The dog’s beach etiquette is very suspect. His initial enthusiasm, as demonstrated by wild running and digging which involved spraying sand over all and sundry, came to an outraged halt at the edge of the sea – bubbly waves being a brazen assault as far as the hound was concerned. He watched the children scrambling between the rock pools fishing for shrimp and crabs with patent disapproval but it was my venture into the sea for a swim that led to near disaster. Driven close to an apoplexy at the thought of losing me to this salty, whooshing, bubble mixture, my faithful friend – after a couple of half-baked starts – finally launched himself bravely into the water in order to rescue me from my folly. His lifesaving technique needs work – to the uninitiated it must have looked likely that I would not survive his attentions as quite a crowd gathered to witness my being first leapt upon (and pushed under the water) then on emerging from the depths being inexpertly but determinedly corralled back to the shore where apparently it was imperative that I remain – guarded and safe!
Meanwhile the fishing party was doing splendidly. Such was the success of the shrimping nets that, whilst the crabs caught were only big enough for a very exciting Crab Derby, the shrimps were definitely potable. The boys’ delight was unsurpassed. As the fire was built up they gleefully regaled their hapless captives with commentary on each stage of the process: The frying pan in readiness, the oil quickly warming to smoking heat, the hiss and spit of the garlic as it preempted the crustaceans’ fate. Then in they went – dramatically hopping and flicking in desperate attempts to save themselves but to no avail – within seconds they were pinkly delicious. The carnivorous boys fell on their prey as if they had seen no meat for days – the rest of us sampled these delicate morsels feeling somewhat guilty. But the theatre of the day did not end there: (not liking prawns anyway) Nearly Teenage Daughter was able to do full justice to her dramatic range as she wept and railed at our cruelty; our inhumanity to living creatures. She mourned the pile of discarded shells waxing lyrical on the subject of animal rights and gave them a Viking burial with full honours sending them to Valhalla in a driftwood ‘boat’ on the pyre of their unfortunate demise.
Having all thoroughly enjoyed and exhausted ourselves in our different ways it was time to head home – via the fish and chip shop – where, strangely, there was no mention of the Rights of Cod.