Sole Searching is the personal recollections of a sixth generation fisherman Paul Gilson, who has worked on the Thames and in the North Sea since he was 15. His rich storytelling transports you onto his trawler as he recalls when fishing was big business and fishermen, including his father, were called to play a pivotal role in the war.
Paul is now a skipper of one of those Dunkirk Little Ships, The Endeavour, and is a well known voice for protecting the marine environment and the fishing industry.
Whether hauling on board deadly mines or hand-feeding wildlife, rescuing drowning children or helping solve murder cases, Paul’s fluent and entertaining storytelling provides a vivid insight into the bravery, tragedy and jovial escapades of fishermen as well as the sheer excitement of catching fish!
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You will find honesty and integrity here, because there is no hiding place with the sea. It is not simply a place of work; for Paul the sea is his daily companion, sometimes moody and dangerous, sometimes surrendering its riches and secrets, and the scene of many remarkable events. Paul’s eyes and ears have been trained by that daily encounter and by a flotilla of family members, past and present, who have shared their hard-won wisdom. There are tales of manning the Southend lifeboats and battling to save others’ lives, encounters with wildlife and an eye for living history. Paul, and others like him, read the signs of sea and sky, developing instincts that are only found in the hunter. He has an ear for the terse and often amusing dialogue that fishermen exchange with one another. But that is not all. Paul is scornful of those who stray onto the water without regard for themselves and others, and of the bureaucratic decisions which have devastated our fishing heritage. Most of all, Paul views each day as a special opportunity to know more, and is constantly delighted by the surprises that the sea offers.” Hugh Priestner, retired priest, occasional fisherman and life-long friend.
Praise for Sole Searching:
“Within the book are stories of tragedy, triumph humour and the macabre, it is a book of determination clearly written from the heart.”
“I knew little about the lives of those who risk their own lives for my Friday night dinner!”
“This book offers a sailor’s chest full of cracking yarns, ranging from nautical ghost stories to quite extraordinary stories of human folly afloat. They come from a man who has seen it all – even mutiny.”
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