The gift of kippers…..

As you will well know, its Mothers Day in the UK this coming weekend, and it will mark approx 18 months since I last saw mine. Bloody Covid!

The Mothership, as she is referred is a nightmare when it comes to gift giving however. She doesn’t drink (once on a Sunday school sharabang trip and never again, around the time of the Crimean War (don’t tell her I said that), she’s allergic to every conceivable beauty product (unless it’s Yardley talc), doesn’t watch films, doesn’t read books, doesn’t listen to music. Yes, there are flowers and chocolates, but been there and done it numerous times. I can’t send her anything from here directly with any great ease, certainly not foodstuffs (yay Brexit you big old winner you), or due to the time it would take to send and I don’t want her to incur any duties to pay at the other end (because, you know, that Brexit thing again). Last year I sent her a hamper from Elizabeth Botham’s in Whitby and she loved it. Google them if you haven’t heard of them, legendary family bakers and makers of Yorkshire Tea breads and deliciousness. For when you want Betty’s of Harrogate, but with some actual value……

The choice of Elizabeth Bothams was due to a week we spent, just the two of us, in a seafront cottage right at the bottom of the 199 steps, directly beneath Whitby Abbey and the cemetery that inspired Bram Stoker’s Dracula. The ship the Demeiter sailed into Whitby harbour with it’s decrepit undead cargo in the hold, before things start to get a bit messy. I spent a glorious few days sitting on my favourite bench, the one next to the church walls and with far reaching views over the Yorkshire Moors, reading Dracula again. Skies almost black one minute and golden the next, I have an Ashley Jackson print in my living room in France that is a tryptic, from right to left you can make out powder grey skies and fields, before it darkens to almost total inky black. Pure Yorkshire drama.

Every day, I would leave our cottage, walk the cobbled streets of the Shambles, cross the bridge, and buy a loaf and let’s face it, probably a cake of some sort, to take back for Mum. Soft white bread with a floury top that you just can’t buy here in France. So essentially I bought her a memory, in edible form.

We speak every day via Skype, and she was recounting to me the mother of all Whitby crab sandwiches she’d had when she was last there. The sort from a seafront mobile vendor, next to trays of mussels and prawns, the smell of malt vinegar and those pretend lobster claw things that glow in the dark. The brain I use to store present ideas booted up….

I googled. Yes is it absolutely possible to order a dressed Whitby crab and have it delivered. So I ordered her 2.

That didn’t seem like enough on it’s own, and knowing how much she loves the smokehouse in Craster, Northumberland, I also ordered her 2 pairs of kippers!

I don’t think I’ve ever given fish as a gift before, I might never do it again, but doesn’t the internet help make the world a little bit smaller when you need it to sometimes. Somehow I know that she’ll enjoy these better than flowers, even if I know she’ll tell me the kippers repeated on her for days…… She will…..

Laters……. V

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