Trudy Andrew | Canadian Author

Travel Tails

A Wonderful Day

We’d embraced a perfect day, starting with saying good morning to the neighbouring horses that called for our attention. The Giant’s Causeway had been worthy of our highest expectations. The ruins of Dunluce Castle more than impressed. We’d enjoyed the walk to the Causeway, and had watched firemen beat out a fire caused by the little train that belched smoke and sparks onto the dry grasses as it chugged  along, carrying tourists up to the visitor’s centre, and we’d learned it was an ongoing problem because the grass was so tall and dry. Of course there was also the wind that would magically appear to fan the flames. After so much walking and such a busy day, we decided to ‘fuel up’ by going to a restaurant that had been highly recommended to us by the proprietor of Montalto House, our lovely bed and breakfast. She’d been so kind to us, ever so helpful, and we didn’t doubt her for a second. The food was excellent, service friendly and from what she’d said, the prices were both fair for delicious food and the portions such that we wouldn’t walk away hungry. To the ear of a Manitoban who loves a deal and is travelling on a tight budget, that’s the most beautiful music. Off we went. Starved by a busy, active day, we were ready to eat.

The restaurant has some age to it and was the oldest restaurant slash pub, in Bushmills. There’s no way any business can stay around that long, and not be good. We anticipated a great meal. When we entered the historic building, we were impressed with esthetic of it, and were met with friendly smiles. We were smiling as well, as the place was just like we prefer, empty. Well after the lunch rush and well before dinner, it was devoid of customers. Our timing was pretty well perfect. They were sharing a rather interesting dish at the bar, probably catching their lunch before the next rush, and it piqued the girlchild’s interest.

“Whatever you’re having looks good,” she said as she eyed up the plate, heaped high with what appeared to be, some sort of breaded seafood, “what is it?”

“Deep-fried, white baitfish,” one answered with a huge grin, “it’s really brill. Honestly, the best.”

“He could eat that all day long,” the bartender added with a grin, “and he’s not having yeh on, ’tis right brill. If yeh like fish and seafood, yeh’ll likely think it right good indeed.”

“Then that’s what I’ll have,” sweetpea smiled with anticipation, she enjoyed both of those, “it looks good. But if I don’t like it,” she warned the laughing, young men, “then you have to eat it, because I don’t like waste.”

“Yer on,” the one readily agreed, “My mate here wasn’t having yeh on. I do love the dish, and could eat it all the day long. What about yerself then?” he turned his attention to me.

Now, I would’ve happily ordered it as well, if I wasn’t allergic to fish and seafood, that is. Alas, I had to order something that wouldn’t set off a chain of reactions, I’d much rather avoid. Aware that I couldn’t order anything that was fried in the same oil as the fish, I stuck with what was safe from contamination, a big salad and rolls. It’s not as much fun and enticing, but it’s usually the sensible choice. Our meals were served in no time at all, and we dug in, all the while, being entertained with some great conversation by the bartender and manager. Not surprisingly, the girl enjoyed the coated, deep-fried dish, but it wasn’t long before she was done. There was actually such a thing as too much of a good thing, and the plate had been heaped high. True to his word, the manager did pitch in and help her finish it off. All the while, the bartender was chuckling and grinning as he worked behind the bar. He wasn’t wrong. His friend truly did love the fried dish. We left well satisfied and almost too full to move. A walk was most definitely in order.

We meandered around the pretty village to admire the old buildings and the beautiful scenery that was absolutely everywhere. We really were too full, and out of necessity, had to stand, leaning against the bridge to admire the water wheel for a while. Dinner had to settle a bit before walking could be anything but a slow, lazy meander about. Brisk wasn’t even in the vocabulary right then.

As we contentedly admired the view, sweetpea gave me a wry grin, “I don’t know what I was thinking, ordering something like that. It was good, but there was way too much. That’s a good dish to share with a bunch of people. Do you realize what I ate, mom?”

“Fish, sweetie, you ate deep-fried, coated, whole fish, heads, tails and all,” I teased while chuckling at her expression.

“Bait, mom, I ate bait, like what a person uses when they go fishing,” she giggled in response, “That’s so funny. I mean, they were smaller than minnows, and I wouldn’t even contemplate eating minnows. It’s a good thing they were tasty, and that he helped me eat them, too. Oh, and I didn’t eat the heads and tails, he did.”

“I saw you eat a couple of whole ones,” I teasingly countered, “don’t even try to deny it.”

“I did,” her grin broadened, “then decided that was too crunchy. I like to try new things, but even I, have my limits.”

“Good to know,” I chuckled as we gazed out at the view, “very good to know.”

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About Trudy Andrew

Trudy Andrew lives on a small farm just east of Winnipeg, Manitoba, where she enjoys her Morgan horses. A dreamer since she was a child, its no surprise to those who know her well that her imagination would find an outlet in writing, as it has in the past through artwork.
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 Oakbank, MB