Sunday, December 27, 2009


On Christmas day, I drove out to Aramoana - 'gateway to the sea' - and was surprised to find a green beach, waves foaming like hot spinach soup. 
Each time I go walking out there, I know I'm in for a different experience; this time, the sea had delivered up a surreal and extravagant carpet of frilly green seaweed. A solitary oyster catcher was having a feast, his red-pencil beak dipping in and out of the spongy squelch, his small black head thrown back every now and then to gulp and swallow. (What bird can equal an oyster catcher in earnestness and attitude?) 
I walked the length of the beach several times, soaking up the smelly pleasures of salt and kelp and slowly rising heat, my bare feet coming to grips with a whole new vocabulary of sound and texture.  


  1. So immediate! Green, fresh.

    I can't wait to get my feet in the ocean.

  2. Goosegog memories, now this green vision of a sea I once knew so well. Your art eye view of the world is truly breathtaking. Thank you for taking me to places beyond the mundane.

  3. Hi Mim - not long now till your trip to the coast. Enjoy. And a very Happy New Year to you when the time comes...

    lmrb - I appreciate your generous feedback, thank you. And I must admit, I'm intrigued. You have memories of goosegogs and Aramoana? You have been here, then? Cape Town, too? I have tried to work out who you are... I wonder if you will let me know, or keep me guessing?

    Either way, my thanks for popping by -

  4. LOvely posting and great to view the other side of the world from wintery UK!
    Happy New Year.

  5. We were out at Aramoana too and I marveled at the carpet of green. We also laughed at the number of people who thought it was just a thin layer and sank in up to their knees!

  6. HI Jan - I've just been over to your blog... how different the worlds we inhabit. One thing that's great about blogging is we have the opportunity to be in many places at one time. It wasn't all that long ago when those in the North would have little, if any, knowledge of what was going on in the South, and vice versa. And now, in the blink of an eye, we can know if it's snowing, raining, shining, blowing... and can partake in some small measure of our globe's miscellany... Happy New Year to you. Keep warm!

  7. Hi Vanda - wasn't it delicious! It brought out the child in me. If the water was warmer, I'd have gone right on in. And under... Ophelia, eat your heart out! Happy New Year, oh red-booted one. L, C

  8. Not from SA, though there is an A in the Bay I come from. To get there you fly past the windy AB corner, rise up and pass on over Musselburgh Pie, hang a right and point your feet at the ocean (or cemetery, depending on your mood), and come to a dead halt in the Kingdom of Gresham.

    Intrigued less? I'm very ordinary, though memories of a home I left so long ago erupt when I see feet standing in all that greeness. Maybe the kelp my Dad used to collect (when such things were allowed) added to the sweetness of the goosegogs we used to devour.

  9. lmbr - I am no less intrigued, though I do know the place where 'one can point one's feet at the ocean.'

    Kelp and goosegogs - what a terrific pairing! The first, dense, mythological green; the second, all juice and translucence.

    I grew up with the Cape variety - small orange suns encased in pale paper jackets. They crackled when picked, weighed next-to-nothing. They were all juice - it seemed to me there was no fruit more concentrated or compact. Their glossy skins burst with a 'pop' when you bit into them. They were best eaten straight off the plant but made the most heavenly jam or compote.

    I'm still getting used to the tartness of our green gooseberries - confess I love them more for their look than their taste!

  10. SA might be closer than you think. I think the SA variety you speak of lived in my Dad's garden. He inherited a superb plant (thin skins, sweet as sweet) from his parents that was no longer available commercially. Thought this might interest you, or any gardeners who are into resurrecting old plant varieties. Doubt the variety lives on in Gresham St, sadly, though you never know.

  11. Hi lmrb
    Some years ago I found a Cape Goosegog plant at Blueskin Bay nurseries and brought it home hoping it might take over a small section of my garden. Alas, the frost killed it. My studio land has an old glasshouse on it that's just waiting for me to resurrect it. (It's lost a few panes of glass, is thick with convolvulus and would ideally have a simple sprinkler system set up inside it. Once upon a time, I imagined trailing wisteria and native clematis up and over the glasshouse and turning it into a reading room. Now I'm 'home to stay' I think it's time to start growing food in there - capsicums, old varieties of tomatoes (a friend introduced me to a purple one the other day - a touch of the ecclesiastical!), sweet chillies, aubergines and goosegogs would be a good start. I'll let you know (here, on the blog) when I find another CG plant and get things going!

    Take care over there in Gresham Street.