The Ayr fish supper

By willcowell

I was in trouble with loans - too many of those mega interest, pay day loans. They seemed great at the time, borrow short term for short term needs, sounds great eh; but I got too many, and I was paying interest every month with the actual debt just suspended like the sword of Damocles.

I blew it all gambling, aaaaargh, what an idiot, I’m so angry with myself.

My wife fell out with me, don’t blame her really - and me and my eight-year-old daughter Nic got a train down to Ayr for the day because we’re both on holiday.

On the train we look out the window for things to talk about but it’s mostly just sheep we see, Nic asks why some sheep have green or blue (dye) markings. And I tell her that they are specially bred for the coloured wool, the blue ones are called bleeps and the green ones greeps, she laughs for ages at this. Next thing we’re off the train, along the platform and out into the open Ayr.

Nice day, weather not bad, sun’s out but it's a bit windy. Some people are on the beach in bikinis and swimsuits, we both agree they are mad.

We walk about for a while and Nic plays in the play park then decides she wants a kite.

We get the kite and go fly it, it goes higher than any kite I’ve ever seen, it’s incredible, people are watching, and Nic is so proud that she has made this happen, it flies for ages going higher and higher and I film it on my phone.

After flying the kite, we both decide we are hungry and as I can’t afford to go to a restaurant we decide on a fish supper.

We walk along, find a nice chippy, and come out with a roasting hot fish supper with two fish (of course), two rolls and two cans of juice. There’s a park along the road so we decide to sit in there and eat as it’s a nice day.

I’m pretty sure it’s a scientific fact, or if it’s not, it should be, that fish and chips taste much better outdoors, and seaside fish and chips are the best of the best. This one was exceptional, it was the best fish and chips we had ever tasted, every bite was superb, the fish was excellent, the chips were dry and golden and the rolls were those crispy ones that always taste great, in fact it was so good we were joined by a couple of seagulls who wanted in on the action, we agreed to give them just a few chips and no more as they were too good to give away.

Nic asked if she could get an ice cream after that so we went looking and she got a giant cone with puff candy ice cream (yuk), we then went back to the play park for another while.

Next was the beach, Nic wanted to go and get seashells to take home so we started walking along to get some, it was getting a bit later now so a lot of the swimsuit people were away and the beach was more quiet. There were some people with dogs that were running about frantically between the sand and water, they were very funny so we wandered a bit closer to them.

Nic had a great time with a couple of Labradors that loved her energy as their owners were elderly and much slower, they all seemed to just keep going and going and going.

This is a great day I thought to myself, it’s the happiest time I’ve had in a while and I’ve not given my worries a thought, I want more of this.

On the way home Nic was exhausted, she fell asleep on the train and I had to literally carry her off at Central Station. When we were walking home from the station she was saying that that was the best day ever and when could we go back…

That was exactly a year ago. I’m at Ayr again today with Nic, my wife said this should be our day and she wouldn’t come.

We’re both a year older, we’re sitting in the same park eating a fish supper with the gulls, I’m positive it’s the same gulls from last year, maybe this is their “turf”. The chips and fish are very tasty but not as magical as that time last year. Nic flew a kite again but it didn’t go as high this time. She got another ice cream, mint choc chip this time (good) and I was assured by her it was superb.

We walked on the beach like last time and there were dogs for Nic to run with, she really enjoyed herself, like last time.

Nic wanted a happy meal to eat on the train, where does she put it all? “Dad, have you ever wondered how the meal you get never EVER looks like the ones in the photos?” Nic said.

“They don’t do they?” Then a thought occurred to me that I’ve never seen a photo of a fish supper on a chippy menu, is that such a bad thing?

On the train home we seen more bleeps and greeps, some reeps (red ones), and golfers.

The second Ayr trip was a good day, but the first one was almost magical, everything just came together perfectly on a day which made me realise just how stupid and selfish I was being. It’s funny how something so simple can become a crossroads in your life.

I’ve not gambled since that day, my loans are paid off and we have booked a holiday abroad for later this year, so things are indeed looking up. There will also be more Ayr days.

To the seaside fish supper, the bleeps and greeps, and the strange flavoured ice cream.

Thank you.