I am on holiday in Looe, Cornwall. Have you been there? If you're a seagull reading this, the answer is yes. In fact, you are probably reading it in Looe itself. Every seagull in the world is here, either as a permanent resident or on its own holiday. Very near our holiday home is the fish market. Every day the boats bring in mackerel or gurnard or haddock. The seagulls wait for their moment, flicking through their copies of 'Fish Burglary Tips for Birdlife' and then, in packs, like SAS troops, they pounce, hoping to grab as much as possible from the plastic ice boxes layered with the morning catch. The fishermen wave them away with their copies of 'How to Keep Seagulls from Stealing all your Stock' but back they come. It's like a war of attrition.
When our son was five, we were in Tenby in Wales and he was eating chips out of a paper cone while we stood on the beach. A seagull swooped down, its beak pointing due south towards the paper cone, and then STAB, STAB, STAB. Three chips, skewered on the end of his beak, and our son's mouth open in horror as this monster bird from a Daphne du Maurier story ravaged and pillaged his supper with not a hint of an apology.
The same happened to my sister earlier this year only this time with a long sausage roll. The seagull had obviously seen one of those rom-coms in which lovers eat spaghetti by taking an end each and slurping it in gently until their lips met in the middle, and wanted to try the same trick with my sister and her sausage roll.
|This seagull's mother said, 'If you keep your mouth open like that all the time and the wind changes,|
don't blame me for what happens .....'
Talking of pastry.
On Cornish pasties ....
We decided to try the local pasties for lunch. I knew the pasty would be sizeable. I've seen them in the bakery shop windows, nudging aside Chelsea buns and doughnuts as if to say, 'Move over, small fry.' But I wasn't expecting to have to clamber inside the bag to fetch the pasty out, as you do a duvet from inside its cover, hauling it out by its corners. I wasn't expecting to climb my cheese and onion pasty, straddle it and control it before I could eat it. You do that with horses, don't you, not pastry goods?
It took some taming but finally I managed to negotiate my way from one end of it to the other. Afterwards, I felt triumphant, as I would had I lassoed a herd of wild bulls or silenced a cage-ful of roaring lions. I also felt as though I wouldn't need to eat until three days later and, even then, perhaps a thin chicken broth or a tomato salad. I got up from my chair to say, 'Shall I put the kettle on' but the chair came with me because my hips had widened by fourteen centimetres and I was wedged into it. The Chair and I went to put the kettle on regardless. After enough pastry to line the basin of the Atlantic, one needs a hot cup of tea, if only to calm one down after the tussle.
|The ship in the distance delivered this pasty to Cornwall. It has gone back to fetch the next one.|