Saturday, October 20, 2012

Okarito whitebait story

La Femme d'Oracle

I fish too, once a year, for WHITEBAIT.  A family delicacy.  As the only one of 9 siblings left on the Coast I'm expected to provide. 

The seasons been poor.  Two days ago I squeezed into my wetsuit on a rare day with no wind or rain. After 2-hours scooping I had 50 or 60 bait, my first for the season. They were still swimming in the one egg I whipped up, but died quickly as they hit the frying pan. I ate them all, relieved I was alone, & not expected to share my first taste.  Ahhh!  So delicious !!

So to Labour weekend. Lovely visitors. I determine to treat eldest son who shares my love of whitebait. Still raining. COLD. I join 20 other brave souls and trawl the river for 2 more hours. The bait are so scarce, I'm embarrassed to take home just half a dozen. Or is it 8.

Add 1 egg?? or 2??  They swim in water in the bucket on the kitchen bench while I thaw out under lashings of hot water (solar remember).

But no. They are admired. And photographed. And then, with umbrella to shelter them from the pouring rain, my city visitors return the luckiest ever 8 whitebait to the wetland under the boardwalk,  just over the road from our house.

Delicacies should always be presented frozen!!

The 8 lucky whitebait

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Two West Coast Rain Poems

Bloody Hell its wet!!

It rained and rained and rained 
The average fall was well maintained 
And when the tracks were simple bogs 
It started raining cats and dogs. 
After a drought of half an hour 
We had a most refreshing shower 
And then most curious thing of all 
A gentle rain began to fall. 
Next day but one was fairly dry 
Save for one deluge from the sky 
Which wetted the party to the skin 
And then at last the Rain set in! 

Rain come down, it all comes down to rain:
the great rain, the dark rain, the Rain Father

pissing his worst in the headwaters, Mother-
of-all-Rains squatting, showering blood, mud

rain ricochets back off the clay, the heavens
polluted, the hills collapse, slip rain, sod rain,

the fat tears of God rain, rain so thick and vast
it can drown the prayers of believers from

you back to Jesus! Fear rain, awe rain, rain no
beggared philosopher washed downstream on a

trunk of rata could ever explain: dog rain, cat and
rat rain, the rain that drowns ambition, swallows

towns and smashes bridges, train-eating, brain-
beating, roof-drumming over & over & over. Rain.

Source: Jeffrey Paparoa Holman, The late great Blackball bridge sonnets. Wellington: Steele Roberts, 2004, p. 40