Monday, 16 June 2014

Summer Bucket List #1: Gone Crabbin'

If you haven't heard of the Summer Bucket List and you would like to know more then please see here.
First up was a pick of mine; recreating a childhood memory of crabbing from Ilfracombe Pier. I did it with friends in our teens whilst we were knocking about around the harbour. We had a cheapy crab line and poor sacrificial worms, I was too squeamish and made the boys affix the bait. We caught a few and popped them back in again, but I mostly loved it when the water was clear and we were stretched out on our tummies on the scratchy-with-barnacles-concrete hanging over the edge watching them scurry about at the base of the pier pillars. We lived in Chambercombe to the east of the harbour and sometimes we would dawdle back around the harbour scrabbling our pennies between us to afford a sparkle lolly each to lick on our way home, we weren't above sharing if the pennies weren't enough either. Sometimes though we swam back across to Larkstone cove across the harbour and squelched back up the hill home. We wore our swimming costumes under shorts and vests and our trainers at all times so we could just jump in, swim across and then scramble across the rocks. Of course this was prohibited and not recommended and I would be 100% more wary of doing it now and definitely wouldn't let my boys do it! Although I would love for them to be able to do it, it was so exciting. There weren't any water ski's then of course so actually the danger has increased incredibly.

***I wish I had a snapshot of my minds eye for this***

Enough of the reminiscing, I could go on for hours.

So I wanted to recreate those feelings as best I can for Alex this year by pottering about the harbour as much as we can and seeing if we can catch a crab.
IMG_8923The first time we bought a cheap crab line and the most vile vacuum pack of squid bits. I cannot even describe that to you, you will just have to imagine. Some things do not change and I am still too squeamish to bait a line and there were no impressionable teenage boys around that I could flutter my eyelashes at and, well, manipulate a bit knowing that they were crushing on me a little bit ;-) However there was a very eager 9 year old that knew that if he didn't do it, it wouldn't be happening'.
So baited up, we cast the line, and we cast the line and we pulled it back up and we pulled it back up  again and again and nothing, nada, not even a bite. We had a fab time enlivened by the arrival of a larger than life brummie couple, lovely-most welcome grockles (colloquial name for tourists round our parts), they were so friendly and happy and had such a lust for life, the man eventually got into the natural pool left at lower tides and used his net to hook them out. Ali fell hook, line and sinker for him (did you really think I wouldn't use that gag?).
The second time we bought a crab net and the remainder of the vile vacuum pack...time for you to use whatever you had imagined about that and increase it by 4 (the amount of days it had been in the bucket since the last outing). Got it? Ok, moving on...
Excuse my finger in that shot. Oh and Ali has got more outfits, it is a different day, it's just that I didn't plan very well and he had the same fave outfit on!

There were a few more local children down there with their families and Ali had a wonderful time with them.

Remember when I said last week in my blog post about how I loved being in the moment and then moving out of it and recording it, this was one of those times, I retreated back to the steps and sat and watched them all and recorded some thoughts in my journal.
Then I went back to help him and we cast out and pulled in and did it some more and finally caught a jellyfish! Oh well, we were encouraged by a catch and came home via an ice cream (which cost considerably more than a sparkle lolly) with sticky mint choc chip faces and sticky unmentionably scented hands, a sense of accomplishment and firm plans to get back down there as soon as possible to try again.

The third time we hauled the crabbing gear out of the back of the garden, the vile vacuum pack could no longer be anywhere near the house, get your imagined idea of that back out and increase it by about a million .
*Pack of baby wipes now in my bag*
It was evening, the heat had eased into warmth, it was peaceful, the grockles would have been having their evening meal, the locals were mooching around with their dogs and ice creams. We had checked the tide times for the perfect crabbing moment and cast that net out again. We leaned against the metal poles of the pier rails gazing down at the most amazing deep turquoise clear water just enjoying.
As we watched the crab net, something moved over the bright white of the bottom of the net (the bit where the squid bits were trapped as bait), we whipped into action (Ali hauling on the line and me getting the camera out lol) and up it came, so exciting to see that net rising and it looking as though something was in there,

and haul,
and, YES,
IMG_4851two little crabs were having their tea :) We bothered them long enough to touch their claws, very gently and quickly and after one last look we submerged them again to let them finish their nibble and go about their business. Ali made me (and some locals that had stopped to watch) giggle, wondering aloud whether their business involved getting back down there to check Spongebob was serving at The Krusty Krab. (If that goes over your head, be thankful).
Gone Crabbin' from Jennie Hart on Vimeo.

So Summer Bucket List #1 - check. What I love about this is how it evolves from a checklist. Now, he wants a fishing rod as on trip 2 some of the other children had fishing rods and one of the lads caught a conger eel.

I have scrapped the photos now into a 12x12 layout and accompanying pocket page and I really want to say a few thank yous. Susi, thank you so much for selling me the Canon Selphy, those photos have printed so beautifully and so simply and so quickly after it happened. Also to Elaine whose blog I have found and really love visiting, she designed the weekly challenge which I used for the 12x12 layout and also as always to Sue who is always a great source of inspiration and on this occasion encouraged me to keep blogging with her support and also tagging me last week here.


IMG_9139I used an old kit from Webster's, Yacht Club and some newer stuff, a vellum from Maggie Holmes.

I have a great feeling about this summer.


  1. What a lovely, lovely post! I can smell that sea coming straight off your glorious photos. I very much enjoyed your story, and I'm happy that it took me back to the days when my Mum was still on her feet and she used to take us rock pooling. Thanks for this.

  2. Oh Jen, I laughed out loud at the story of the bait - I could almost smell it here!

    Super post and really fab pictures, enhanced by a little tiny machine called Selphy, ha ha! Glad you're enjoying using it:) I forgot to mention, your page is pretty awesome too!

  3. Great post, glad you caught one in the end & had such a great time together. I love that someone else knows what grockles are, having moved away no one knows what they are round here. I love your photos.

  4. fabulous.. the memories , the pictures, the video, the layout.. a Queen amongst us crafters x

  5. Great post...bought back lots of happy childhood memories for me as Ilfracombe is somewhere we went to a lot.

  6. Lovely memories from your childhood - and that you are creating for Ali too! Lovely photos and super pages.

  7. What a great post! Thanks for sharing.

  8. Great post and layouts are lovely, really capturing the memories.

  9. What a fun adventure and great pages too. Here's to a great summer continuing for you and yours.


Aren't you lovely, you have made me smile =)