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Mackerel Fayre at the Ancient ceremony of Blessing the Nets

John and Pete busy with the barbecues fired up on a sunny day
Quenching the barbecues in the sea at the end of the day
Some days were not so sunny!
Long queues at times
Local fisherman provided plenty of fish
Copious light libations

If you would like to find details of the ancient tradition, they can be found here.
The tradition was revived following the opening of the Fishing Museum in the late 1980’s, the success of the museum project largely down to the ‘hands on’ enthusiasm of former Labour Mayor Andy Durr. The area west of the Palace Pier was revitalised during this period.

Volunteering my services

At the opening I ‘volunteered’ my services to set up the barbecue over a few beers with my old mate Chris Holm, he managed the seafront in his council role of Resort Services Manager and was heavily involved in establishing the museum. Over a few years a number of mates were inveigled into lending a hand, principally Pete Barnard an experienced chef (thankfully).

A very jolly affair

Over time, among others who lent a hand were Jess Wood, Willie Gibson, Dave Smith & Kerry, It was hot hard work with long queues at times, why not for a free feast? All were kept hydrated and rewarded with copious light libations provided by Chris and his (soon to be) wife Madeline. The whole day was a very jolly affair and a great success, local fisherman provided plenty of fish, voluntary donations going to the museum.

Rick Stein did not show

Songs of Praise was held during the festivities in 1999. Another year we had word that Rick Stein was filming for a Taste of Britain and we could expect a visit, we waited in some trepidation at the prospect, sadly he did not show up. When the programme aired, he waxed lyrical about the French Market in town. He must have had a casual glance over the promenade rail, and made a disparaging comment about Jack & Linda’s brilliant little smokehouse, no mention of our taste of the coast!

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