Mackerel ahoy!

This is one of those blogs that isn’t really a blog at all. It’s just something that happened to me today, something that holds significance for me, but something you might just shrug at and say “Oh. So what?”

Before lockdown came along, Sunday was the highlight of the week – walk the dogs (an hour or two), shower the sand off, arrive at church at 10.30 and get home just after mid-day, usually friends would arrive as I cooked lunch, we’d chat through the afternoon, and I’d kick them out in time to get ready for the evening service, be back home in time for a glass of wine or two. Lovely! A full day of praise and talk about God, and friendship.

Now, it’s walk the dogs, make coffee, listen to the service on youtube and then…… nothing. Zilch. So today, being hot, I basked in the heat for an hour until the sun went behind the building next door, and then I ….. erm….. I sort of… erm…. what did I do? In the shade, what did I do? Out of the sun…. Anyway, whatever I did, which was absolutely nothing, the day passed. The contrast with our old Sundays was striking and a bit dismal. If you can be striking and dismal at the same time.

I knew the sun was shining on the High Street and the beach and all parts in-between and I could hear distant busy traffic, but in here, silence and peace. Not a lot happening. I put on a cardigan and thick socks, in my shady cool house, and I think I may have done a crossword. Or half done it. I saw a few people passing by, watched a family loading paddle boards and surf boards onto their car, enjoyed their excitement, the nostalgic sight of rolled up towels and picnic gear. Then, shaking myself, speaking sternly to me-myself about my propensity for making a really uncomfortable bed and then being grumpy about lying in it, I had some thoughts about a distance learning course I’ve foolishly embarked on, and about age, and about the church…. and the day sort of swithered past me. Did I pray? I think my thoughts are prayers. I think if we live with God then he’s always there, we’re always leaning on him, all our meditations are conscious of his presence. But did I actually say “I need help here?” No, because I didn’t know I did. I’d slipped into the shadows, wrapped myself up tight, closed myself off, observed the world but then retreated from it. I do that. It’s really annoying and I wish I’d stop it.

And then, late in the afternoon, came a little tap on the door – human contact! Real human contact on my doorstep.

There, on the pavement, were two lovely young friends, full of energy and joy, glowing with youth. Being Sunday their family hasn’t been working today (they run a dolphin-spotting, seal-espying boat trip company) so instead they had gone fishing and now they were delivering two freshly caught, cleaned and gutted, fat teenage mackerel. How lovely! How kind.

Sometimes we don’t know we need rescuing. Sometimes we step into the shadows in more ways than one. Sometimes we lose the warmth of life. Sometimes we are alone. That’s when the smallest things take on a powerful meaning.

So I emailed a very dear pal and shouted ‘Mackerel ahoy!’ and he’s on his way over for tea. Salad, new potatoes and grilled mackerel with the salt of the sea in their deep fat flesh.

Thank you for that knock on the door. Thank you for a miracle of fishes.

A miracle of fishes

He will care for you as a shepherd tends his flock,
    gathering the weak lambs and taking them in his arms.
    He carries them close to his heart
    and gently leads those that have young

Isaiah 40:11 (TPT)


I’ve never had such fresh mackerel before. They were simply delicious. We made small delighted piggy snorts and grunts as we ate.

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