Monday, July 23, 2007

Being almost totally shellfish



My dear first sister has been ceremoniously handed over to my brother and sister-in-law, who live in Mayenne. While she is here, she causes me to talk out my substance and to get out more, neither of which are any bad thing, and when she's gone there's plenty of unprocessed stuff on the camera to be sifted and sorted. She always goes away with a pleasant collection of goodies, or 'preciouses', as she refers to them in a Gollum voice: this time they included a rather enviable compact digital camera (her first), a pair of Kickers sandals in green with pretty appliqué leather detail (shoe shop sale in St Brieuc), a piece of striped silk from Emmaus's Big Bastille Day Special Sale (patchwork for the making of), a woven grass shopping basket with leather handles in shades of green and purple from Lamballe market, and a large pack of good quality white card from Noz (probably the best discount shop-cum-rummage sale in the world, on a good day, serendipity rules...). Plus a chunk of our DVD and book collection which she always exchanges with a similar sized chunk from her own.
So I shall try to post a few items on the places we went.



The mussels consumed every year on this coast must be numbered in millions, and most of them are very local. At La Moulerie de la Baie at Jospinet, they are brought in from just a few hundred metres away, from the great serried ranks of bouchots on which they are cultivated.



The posts with their spiralling ropes encrusted with the delicious blue-black bivalves are harvested every low tide by special tractors and amphibious vehicles.



They stand out from the lapping waters like strange, patient beings waiting in line for something, or perhaps in mourning...

... or a little like those mysterious, ancient and inexplicable wood-henges that have been discovered on other shorelines.


As the tide recedes, people, with dogs or horses, or armed with rakes and forks and spades and buckets, quickly chase the retreating waters, to forage, or just to play. It seems irresistible.


We forage with cameras only, on the rocks and in the rockpools,


where the oysters, which I have no desire to bash off the rocks with a big hammer, have taken up residence in abundance.

Shells on shells, worlds within worlds...




... preciouses galore.

14 comments:

marja-leena said...

Fantastic photos, as always, 'preciouses' indeed! Sounds like a great visit with your sister!

Catalyst said...

I was having a dream this morning about re-doing an old coffee table photography book with some of its pictures left in and new ones that I had taken added to the new volume. Curious. Perhaps I was readying myself for your wonderful pictures today, Lucy.

Lee said...

Yes, preciouses indeed. A lovely story, fascinating photos.

zhoen said...

I have the largest collection of seashells. Perhaps you've seen it, it's scattered across all the beaches of the world.

-Stephen Wright.

leslee said...

Oh, it all looks so salty! I miss the beach. Beautiful pics. I love the posts - great patterns. Sounds like you had a lot of fun.

zephyr said...

How fascinating! i had no idea this is how mussels are farmed...

Plutarch said...

The mussel posts look like soldiers. I have seen them grown on ropes suspended over the sides of moored rafts. Oysters, too. On the Atlantic coast of Spain.

Tall Girl said...

First pic looks like a painting - almost like oils. Mussel posts eery!

herhimnbryn said...

Inhaling salt sea air.

herhimnbryn said...

Inhaling salt sea air.

Lucy said...

Thanks all,
ML - Yes, it's always fun.
Catalyst - it would be good to be able to make our own coffee table books with photos we could choose from blogs...sounds an encouraging dream.
Lee - thanks
Z - lovely quote!
Leslee - I go to the beach more if someone else is here to encourage me
Z - I don't think I knew before!
Plutarch - these posts have ropes coiled round them which the mussels cling to, which gives them their peculiar shapes. The oysters I think are mainly farmed further up the coast round St Malo, Cancale, though there really are an extraordinary number on the rocks here, so perhaps they do farm them on posts here too.
TG - Yes, eery sentinels!
H - gulp!

Jan said...

Stunning, Lucy.
You deserve accolades.

Peter said...

Those first two pictures of the posts are haunting. They are waiting in line, as you say. Wonderful.

apprentice said...

The landscape one wuld be fab in B&W