

Hello Ax,

I guess my delaying the return, confirms your thinking, though it was a close run thing and not a pleasant sensation, feeling sea-sick. It's not something I am generally troubled with. A small boat and a strong tide probably did for me.

Thanks for your comments.

ZACL said...

Keiko, Wifey is used as a norm in many places in Scotland. There, it can mean woman. An ol' wifey, is an old woman.

keiko amano said...


Thank you for all the information. If I collect a few more of these terms from other countries, I think I'll be an expert of something.

'er indaws' is great. I wouldn't guess it in million years. And 'She who must be obeyed' is an eye popping phrase, but then, "He who must be obeyed" sounds a perfect match for it. It's sort of Hubby and Wifey, but not friendly at all.

ZACL said...

I think, Keiko, the John Mortimer character of Hilda, (Mrs Rumpole) was a formidable lady who no-one crossed, least of all her husband, whom she appeared to always address as 'Rumpole', and in many voices. The whole marital relationship is depicted by these two descriptive forms. However, we digress here from wild life of a feathery kind to that on two legs.