Published in October 2016 issue of Prospect Magazine
“This is the perfect summer holiday,” said Adrien, my boyfriend, as he sat on a Shetland pebble beach wearing a 4mm wetsuit. Grey overcast skies, grey seals bobbing up their Labrador heads in the bay, sausages sizzling in the pan on the driftwood fire. He was not being sarcastic. “No heat, no sun, no mosquitos, no other people.”
We took the boat out and hauled up creels teeming with velvet crabs and swimming crabs and psychotic crabs with red demon eyes. Plenty of big brown crab to eat too; we sat out an afternoon gale at the kitchen table, picking them with a silver cuticle pusher. Cold crab with mayonnaise, crab cakes, crab and chilli spaghetti. Arthur, my 7-year-old godson, is a champion fisherman. He netted tiny shrimp along the moorings and hunted baby crabs under rocks, “This morning I found 56!” Out on the boat in a drilling rain he put down a mackerel line and pulled up four tiger-striped beauties for tea. We saw oyster catchers with their elegant orange beaks, razorbills with blunt black beaks angled like a box cutter knife. Flocks of puffins scattered into the air, big orange feet dangling like life vests as they flew up to their nests.