The Fishwife In My Head

Last year we were very fortunate to walk a length of road that is normally submerged under a loch (see In the Footsteps of those who went before).  As you will see I took many photos along that route but there was something bothering me.  It was a woman, a fishwife.

While I was walking the road I kept imagining the people who would have used it.  This fishwife kept creeping into my thoughts.  No, I’d try to get rid of her by thinking of other people, but yet there she was.  Lingering.  Interrupting.  Butting into my thoughts.

on the road facing the loch and glascarnoch dam
Facing towards Glascarnoch Dam
Bronze statue of a fishwife
Beautiful bronze statue of the Nairn fishwife Annie Ralph by Ginny Hutchison and Charles Engebretson

The Fishwife

Whenever I’ve thought of the road since then, there she is.  She’s not gone away.  She’s still there, walking down that road, with her creel on her back. Perhaps she’s on her way to sell her fish, perhaps she’s away to collect durkins (pine cones which were used on fires to smoke fish) perhaps she’s making her way home after a long day.  But there she is, a fishwife, walking down the Fish Road.

Fast forward a few months and I was visiting the town of Nairn in Scotland and there she was.  A fishwife.  This one wasn’t the one of my imagination; this was a beautiful bronze statue by Ginny Hutchison and Charles Engebretson of the Nairn fishwife Annie Ralph.

The fishwife as I imagined her

So, now I had my fishwife, all I had to do was insert her into the photo that was waiting for her, and my visualisation would be complete.  Now fishwife can I please stop thinking about you?

sepia coloured photo of old road and faded woman on path

This blog was originally published on: 24 March 2019