Monday, January 08, 2007

Return To Sender....

Sleep decided to abandon me tonight, at least for a while. Not that I mind, really. Fine sprinklings of misty rain fell softly on my roof as if in a gentle lullaby played by the slender fingers of a gossamer-winged midnight fairy. Thunder sullenly moaning in the distant mountains frightened the rain away. Temporarily, I hope.

It's a while since I've written about Newry Island, another island on which I lived. On Newry, I lived alone except for my two cats, Pushkin and Rimsky. They are not the two cats I have with me now. Pushkin, however, did come to the mountain with me, but sadly died about seven months after I moved here. He was a well-travelled cat, my dear Pushkin. He was a character. I loved him dearly. I digress. It is not my cats of which I write.

One day in a mad organisational fit, I decided to clean out the very large freezer in the back room adjoining the kitchen. Mysterious frozen creatures lived in the bottom of the freezer. The longevity of these frigid oddments raised a high level of suspicion within me. I knew they had been suspended in motion in the antarctic reaches of the throbbing, ancient freezing chest long before I had arrived on the island, though I could not testify exactly to the length of their frozen sentence. Frostbite had set in, badly affecting the appearance and, no doubt, the quality of a number of large legs of pork. Amongst the benumbed pork legs were deep orange-coloured shells of cooked mud crabs of various sizes, their petrified pincers firmly and stiffly stamped their presence. It broke my heart to have to throw out so many mud crabs...forget the glacial pigs. It was sacrilegious to toss away such delicious crabs, but it had to be done for the good of mankind and womankind...and a few children-kinds.

On the chosen day, no guests were on the beach to witness my sacrifice to the seas. I decided it would be far easier to toss the frozen, once-upon-a-time delicacies out into the sea. Dust to dust...this was fodder to fish. I could have dug a mass grave and buried the lot but that would have been a tediously long and hard exercise. Casting the swine before pearls and the crabs to crustaceans seemed, to me, the most sensible option.

Picking the time when the tide was high just before the turn, like a martyr I agonized as I tossed the uncured but still frozen hams into the surging sea. Like a crazy, fevered fish-wife, I propelled each glorious crab to its crypt beyond the sea!

Satisfied, I gravitated back to the main building, every now and again looking over my shoulder, bidding final farewells to the castaways as they floated out to sea to whence they came. Well, at some stage, the pork arrived by boat to the island. It had to cross the sea. Let's not get too pedantic!

The following morning around ten, I heard the motor of a boat approaching. I headed down to the beach to meet whomever it was. Behind me followed the family who were staying in one of my cabins. We all approached the edge of the water at the same time, naturally. One of the little boys yelled out excitedly.

"Look! Look! Mum! Look! Dad! Mud crabs! Mud crabs everywhere!"

The annoyingly observant child kept bellowing as he ran about as if possessed!

I wanted to disappear down into the sand, to never again re-surface! I felt like drowning that kid before I did, though!

Bobbing on each wave in front of us were brilliant orange-coloured mud crabs, together with large, water-sodden legs of pork! Newry Island was unique. Not only could one fish for pork legs out in the bay but the mud crabs were already cooked when you caught them, which saved a lot of trouble!

Meanwhile, the boat whose motor had alerted me in the first place of the pending arrival of visitors, was now in the channel with its bow turned towards the island. Quick as a flash I ran up the beach, found a couple of fairly sturdy sticks and proceeded to try to hold the pork legs down, while trying to manage to drown bright orange mud crabs at the same time. I was out-numbered!

With much levity, I made buoyant a weighty, but floating situation!

The pork and crabs had been brought back in with the tide. The second incoming tide, of course, carried them further out to sea where there would have sunk to the nether regions and to where many creatures would dine on them. I should have caught the earlier tide, but then, if I had, Newry Island would never be known as the island where one can catch pre-cooked mud crabs straight out of the ocean!


  1. Hi Lee have just caught up reading your posts, I have beenn a bit behind. Very interesting reading as always,very entertaining, as well as thought provoking. Loved it all especially the "pig races" Long may he reign.
    Cheers Margaret

  2. LOL, great story. I laughed so hard.

  3. Hi Margaret, nice to see you. I totally agree with you over the pig races. Apparently, he is getting quite a following on Fridays. :)

    Hey there Corn Dog...glad you enjoyed it. I was laughing as I was recounting it. I wish I had the 'event' on video! ;)

  4. I thought I was reading an epic from Lord Tennyson with that first paragraph Lee, good story as always.

  5. lol That will be 'Lady Tennyson' to you, Peter, thank you! ;)

    Glad you enjoyed it...I remember that morning as if it was yesterday! ;)

  6. Hi Lee,

    Oh my that was funny! I know it must have been so annoying when it happened, but so thank you so much for posting it and giving me a laugh.


  7. Hi Janice...No, it wasn't annoying when it happened...just bad timing with a boat of strangers descending upon me! lol I could see the funny side of the whole episode and particularly what I must have looked like trying to hold the errant pork legs and run-away crabs down below the water's surface!

    Fun times! ;)

  8. What a wonderful post, Lee. Your use of language is brilliant. I always feel I am right there with you when I read you. As for the ready-cooked crabs, I'm still laughing! Sorry I've been away a while - blogger has been really playing up. Glad to be here again.

  9. Good to see you again, Welsh. I've just visited your blog, so you will see that, I, too am experiencing problems with my blog and have been since Friday last. It's maddening! I think this boat is pretty full to overload with other experiencing similar problems.

    Glad you enjoy my post...thanks for your nice comments.

  10. Hi Lee ~~ Great story again. It was so funny, and the use of te language you use is a joy. Have you ever had anything published?
    Also glad you are enjoying the cooler Qld weather. Today we have 37 predicted and 40 tomorrow, and the fires continue to burn in the forests. Take care, Love, Merle.

  11. Hey there Merle...yes I have a couple of times. I write a weekly 'food' article for the local little 'rag' up here on the's complete with a lot of nonsense! ;) I write it for the pleasure of doing so, to amuse myself and others! Plus they get some recipes as well! ;)

    I've been hearing about the fires down you way again...terrible...will they ever cease? That heat is just too much!

  12. Anonymous7:59 AM

    Lee, this is another good story for that book. How the bodyless porkers chased the mud crabs home, would make a good chapter title. Nice story.

  13. Steve, one thing of which I'm certain, the inhabitants of the waters nearby dined well for a few days! ;)

  14. A very entertaining post, a really good yarn told in the fashion of a true descriptive story - teller. It amazing what happens with the turn of the tide, what comes back to revisit the shoreline. !!

    Best wishes

  15. That and certain currents, Lindsay. Along the beach at Ramsay Bay on the eastern side of Hinchinbrook Island, you would be amazed to see what gets washed up there. I was told that after the 1974 floods and other cyclonic disturbanes, many, many articles including parts of wardrobes, etc., were found along the's a real garbage dump for sea-faring garbage! It's the way the current flow and the lay of that certain bay.

    Thanks for your comment, Lindsay. :)