Life doesn't get much better than a week on Hilbre in the height of summer, the mackerel are biting, the flatties are fat and the shrimp are in abundance. We had the best of the weather in the first half of the holiday, arriving in West Kirby on Wednesday and crossing to the island the very next day full of enthusiasm.
Doug and Anj were in residence and tales of 11 flatties from a 22 hook line prompted an early morning fishing trip. Despite the pot of tea and bacon butties on the rocks (confusing the life guard somewhat) the trip proved relatively unsuccessful yielding only one fish. The conversation then quickly turned to mackerelling. Doug and I have some history in these matters so it wasn't long until the old Suzuki was dusted off and the tiny boat was carried down the steps on a good high tide. Due to the south westerly wind and a swell which was too much for our little boat a new mackerelling ground closer to home was tried which came up trumps. Two hours and several cans of larger later a bucket of fish was proudly carried back to the bungalow.
Nicola, Chris, Isabella and George arrived the next day. Steph and Ken were staying in West Kirby at "the flattic" making a few visits to the island to try the mackerel pate and fresh brown shrimps.
On Saturday there was a changing of the guard as Doug and Anj left and Gavin, Josianne, Max, Jack and Buster (the very faithful ball obsessed dog) arrived. We were relegated to the tent and the house was at full capacity.
One day rolled into the next and the fishing and shrimping remained good although the stronger swell later in the week put a stop to further mackerelling expeditions. The kids amused themselves climbing the rocks and combing the beach while Pam under Jossianne's tutelage became a budding quilter (something to pass those long winter nights in the van me thinks!). Everyone settled into their island roles with Chris on the bbq, Nicola and Josianne doing the cooking, Pam as chief washer upper, Ralph leading the fishing expeditions and Gavin emptying the poo bucket (well someone had to do it!).
Before we knew it the week was up and it was time to pack up, clean up and go home. We were helped on our way by a down pour on the walk back to the mainland and looked forward to the prospect of a hot bath and a change of clothes.
Finally, the traditional Hilbre beard has come on nicely and could be here to stay, watch this space.....