Sunday, 13 February 2011

Seaweed season

In the last few days, the winter has started to seem to be on the wane. It must be the growing daylength: the extra light in the morning kick-starting the day with a bit more energy, the loitering dusk allowing me to let a little bit more get done each afternoon. The garden beckons.

Yesterday was seaweed day: fifteen loads of it onto the vegetable and soft fruit beds. The big tides at new moon combined with gales have meant that vast amounts of wrack have been thrown high up on the shore of Loch Roe. Since then we've had plenty of rain so I'm pretty confident the salt will have washed out. And yesterday was sunny and when you're working hard it doesn't matter that it isn't warm. So, the mucky sacks were unearthed from their hiding place, the creel was emptied and hooped around my forehead, and off I set down to the shore to get mucky.

I like getting mucky. I love the smell of seaweed. I adore watching ripples and the curious faces of seals. I sing back when birds twitter at me. I stuffed the sacks and my basket, experiencing a profound connection to this place and to all the generations of women since ages past who have done this job at this time of year. By the time the wrack-sacks had all performed that pleasing slither and slump as they emptied onto soil, I was ready for my tea. What a satisfying way to spend an afternoon.

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