Trigger Happy

Baltydaniel National School (Newtwopothouse, Mallow, Co. Cork)

Greetings Wina,

from a baking Algarve, It’s great to be back. You’ll be thrilled to hear that I’m no longer just a tourist here but a true Portuguese sea dog. Inspecting the slimy extraterrestrials at Alvor’s morning fish market, Dad spotted Luis, an old friend. A handshake later…we were going fishing. Early next morning, we putt-putted from the jetty into a clear glassy sea. Luis let me pilot the boat past the breakwater into the dazzling blue. Hours later, miles from the happy squeals of the beach – minus  Dad’s hat and my breakfast – sunburnt, sweaty and almost tearful, we finally got a bite and I wrestled a gigantic silver fish onto the deck. By noon I was under a lemon tree sipping chocolate milk, happily munching a pastel de nata. Later, nodding off to the gentle drone of the cicadas, a shriek pierced the lull. Inside, I found Mum pinned to the wall, mouth agape. My fish, caught hours before was thrashing violently in the kitchen sink! That evening, I followed the booted fishermen with their buckets of razor clams down the cobbled ‘Rua dos Pescadores’ where Francisco welcomed us back to his taverna with a broad smile. I was wildly happy to learn that my zombie-fish was actually the notoriously violent triggerfish. He demonstrated the trigger mechanism, pressing a little spine, allowing the large dorsal fin to retract. Served with golden batatas fritas, it was delicious… the sweet taste of a salty adventure.

Love and best fishes, William