Oh, the misunderstood fishwife. She gets such a bad rap. Having become used to hearing this as a term to refer to a loud or shrewish woman, I was delighted to come across it in a different usage. While reading “The Paris Wife” by Paula McClain, I was struck by this sentence, “Sometimes he’d make us a cup of tea – a strong leaf that tasted of mushroom and ashes – and we’d chat like fishwives.” To me, that has a pleasant connotation; one of warmth and friendliness. I knew at once this was my next bon mot. A little research tells me the term comes from the German, and wif was a term for woman, not exclusively a married one. A fishwife is a woman who sells fish. It’s believed that the reputation of being loud and shrewish came from the fishwife working on the docks with the men, who were frequently heard to swear and use coarse language. That may be, but I rather like The Paris Wife’s take, and would like to swap tales with a fishwife over tea. Care to join me?