Sunday 5 September 2010

September is a trusted friend

Call it an Indian Summer, call it serendipity, call it just bloody marvelous: it's September and summer has properly arrived on Gastrobeach.

I celebrated with a swim in the bay. The slack tide was on its way out, so not ideal, but after a long day in front of a computer in a warm office, the time felt right. It took me a while to wade out to any decent swimming depth. Having to push through a field of bladderwrack is not fun, but there was a sandy-bottomed area on the other side. The water was cold, but not East-coast cold, and I soon acclimatised. I swam for ten minutes or so as the sun disappeared behind the hills at the back of the house. The sea was flat calm and silent.

Another important thing about September, for me at least, is that it should mean that the sea is cooling again with the result that Gastrobeach will be ripe for bivalve foraging. I've met a few people while on the shore who worry about the sewage outflows. But I don't think there can be many raw outflows left, and it's a sizable bay. I've never been made ill by anything I've collected. I know that's not scientific, and there could always be a first time, so I'll try to take sensible precautions.

My wife dug her potatoes yesterday. I say 'her' potatoes as I don't usually eat spuds, although I will probably make an exception for these. She got a good-sized crop from the fifteen or so plants she grew but, unfortunately, many of them were wormy. I can't remember what variety they are but they are quite pink and quite large and probably taste quite potatoey.

My American friend says the Scots are obsessed with potatoes and their varieties. He contends that in the U.S. they just call them potatoes and don't give a thought to what breed they might be. Philistines.... or is that a potato variety too?

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