Rough shooting was a favourite pastime that many of the fishermen as well as visitors indulged in. Fred Pullen and Jack Lungley
were locals who enjoyed the friendship and respect of many of the visiting wild fowlers. I am not sure that all they shot came
within the bounds of legality, but they always seemed to return with a good bag for themselves and some to spare.
They were fine shots and if potting humans had been lawful it would have given them great satisfaction, as nothing made them so
angry as the inexperienced gunners who shot to kill anying on sight, or in the words of Oscar Wilde, 'The uneatable by the
unspeakable'. I remember on one occasion Mr Bertie Hines of Aldham Hall said he would like to join them for a little rough
shooting. They agreed to take him but he must watch points. He certainly enjoyed it, even to running for his life from his own
gamekeeper. They had actually taken him shooting on his own shoot, he was a good sport and regarded the episode as a great joke.
Ted Milgate was another who made his living by the water. He was a likable character and could be very useful as he could turn his
hand to most jobs connected with both land and water. He was very fond of experimenting and very often the owner of a boat or car
suffered by his interest in this subject. One of the boats in his charge was the ENA owned by Group Captain Maurice ? who had
repeatedly asked him to varnish his cabin. This had been put off until the very weekend the owner invited guests down. As time
went by one saw the funny side of it. On one occasion he offered to paint my car only to find he had painted somebody else's.
The story of Ted and the whale has been completely related by Mr James Wentworth Day in one of his many books.
It was told to one of our guests, Mr Colin Morris, the
author of Reluctant Heroes, the world famous play that ran for many years at the Whitehall Theatre, as well as being a well known
TV personality with his series and documentaries. He thought it would make an amusing TV sketch, but in his own words it turned
out to be his only flop.
Sooty Mussett was tragically drowned while out wildfowling with your Mr Courtalle. It certainly cast a depressing gloom over the
Island as he was regarded as a real landmark, he had a wonderful memory and used to boast that he could quote if asked do do so,
any passage from the Bible. He proved this statement over and over again. He was what you would call a lovable old scrounger.
He would often come and ask me for a tanner, that being his entrance fee into the Victory bar when there were three cars on the
forecourt, although he said two cars on our park without the entrance fee would enable him to have an enjoyable session with
plenty of refreshment. He said he was not short of money has he had a profitable oyster laying, and with a wink in his eye
would add that it was stuck between two other good layings. His main job was taking people out wild fowling and fishing, giving
the participants great enjoyment and plenty of sport. He relied on what they liked to give him as payment, which I think was
very agreeable, as wages were low and wild fowlers or fishermen were often very generous.
Mersea Island possessed many local characters and in the past they were a great contribution with their wit and amusing live
stories, then the nearest thing to rehearsed humour.
Clark Mussett, who used to live in a little cottage next to the White Hart, used to spend his leisure time standing at his gate
smoking his pipe when he had tobacco, hoping to indulge in lengthy discussions on the general outlook, but would finish up
by saying 'It would be a lovely day if it wasn't for the blessed weather'. He was a tall stalwart good looking man who in his
old age lived alone, went winkling for a living to support himself thus keeping his principles and independence until he died.
He was affecionately called Clarky and had no enemies.
Harry Milgate was another well known character and was employed on the bagpipes in his gorgeous rig to play the guests in and
march them out. These occasions were joyous abandon, remember, no back ground music in 1925. If you wanted music, you made