When I was about 11 years old I went fishing whenever I could. Mostly round the Weymouth Harbour area. Whenever possible I used a little fish we knew as whitebait to catch bigger fish; there were always lots of these close to the steps. To catch them I had a net. One day trying to get some bait I fell in with all my clothes on. I was due that evening to swim from the pier to the Jubilee Clock in the Weymouth swimming club race.
Well, I walked home dripping wet, the red dye in my grammar school blazer came out and the rest of my clothes and body were covered in red. My mum was in hospital and my aunt May Collins was looking after me and Rosemary. She made me take off my clothes to wash them. But she did the blazer separately and said she had put salt in the water to stop the dye running. When I told her it was the salt sea I’d fallen in she got more cross with me.
When my father came in from work, he sent me to bed and I was not allowed to take part in the swimming race. My fishing gear and rod were left outside in the garden. In the evening my aunt and dad were listening to the radio. Suddenly my fishing reel started to run out. The noise made them go into the garden, he reeled in, and out of the darkness came our cat, which had decided to eat the white bait I had left on the hook. The poor cat had the hook right through her tongue. Father had to put the cat in a sack as he had got scratched. Because of the barb on the hook he had to get some cutters to cut the hook in half, so the cat was not badly hurt when he got it out. Was I in trouble the next day? I was not allowed to go fishing or swimming until mum came home from hospital. But whenever I fished again, I always took the bait off my hook before I came home