Steve Anderson

The Scillies tour (the Kelping process)

Page 2 of 6

May 2011

I had met a local called Julien in the pub who had five lobster pots and a small but very functional motor boat, and had been invited to go out and help with the pots and do some boat fishing. After an earlyish start we made our way out to the pots where we hauled and re baited the pots and set them, we managed to get a number of decent crabs, but no lobsters, this proved to be the standard over the next 4 trips out, but we did have some good fishing, catching pollock, and a few mackerel, which it appears were quite early this year.

That evening in the pub I got chatting with some other campsite residents, whose humour and geniality was to prove irresistible during the rest of my stay, and who in large part were responsible for my decision to stay on St Agnes. They answered to Piffo, Bob and Johnnie, and they all came from Bristol, and had been visiting the Scillies for years. When pressed as to where I had pitched my tent, the boys informed me I was in the gay field, and it was this sort of friendly Bristol style banter that proved to be their trademark. Piffo invited me back for a drink on the way home and the four of us sat up drinking scrumpy for an hour or so while I was regaled with some of the fun that is their day to day life. Piffo had a superb bell tent decorated with Persian carpets, a selection of comfy chairs, a converted croquet box for a galley, and a disco ball for added atmosphere, all lit with Tilly oil lamps. It came as no surprise to hear that the baggage handlers at Penzance remember him each time he visits. The boys suggested that it might be about time to deploy the pantomime cow! I was probably as dumfounded as you are reading this, but it turned out that Piffo had liberated a pantomime cow from a skip placed outside the Old Vic in Bristol, and had to the baggage handlers utter (or should that be udder) delight transported it to St Agnes, where it was stabled in the attic space above the shower block in the campsite. We dreamt up a few scrumpy inspired ways to have fun with the cow, which incidentally had a moving mouth and winking eyes and one useable teat which had according to Johnny been previously tested and proved working with vodka. We thought of placing it complete with operators in a field of other cows behind the campsite just as a boat full of twitchers were making their way past and having some fun with the winking mechanism and some double jointed cow dancing action!

The Bristol boys had a phrase which they applied to anyone whom they perceive to have become soaked in the special St Agnes atmosphere, they explained after I had raptured about some small detail I had enjoyed that I had become ‘Kelped’. They had even presented the pub with a Kelp trophy which was handmade of driftwood, flotsam and jetsam and had a wooden clock hand, that rotated, and which resembled a sort of kelp meter. I never found out what it was actually presented for.


The next day I went in search of breakfast materials and having found them managed to weld them to the bottom of my camp frying pan with the magma temperatures achieved by my either on or off camping stove. Having eaten what was worth salvaging I went for my round the island constitutional.

During my amble I got chatting to an amazing lady who had visited all of the UK’s residential islands, 126 or so of them, when pressed  her personal favourite was St Agnes, although I did say I would not mention that to anyone. (Sorry if you are reading!) She had spotted a Grey headed wagtail, which is pretty rare in the Scillies and seemed to be causing quite a stir amongst the twitchery, however when I pressed another tripod carrier about the birds rarity, it would appear they are as common as starlings in Uzbekistan, (although apparently starlings are now quite rare here, so even my similes are out of date).

There is more stupidity than Hydrogen in the universe , and it has a longer shelf life. (Frank Zappa)