Supermoon Days

We’re back in St Vaast with a purpose.  The builder is back from his holiday and we are on a mission to get a start date for the works to the interior of the house.  The exterior treatment has been carried out and much to my surprise and pleasure I find that it will be alright for us to reinstate the Trachelospermum wires along the front wall, below the windows.  I had quite thought that the suggestion of a climbing plant on the facade would be ‘of the wall’.  We are further pleased when we learn that the company covering the interior works to the house has signed the estimate off and a start date is in view.

In addition to the usual, there are jobs to be done; a Cornish archaeological oyster shell assemblage needs to be analysed and reported on, and numerous tubes and pots of shell material need varying levels of curation.  I complete the practical work and report relating to Restormel Castle in three days, and make good inroads into the tray of specimens for my reference collection.

It is the occasion of Supermoon.  It’s the biggest moon for 18 years; a point at which the moon reaches its perigee, when it is closest in its orbit to the Earth.  Some amazing pictures are posted on the Mail Online website which are rather superior to our attempts looking along Rue Marechal Foch on Saturday evening, as we set off for a soiree with Alain at the farm in Le Vast, he having just driven down from Paris.  Although he has plenty enough for us to drink, Alain finds his cupboard is rather bare.  He amuses Anne and me when he phones Martine to tell her this, and voices the view that it is time she came to the farm so she can do some shopping!!

With memories of our success at ormering during February, and the promise of tides that will ebb into an area normally considered to be sublittoral, we decide to try a different shore on the north coast where, Francois has told us, there are ormers to be fished.  Francois joins us on Sunday and we conduct a fruitless search on the expansive shore at Cap de Levi.  Nick finds an old very dead ormer shell and we know in our hearts that we are in ormer territory.  This is confirmed when we confer with others leaving the shore, once the tide has turned.  We acquire evidence that at least twenty ormers were collected by three different fishers.  Francois quizes one Frenchman and I join in.  I learn one crucial fact; all the ormers found were either in crevices on the lower shore, or under rocks which are sitting on other rocks.  Ormers do not like to be in immediate contact with a sandy or gravelly substrates.

There is one more day over these Springs when there is an exceptional low tide.  On Monday Nick returns to the Sunday shore with additional bits of equipment, but he draws a blank.  Maybe shores need time to recruit new individuals of molluscs that are conspicuous, found easily by those who know how to look, and live at rather low density.  I spend Monday afternoon on a reconnaisance trip, driving along the north coast as far as Cherbourg.  I spot several shores which will bear further scrutiny when we venture forth.

On Sunday night I sleep very poorly.  Waking after only a couple of hours’ sleep I fail to regain slumberland, so get up at 2.30 and sit at my laptop in the kitchen until 5.  I get another couple of hours’ sleep before dawn.  A few days later I learn from Daniel that insomnia and a full moon may go hand in hand.  I also learn that Maddy’s night, in Maiden Newton across the Channel, mirrored mine.  Neither of us is prone to insomnia.  Emsie and Lis have also reported poor sleeping over the weekend.

Supermoon days draw to a close but the fine spring weather remains.  With the practical work that kept me indoors at the beginning of our stay done and dusted, my thoughts turn to the garden……

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