Thursday, 25 July 2013

Catching Crabs in Foreign Parts

bicycle passengers eastney to hayling islandThursday. Not much you can do about that so we used it for the planned 12-mile bike ride. Essentially a reprise of the journey we did a couple of years ago, it is a big circuit using roads, pavements, footpaths, bridges, a train and a ferry, and it goes into foreign parts (Hayling Island).
hayling park recreation facilities hayling island hampshireWe met Fast Matthew, Football Harry and a Year 1 from my old school and reached the ferry just in time.
The ferry fought against the incoming tide and banged against the jetty and many children fell over, but we all laughed. Along Ferry Road we found the old anti-aircraft battery and investigated the old gun turrets.
desolate western coastline of hayling islandJust before we joined the old wartime railway line (now Hayling Billy footpath and bridleway) we nipped into Hayling Park which has a smallish swingpark. It's not very good but once I'd been persuaded to go on the 4-seater suspended roundabout thing, it turned out to be great and I was joined by 3 girls who all wanted to go faster.
live crab caught off hayling islandImmediately north of the old railway station which is now an amateur dramatics club, there is a BMX trail/jumping area. A 5 year-old was jumping like a pro but I didn't fancy the big hill. I trundled around a few times and fell over on one of the smaller jumps and trapped my leg which bled a bit and made me angry.
ship inn langstone umbrellas in pub gardenI rode on in simmering silence for a bit until I dived off down a side path and met 2 kids we had seen on the ferry. We climbed an old oak tree that gets a semidiurnal dunking from the tide and we found a dead crab and put it in a plastic container for a burial at sea.
fishing for crabsJust by the old salt pans we found a tidal channel that was rapidly filling an area of salt marsh. It wasn't very deep and we could see hundreds of little crabs all bouncing along in the flow. We caught 3 of them just by grabbing them and looked at them, before returning them to their tidal race. If you set up a big floppy net at low tide, you could catch thousands, but they would all be between half an inch and 4 inches across, so not much good really.
We dined at the Ship Inn, Langstone, as before. Macaroni cheese, decent ice cream. Many kids were crabbing and they had full buckets. I borrowed one kids' reel and bacon lure and cast out repeatedly until I forgot to hold onto the reel and I threw the whole thing into the sea. We ran away.
Just a short ride later, we got to Havant station and the train took us back to Fratton from where I cycled home. I was Olga Sorbutt due to 12 miles in the saddle today, (running shoes for him), 4 and a bit hours the lot. Plenty of sunshine. Later we visited Pops at home to find she was out again. I now believe she is a completely made-up person for welfare benefits purposes only. Millie is 15 today so no use to me, Baby Edward is now 3 or so but still wearing girl's underpants. So I scooted round the park and local streets with him pounding after me in work boots because I haven't had enough exercise today.

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