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Sunday, 22 July 2007

Claws

You simply would not believe the difficulties I experience when trying to groom my darling Freya’s hair! Lydia (my PA) was relatively successful yesterday morning and actually managed to construct two relatively symmetrical bunches. Naturally, she has not allowed us to come near her with the hair brush since and by this morning one of the bobbles had fallen out. Clearly the remaining hair accessory needed to be removed. There was a scuffle, screaming, nail involvement and even some spiting – I so hate to admit. I wonder if social services would become involved if they knew…

This afternoon I took my perfect Max to visit The National Lobster Hatchery in Padstow. The munchkin is a typical five year old boy and fascinated by anything with claws. The poppet was completely enthralled by the enormous crustaceans; to his complete disgust all had their claws tethered. Max wanted to see the lobsters lop off the odd tourist’s finger (although not his own – clearly).

I remember as a child my mother told us a funny story about a lobster – Max was completely tickled by it when I passed it on to him. Brenda was raised in Ireland, and she lived in a two up two down terraced house in Dublin with her parents, an unmarried aunt and thirteen brothers and sisters. A neighbour of theirs once gave them a lobster – I am afraid I cannot remember what had occasioned the highly unusual gift. The only instruction given to my grandma regarding its preparation was that it was to be plunged into a great pot of boiling water and left to simmer.

Apparently my grandma was horrified to observe that the lobster was in fact alive and had its claws tethered. “It must be a cheap lobster, as it hasn’t even been killed and gutted,” she concluded. My aunty Louise felt sorry for the beastie and decided to untie it while grandma decided what to do. By all accounts the crustacean was as big as the family cat.

Untied, the lobster ran amok in the kitchen causing havoc and behaving in a most threatening and ungrateful manner. It was impossible to gain access to the kitchen to so much as boil the kettle for a cup of tea, until my grandfather returned from work. He took a spade into the room and along with the lobster, destroyed Grandma’s favourite willow pattern serving plate.

Apparently my grandma didn’t speak to her unfortunate neighbours again, and the lobster was buried in an ornately decorated plot in the garden. This is true, I saw the grave.

On reflection, I am inspired by aunty Louise’s courageous removal of the restraints from the lobster’s claws, apparently ignoring the potential danger to herself. I must ask her how she did it…

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

You and your family are refreshingly mad.

The Good Woman said...

Good gracious - sounds like something out of an animated movie - or an active Irish imagination. But I do love the idea of burying a lobster in the garden...

The Good Woman said...

Actually it also reminds me of a photo I showed to a German friend of lobster drying on a tree after friends had been diving in South Africa. 'My!' he exclaimed. 'I didn't know they grew on trees!'.

Motheratlarge said...

This is very funny! I particularly enjoyed your line about the lobster behaving in an "ungrateful manner" on its release.

I Beatrice said...

That was one ungrateful lobster!

I mean, how many of its fellows can have had the good fortune to land-up in an Irish cooking pot only to be rescued at the 11th hour? A pity it couldn't have lived to scramble about in the garden for a day or two though....Then, its story would have resembled that one about the pigs that fled the abattoir, and were taken up by the Daily Mail as proteges.... I always loved that story.

I like Brenda too! I have a feeling it's just the sort of thing I'd do myself with a lobster, were I ever so unfortunate as to receive one as a gift....

rilly super said...

I always knew you were really Frank McCourt Dulwichmum!

Omega Mum said...

I'm rather taken with the idea of a lobster as a family pet. Don't you think that one on a cute little leather lead might set a new trend in Dulwich. And lead to a new craze - 'Swimming with lobsters' - it has to beat dolphins for macho points!

Snuffleupagus said...

I read that and all I can think is you provide such a great family environment for your children. I wish you could give parenting classes to some of the parents of the kids at my school!

debio said...

Great story, dulwich mum.