Robertson, John

Fin I wis aboot ten year auld, I eesed tae come fur holidays tae ma granfaither's hoose in Collieston. It wis the middle hoose in a place they caad 'The Bog', an it wis caad that because it wis weety. Ma grannie waukened me aboot seven in the mornin tae gie me ma brakkfaist, an syne I'd gyang doon tae the rocks at the shore tae gaither mussles fur bait. I'd aye an auld knife tae howk the limpets aff the rocks. Aa the fishermen hid a 'skaap'...a wee bittie they keepit ootlined wi steens, tae haud their bait doon at the beach.The mussles war gaithered in Neebra at ae time an weemin cairriet them in creels an teemed them inno these peels.

Fin I wis helpin, I'd hae gaithered a bucket, an ma cousin tee, fur ma uncle Johnnie. Uncle Johnny'd ained a boatie caad The Hope. We tuik shellfish back tae the hoose tae be sheeled. The weemin sheeled the bait inno a big bowl an then baited the line fur the menfowk. There wis 600 hooks in a line. Some fowk baited them aa wi mussles, some used limpits, some used mackerel.Efter they war teemed, the shells wis cowped oot ontae the roadies, and trampit inno smush.

The boatie wis aboot 15 feet lang, wi twa o a crew. They'd gyang awa mebbe twa o clock in the mornin...sail oot mebbe 5 mile usin sail an oar, an be back in time fur brakkfaist. They'd cam back wi haddocks an whitins an flukes. They micht hae catched twenty or thirty dizzen. Aabody redd the lines efter that. Ye'd tae watch her fingers on the hooks.It wis a hale day's wark.

The haddocks an whitins war gutted bi the weemin doon on the shore. They sheeled oot a peel amang the steens tae wash the fish in, an noo an again they broke the dam tae let the fool watter rin awa. The gulls flew doon thick tae clear up the soss. The fish war washed an scrubbit, an syne taen back tae the hoose tae be satted.

They war laid on a boord, tails tae the centre, heids ootside, an satted layer upon layer. They lay in the satt fur hauf a day, an then they war teen oot an laid on racks o wire nettin tae dry. If it wis weet, there wis a tarpaulin tae hap them. Eence the fish war dried, they war caad Collieston speldin, an fairm servants bocht them fur 6d a dizzen. They tasted really fine, an fowk cam frae far enough tae buy them!