Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Playing at the seaside and finding crabs

Sunday 26th September 2010: Carnon, Nr Montpellier FR. 
Saying sorry is hard. Accepting it is hard. Moving on is hard. But what else is there? When I listen to my heart, I know that there is only one thing to do in these situations. That’s just move on. ‘Siempre para adelante’ ‘Always move forward.

After breakfast, we decided to see how far away we were from the beach. It was a hot day already, and we were on foot. I wondered how far it could be, but I was glad to be holding his hand, his fingers entwined in mine. We passed boats of the marina which looked very expensive, as we approached further into the Marina, each one looked even more ostentatious as the first.

We got to a parade of shops and found that the first one was a little fishing one. The Pilot bought a box of bait whilst I stood well back. We would have to carry this around with us now! There were a variety of shops, but being Sunday and nearly 12pm, I was wondering how long they would stay open for and if they would be back at 2pm.

We managed to find our way to the beach with a map, and it was just fantastic. I removed my flip flops to feel the hot sand under my feet. This looked like a good sunbathing place. We headed off to the rocks to see what we could see. We climbed over them and made our way to the side where we found lots of mussels. Dinner I thought! We then went to the side to try and see what kind of mussels were there, bigger I had hoped, although they were covered with a beard of seaweed! I placed my foot in the water and started searching for some crabs I thought I had seen. All of a sudden, I felt something tugging at my foot. When I looked down I screamed! It was a pink and brown octopus, its head about the size of my fist. The Pilot came to my aid and grabbed the sick he had been carried and it wrapped itself around it like a snake. I managed to get the plastic bag out just in time to try and get it in, but it slipped off and was now trying to get away. Quickly I tried to pick it up with my hand, but the slippery aliveness of it just made me squeal even more. Both of us squealed at each other to ‘PICK IT UP, PICK IT UP’ But both of us were too squeamish, and the octopus was just trying to get away by this point. The Pilot took the bag and covered the octopus and sealed the bag as quick as he could. We were both laughing at the excitement of it all. We could have been two 8 year old children excited over the past few minute’s events. Now, if we had had a bucket at this point, the next thing wouldn’t have happened! We watched as the octopus poked a leg through the plastic bag and then inserted a second, and with that, his HUGE bulbous body was emerging and he dived onto the rocks and plopped into the water. We both stared at each other with wide eyes and even wider mouths whilst we both continued to squeal even more. We weren’t even making sense to each other anymore. We just kept saying how creepy it was and just laughing. It was gross, but it was brilliant!

The rocks that we had been walking on in bare feet were just crucifying them. Every step was painful and by now, my feet were throbbing. I should have brought my crocs!

It was then, we had a plan. Go back to the Snail. Get what we need, bikini, shorts, a bucket and catching stuff equipment. We would spend the day catching crabs, mussels and trying to find the Octopus that had grossed us out as much! We walked back as quickly as we could back to the Snail and got as prepared as we could do. We packed a bag with crab catching equipment, which consisted of our skewers and a huge bowl. We cycled back to the shop hoping to buy a bucket and the snorkel set I had seen in the window, but the shop had now closed for the rest of the day. We would have to make do with the basic equipment we had.

Back on the rocks, we collected a bag full of mussels before preceding the crab catching. Between us we made a good team. We would call to each other if we found one and try to prise it out of its hidey place. We spent a few minutes limpetting ourselves the rocks as the waves crashed around us. And then I heard him call. He had found one, but he couldn’t get it out. Between us we pushed sticks, and a washed up log to manoeuvre it out. For about 15 minutes this continued until it was out. And what a monster! We placed it in our bowl and covered it feeling pleased for ourselves, before we went off again. We managed to catch another one before the day was out. We were glad to have something under our feet to protect us from the sharp jagged rocks.

We tried to look in the same place for the rogue escapee octopus, but it obviously had better sense and had long gone. I kept checking down at my feet though, just in case it tried to catch me!!
When we had finished and our backs and limbs were sore from the day’s events, I wanted to just relax by the waters edge and collect shells. I don’t know what it is about collecting shells. It’s a very childlike quality that I have, but you can never seem to collect enough. There is always another one that outshines the first, and before I knew it, my pockets and hands were filled. ‘For the nature shelf’ I would say to myself which would eventually lead to the ‘collage’ I’m going to make with everything I have collected.

The Pilot was reluctant to go with me, which upset me a bit and so I left, to wander the beach alone. I got to the other end of the water’s edge and looked at the people on the rocks. Here were many fishermen who were obviously trying their luck at a fishy supper. I saw people together and was sad that I was alone to witness this and had no one to share it with. I cursed myself at not bringing my yellow crocs so that I could climb the rocks and see what was there. I looked up and could see a familiar shape through the sun in my eyes. There, dangling in the palm of his hands were my crocs. He had walked over to where I was and I suddenly felt very important. Not in my eyes, but in his. It’s all that I want. It’s all that I ever wanted. Who doesn’t? To feel loved and to feel important in the eyes of the person you love.

It was time to go, and although I could have been there until night time, I was appreciative for the extra time the Pilot had given me in order to stay a bit longer. So, we cycled back with our two crabs, our bag of mussels and planned to have a sausage BBQ with some homemade chips. Yummy!

On arrival back to the Snail, I realised that in order to eat the crabs, we would have to cook them, and to cook them we would have to kill them. Suddenly I wasn’t too happy about this. I boiled the water ashamedly and when the water was hot enough. I watched the Pilot put the crabs in the water, the whole time I was telling them ‘sorry’. They turned pink almost at once which surprised me. We abandoned the idea of mussels after the ‘seaweed beard’ that they had were almost impossible to remove from the shells and so we resigned ourselves to just eating the crabs as a starter. The next 20 minutes were filled with the most ‘mmming’ and ‘ohhhh’ that you can imagine without the lights off! We both stood by the cooker as we ate those crabs with the most gusto you can imagine. They were just delicious! The only time we had tasted something that good was about 6 months ago in Wales, when we had Welsh lamb from the BBQ. ‘AHHHH’, we would both say with a twinkle in our eyes if we mention that Welsh lamb to each other. Now it will be that and French 

We ended the evening eating the chips first, as I had cooked them out of sequence of the BBQ, then eating the BBQ. It was a perfect ending to a perfect day after a hard week. 

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