Sunday, 1 February 2009

Bowled over cockling

Yesterday we went cockling in Blueskin Bay with four young friends. None of us had cockled before and although Polly and I have seen people in the bay at low water we haven't really been close enough to see the technique.

When we walked down to the bay from our house we were nearly blown over by the southerly. True adventurer that I am I was ready to head back to the house and do some useful computer maintenance (note to self here - when we did get back home the computer was cheerfully rebooting itself. Second time this week. Charitably and hopefully I am putting it down to a sudden loss of power due to the strong wind. It doesn't take much to knock a Desktop over. It might also be an evil w*o*r*m - but I'm way too cool to get one of them.)

We poked around in the mud with bare toes and bare hands for a while finding tiny little representatives of the vast amounts of cockles apparently available to all and sundry. Group one - Polly, Jane and Billy headed off to where we usually see the infrequent gatherers - while Tom Heather and me hung around near where we had entered the bay. Heather wandered farther out and struck a vein of cockles. A whole council estate of them, tower blocks of the critters. A rapid visual comparison with what we had already gathered showed we had been grubbing in the nursery.

In no time at all we had the equivalent of one person's daily allowance. Cockle gathering here is restricted to 150 of the animals per person.

I'm from Ireland, Tom is from England - we both kept going 'wow' and making other noises of disbelief at the wealth of shellfish lolling about in the shallows. I think we'd be hard pressed to think of an equivalent site in the British Isles.

We took them home post haste and I can report that they were tasty eats. The last time I had cockles was from a company in Mersyside and they were pickled in a glass jar.

The wind has died down today.

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