And so it begins. The annual jamboree with my clique of CS friends has come round all too quickly. Which means in the blink of an eye, not that it is a chore. At least I hope it will not be. This September we might have to cope with an elephant in our midst. Wait and see.
Saturday we converge on a very pleasant converted barn near Bantham. Seven of us will share this abode for a week. There is an adjacent building that goes with the property, a games room which will serve very nicely as a lab. Nick and I arrive first to open up and bag a room. We leave the lovely master suite for one couple on that basis that one of them is convalescent. There are three other rooms with beds to sleep six people. Although all rooms on a sharing basis are equal, clearly some rooms are more equal than others. Nick and I have a couple of hours before anyone else arrives which allows me to make a start on the turrid material I have brought to curate. These are from Stella Turk’s collection and will be useful, even though many of them have no locality data, because turrid specimens are few and far between.
Gradually the others arrive. Hail fellow and well met. We all move into our rooms and I serve the assembled a fish pie for supper followed by a plum tart.
On Sunday we are going to North Sands Bay, Salcombe which is the shore below the Winking Prawn café. Once parked I need a comfort break so Nick and I repair to said Whistling Whelk so I can use the facilities and take in a flat white. It is then time to hit the shore and I follow the cliffs on the left hand side of the bay and make for the lowest point on the shore. There are a few shady recesses with weak crevice development which might be hopeful for the usual suspects but although there are plenty of winkles about it is not a propitious habitat. By the time I reach the waters edge, if I look around towards the outcrop on top of which is perched the old Fort Charles, there is enough shore to start turning stones and rolling boulders. Time flies when you are engrossed in staring at the undersides of rocks on a shore. Together with the rest of the group which includes Simon the Marine Recorder we plodge around in the shallows and together manage to compile a respectable list of mollusc species.
Reaching the law of diminishing returns Nick and I eat our sandwich on the beach then repair to our car in the carpark of the Wisecracking Wentletrap. After I process the small amount of rockscrubbings and weedwashings and sit down to compile the joint list on paper we have recorded 64 species of mollusc and one Devonshire cup coral……….. and still counting. Whilst restricting myself to the amount of weed etc that I take back to the lab., I do collect some cushion stars (Asterina gibbosa) to see if by any chance they will be harbouring one of the tiny mollusc species. When I get back to the house I put these little treasures into a shallow dish of seawater to see what if anything might crawl out. After my picnic lunch on the beach Nick and I drive back to the house so that I can start to process my samples.
Peter the Pieman is in charge of supper. That’s great, I can just get on with my stuff and after we have eaten I can barely stay awake and after a fruitless attempt to interact with the internet (it is suffering from too many residents and not enough go-go juice) I go to bed where I promptly fall asleep in front of the printed word with my glasses on my nose.