Picture by Celia Spoucer
I never go swimming here because it is too cold. It is like a betrayal of everything i have known of the sea by the sea. The sea here is freezing, it is hostile, it is unpleasant, it is like the wicked stepmother or father. A friend turned against me. The only contact i have with it is when i walk along the shores and then i see the seaweed. So many kinds of seaweed. I want to know them. Know everything about them. But i do not know where to start. So this weekend i am starting.
Someone said to me, when they heard of the course - so it will be dulce for you then. No, i said, there is all kinds of edible seaweed. Carageen Moss, and bladderwrack and kelp... and other stuff as well. We have so much seaweed and seaweed is also healing and fertile. We need to know how the plant world helps us and this is a plant world i know nothing about and it is it on my doorstep. So i should get to know it better.
Of course i have eaten seaweed all my life, so this is not new for me. My favourite seaweed was agar agar which was gathered from the shores of Singapore and turned into a jelly for Chinese New Year. It was a revelation to me that Western jellies used bones. Why would you do that? I wondered when you could use seaweed. This was when i was a child. I think i was 10 when i found out that my Muslim and Hindu friends would not eat Western jellies because of origin unknown. A lot of our soups have seaweed in them. I think they have dulce. Japanese food has lots of seaweed, pickled and dried and flavoured. The best seaweed dish i have had here was made from carageen moss pudding in Kilcar. In fact it was the best dessert i had ever had here. It felt as if i was biting into a cloud of the sea and the mist. Really, if mermaids could cook they would make this dessert for their supper.
Right the sun has come out and there is no rain and no wind. Time to sort the garden out for a couple of hours before i head for Strangford.