We are about 3 days into our summer holiday with some of our young. The children have taken to swimming in our relatively cold waters, have mastered the art of snorkeling and have added clamming to their repertoire.
Yesterday we went to the shore at Le Dranguet to see if the clam bed I harvested last year is still secure. It is. There were more diggers around this time, it being August and the month of national holiday. We meandered down the shore, picking our way between rock outcrop, trailing through shallow channels to reach patches of shell gravels with plenty of dead shells lying on the surface. Copious dead shells are a good sign that living clams are sleeping in their beds! Luckily with my first exploratory dig with the garden fork I turned up a razor clam and a couple of other bivalve species.
From that moment we were all on a mission. The children very quickly learned to rake and spot the clams as the sediments were turned over. Sam and Joel had a fine tally of clams to add to the big orange bucket. Amelie too picked up several clams from spoil heaps, and Charlie decided that his favourite option was to wield the large garden fork, whilst I raked over his pool. All in all it was a highly successful expedition and the adults were ready to return to the house before the children.
The clams were washed and sorted into species. Then they were steamed open in white wine and garden herbs. Joel was an enthusiastic clam shucker. Pasta was cooked, to which was added diced vegetables and a home concoction tomato sauce. The clams were stirred in at the last minute and all the children were served from the pot. Sam and Joel ate their serving manfully – they requested seconds without clams but how brilliant that they tasted their catch.
The Cholsey quartet are now 4, 5, 7 and 9 and a half years old. They are enterprising, play well together and although noise levels sometimes slide off the permitted decibel scale we can live with that. It’s good to be on holiday 🙂