Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Flock of Seagulls

I live about three miles from the coast. Now, to those who live inland, this means nothing, as they would look at where i live and where the sea is and say, for all intents and purposes, that i am indeed living on the coast.

And yes, i can smell the salt in the air when the wind blows a certain way, and i can definitely feel it in my bones, in a good way, so i am close enough to the sea for my tastes, even if i haven't a water view. To obtain one of those, i'd have had to move the decimal point over a tad for housing, so i got as close as budget allowed, and am happy with that.

The house is situated at the bottom of a hill--some would call it a mountain, but technically it's a hill, and it seems that has a bearing on things, too, especially where weather is concerned. The forecast will say something like, "trace to 2 inches of snow on the coast, and 3 to 6 inland." The snow arrives, and although the map clearly shows me in the "trace to 2" zone, i watch the snow pile up. After a few times, i caught on, and now just look at the inland expected amount. After these storms, when i drive to the coast on the coastal road that is a main thoroughfare, i see that "trace to 2" was accurate.

One other thing i've noticed is that i seldom see seagulls at home. Years ago, i read how if you see a gull inland, a storm is approaching. Since moving here, each time i've seen a gull flying overhead as i stand in my yard, we have a storm within 36 hours, and usually 24, so this rings true in my neighbourhood.

Himself and i went out to eat over the weekend, celebrating Valetine's Day a bit early. We went to a wonderful local place that's known mainly for its seafood and pasta dishes, and which serves gigantic portions. We split the sausage and mixed seafood platter served over little round bits of pasta, all covered in a zesty tomato sauce. The mixed seafood comprised nearly a dozen mussels, easily a half pound of haddock, and a half of a lobster in the shell. Instead of the usual lettuce and tomato salad this place serves, the cook made a ratatouille with cannelini beans, potatoes, summer squash, tomatoes, and zucchini (marrows). There were also huge slabs of artisan bread.

We ate our fill and still took home some of everything for later. By the time i thought about having the leftovers for lunch, i realized the seafood was probably a bit dodgy. Having had food poisoning a few times, i thought it best to find something else for lunch.

I took the leftover seafood in its takeout container to the compost bin, and in a cackhanded moment, dropped the container. It flew open and fell on the ground just outside the fence. I went around to retrieve the container and knew something would come along and eat the food. My money was on the crows who come round from time to time.

Within a quarter hour, i saw first one seagull and in a blink, it sounded like a caucus with more arriving by the second, squabbling over the leavings. One quiet one nonchalantly dragged the lobster shell away (we had helped ourselves at the restaurant by picking pieces out of the shell, and except for the claw, which i tore off, the rest of the shell came home with us). With a few deft picks, he got the biggest morsels before another bird came over to see if any was left.

Both cats were enrapt, and i stood there as mesmerized as they were. The noisy babble continued and abruptly stopped. They all seemed to realize the bits they wanted were now eaten, and it was time to move on. Silence roared after they left, and i made my way outside to see what remained. Three empty mussel shells, and a few spoonfuls of pasta.

I had to check the weather, of course. Increasing clouds with chance of precip on Thursday.

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