Archive for the ‘People’ Category

Marie-Astrid, 40, a friend of Katherine’s who we are staying with on
our first two days in France, is one of the very few fisherwomen in
France and was born after various generations of Normans who
exclusively lived of the sea. She explains how traditionally in her
family, boys were sent to sea and girls worked the fish, cleaning,
selling and preserving it.
Until her father’s generation, one would see lads as young as 13 sent
on Nova Scotia, on trips lasting sometimes up to 9 months. When
parents would say goodbye, it was filled with the unspoken fear that
it could be the last.
Marie-Astrid’s uncle died at sea at the age of 22 and she remembers
well how good-looking he was in the pictures she saw of him.
Life at sea is tough, she says, and people too, no time or space to
dwell on feelings. So all was counterbalanced by the good life and
fishermen, as opposed to farmers, would by nature never become or stay
rich, ‘l’argent leur file entre les doigts’ – money slips through
their fingers – booze, girls, gambling and flash cars, like the
gypsies of the sea.
For women who sold the fruits of the sea, daily life was hardly
romantic either. Her grandmother sold fish and pushed around her
wooden trolley everywhere in town, stopping occasionally for a glass
of Calvados, the old local way of keeping good customer relationship.

Marie-Astrid picked us up at the beach to bring the squid for dinner,
and driving back to Katherine’s she shared her concerns that yet again
there was no fish that day, and this scarcity was barely helped by the
very bureaucratic European regulations. When Katherine asked what her
and her husband would do, she stared blankly at the road: ’I don’t

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