A question of mistaken identity

Boat at Orford

This comical but true little tale occurred many years ago now, but still makes me chuckle when I recall it. At the time I shared a 19-foot fishing boat with Rod Barley – a quiet, well-mannered and even tempered lad, same age as me, and who was (and still is) a lifelong great friend. The routine was that on Saturday P.M. we would drive down to Orford in Suffolk, load up the boat, motor down the River Ore to an appropriate spot, walk over the shingle spit known as Orford Island or Orford Ness, light up the Tilley lamps and fish from the beach all night for cod and whiting. After breakfast (cooked over the coke fire), we would reload our boat and, weather permitting, navigate out of the river mouth and fish for the day in the sea. When we’d had enough, the procedure was to motor back to the mooring, where I would fillet the fish whilst Rod cooked a nice steak in the galley before returning home. Lovely times indeed and I have fond memories of lots of fun and some good catches.

Rod does a fry-up

Rod does a fry-up on the beach

After one such trip I was brewing up for a rather urgent visit to the toilet as we sped back up the river. We did have a small toilet on the boat but I didn`t really want the bother of emptying and cleaning it after the event and so elected to hang-on until we docked at the quay. It was mid-January and the temperature was well below freezing so there would be no one about, and 100 yards from the jetty there was a large car park and a nice public toilet. I was getting pretty desperate by the time we arrived, so leaving Rod to secure the boat, I hurried, as best I could, across the deserted quay, over the small wooden bridge and on to the equally deserted car park – not a soul in sight. Perfect! I shot into the loo only to find, to my utter disbelief and horror, that the only cubicle was actually occupied!! Can you imagine it?

Well, there was no time to waste so around I sped into the Ladies’ side which, of course, was free. Oh the bliss! When you are bursting nothing, literally nothing, matches the ecstasy! I sat there savouring the relief – it had been a close call! It was then that I clearly heard footsteps approaching the toilets – Rod of course – and this is where the funny part begins.

As I sat quietly in the Ladies, starting already to get the giggles, there came the following through the thin wall:

“Hurry up, are you going to be in there all day? I need one as well!”

I quaked with mirth as I heard some frantic paper-retrieving from next door, followed by another outburst from my pal:

“Phaw —- what a Fu…..ng stink!!”

This was simply too much, and I almost fell off my seat as I tried in vain to control my sniggering, tears rolling down my cheeks in streams!

There was the sound of a flush through the wall and I was wondering what conversation would ensue – but not a word was spoken – only the sound of running water followed by retreating footsteps!!

With some difficulty I managed to get myself sorted and waited for Rod’s appearance from the Men’s side. His face was as red as a beetroot and he was furious with me for not warning him — but what could I have done? Naturally that set me off again!!

I don’t Know if Rodney has ever quite recovered from the embarrassment – but I wouldn`t have missed it for the world. I hope you find this as amusing as I still do – to this day!!

Nice cod from the beach

Nice brace of cod from Orford Ness

Mike Green About Mike Green

Although a bit of a pike fanatic, Mike Green has been fishing in the UK and abroad for most of his life, catching coarse, sea and game fish in the UK, Canada, Alaska, New Zealand, Asia and Americas.