A week or two ago a fisherman said he had only caught a dogfish. He said it in a way that left me in no doubt that he had had quite a few “dogfish days” recently. He bore his disappointment stoically but I could tell that a dogfish was little better than no fish at all. Since then phrase “another dogfish day” has been rolling round my head as away to describe determination to continue in the face of disappointment, but today was a “dogfish day” and I wasn’t disappointed. I found a couple of dogfish washed up on the beach and although there is always a little pang of sadness at the death of any creature it is also fascinating to see creatures up close and even marvel at the way that their remains decay. One of the dogfish I found was starting to dry out. I began to wonder to what purpose its sandpaper skin could be turned to.
It was a totally different day on the beach today with wind-whipped waves and crab carapaces, weed and whelk eggshells. I found a soft shell from a spider crab: I suppose it has shed its old carapace and died before the new one hardened.
It was harder to walk today. I was trying to go too fast for the beach. Each beach has its own pace. I hurried on my way out in my excitement at being on the beach in the wind and sun. I hurried on the way back when I realised that I had gone further than I had intended and needed to make sure I reached the car park at Hive Beach before the incoming tide reached the bottom of the cliff.
At present there is a lot of cuttlefish shells on the beach, some very large – it seems such a waste to just leave them there. Should I get a budgie? How long would it take for one budgerigar to nibble away all the cuttleshells I saw today?`
The sea scours away ugliness. She rounds the corners and softens the shapes. She carves drink cans into sculptures and sands broken glass into jewels. But while the beach gets a wash clean twice a day there is always a tidemark.