|Abstract||Rome was once saved by geese, but it is a still humbler creature that the Mersea fishermen look for each winter,
Sprats and Herrings, but
that didn't come up to expectations too frequently. Fishermen are dedicated to their vocation just as much as the Clergy are to
the Church, which is usually warm and well lit, but the fisherman who also regards himself with pride, has to combat tide,
wind and darkness. Half the time soaked to the skin and frozen with cold and not always the comfort of a friendly cabin, with so
much water washing the decks and coming down the hatchways and sluicing the bunks below. You want to be 'hove to' in a gale
of wind to know what hardships they endure, very often the best part of their gear left behind on a sunken wreck of the last war.
It is a complete falacy about small fishermen making a lot of money, they are dedicated men good catch or bad catch. They cannot
put to sea soon enough to get on with their job optimistically hoping for good weather and a profitable haul.
When the sprats are plentiful the price is so low that the fish can only serve the purpose of human good in the indirect way
of helping the produce of the ground. Fishing can be a blind maddening speculation. Years ago the spratting season was known
as "The Stow Boat Lottery", often the draw producing no prizes. My grandson Ronnie Garriock being a fisherman I speak with
authority on the subject. He doesn't mind how remote it is in his search for fish. An empty boat is devoid of joy and a good
haul is a stepping stone to fisherman's prosperity.