Susan Gray

Finalist 2017

Excerpt from 'Fish Suppers'

The sun was rising at the top of the Great Glen, a pink glow behind Ben Nevis.  Eric looked up the loch, and said: “Bother! It's going to be a clear day.”

Einmar peered out from the comfort of the nest at the top of the tree.  “What's wrong with that?” she asked.

“Honestly, Einmar, have a think, will you?  It's going to be sunny.  It's nearly a Bank Holiday – guess who’ll be coming to call?”


“Goodness me, Einmar, does that stupid tag on your wing not remind you about anyone?”

“Oh yes – that bird man.”

“Correct.  And blow me, here he comes already.  Where are Peter and Inga?”

“Out practising flying.  I won't get them back in time to hide.  And anyway Eric, you're too fat to lurk behind the branches.”

Eric tried unsuccessfully to suck in his abdomen, nearly falling off the branch in the process.  They watched the high-speed rib approaching from Oban, men clinging to their seats as it bucketed over the outgoing tide.  It cruised along the shore, the occupants scanning the coast with enormous binoculars.  Einmar was pushing the youngsters back into the nest, but it was too late.  With a final snarl, the boat circled into the small bay, the engine noise bouncing off the rocks and disturbing a family of otters who were taking advantage of Eric's late rising habits by doing some early fishing.

“Bloody RSPB man,” the mother said, snatching her brood and diving beneath the surface....