Sea urchin

At the beach last Sunday I abandonned the rest of my family and went for a walk along the sand.  Once out of sight, I briefly entertained notions of taking off, Ladder of Years style, re-inventing myself and living a new life for a while but, when it came down to it, I couldn’t be bothered and so settled for a spot of beachcombing instead.  I love beachcombing.  Not like this, just the picking-up-shells-and-bits-of-driftwood sort and something I’ve always wanted to find is a sea urchin.  There are two reasons for this; firstly, I like sea urchins – I love anything textural that invites you to pick it up – secondly, and more importantly, sea urchins represent a deep-seated frustration from my childhood about the way that Real Life never quite measured up to Life In Books.  When I was a child most of my knowledge of the world around me came from Ladybird books but, irritatingly, my favourite things in any of these books were always the ones I couldn’t find.  What to Look for in Summer promised oak trees bearing green, shiny acorns (which would, in due course, turn into the brown shiny torpedoes promised in What to Look for in Autumn!)  All the oak trees growing near our house, however, struggled to produce anything more than the most embryonic acorns and certainly nothing remotely torpedo shaped.  It wasn’t only the natural world which let me down.  Our house was hugely deficient in the wooden cotton reels, date boxes, corks and fountain pen innards demanded by the exciting projects in the Ladybird book of Toys and Games to Make !  Now I realise that lived in the south-east of Scotland, not the south-east of England, which was probably more representative of the countryside portrayed in What to Look for in Summer, and that, even in the late sixties, wooden cotton reels had been all but replaced by plastic, wine made an appearance only on special occasions and my father would have parted with his own innards rather than let me anywhere near his fountain pens, but I can still remember the feeling of being let down by the world around me.

Now, I’ve managed to overcome most of these childhood disappointments.  Most, but not all.  Until last Sunday I still hadn’t ever found a sea urchin on the beach.  I was wandering along, thinking about this, when, suddenly, there it was – an actual sea urchin!

And that’s it really.  Never found a sea urchin, frustrated by the inadequacies of the world around me as a child, now have a sea urchin and very happy about it.

Bit of a pointless post, really, although it has to said I sometimes still don’t think the world around me quite measures up to the World In Books.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Sea urchin

  1. pleite says:

    No post is pointless. Hurrah for you posting and for you finding a sea urchin. Are they the things that prick and cling galore? I think I stood on one in Italy. No fun.

    Read grim books, then life will seem much better. I have just finished Imre Kertesz’s Fatelessness, having taken an age to get round to reading it. He draws the oddest(-seeming-to-anyone-who-hadn’t-been-through-it) conclusions from surviving concentration camps and speaks much of the resourcefulness for survival. As ever, I suppose we can only really appreciate life/everything when it’s under threat.

  2. Mangonel says:

    What colour was the sea urchin? I love them. And yes, what on earth books are you reading?

  3. If you can’t celebrate finding a sea urchin with your blogbuddies, who can you celebrate with?

    anyway – that is the coolest 🙂

  4. marshaklein says:

    BiB: The sea urchin (shell) looks like this but, when they’re still alive, they are covered in spines and, yes, would be painful to stand on. Is the book you mention in English (I don’t know the author) or are you reading it in foreign, you clever old thing?

    Mangonel: A dark red, a bit like the one in the link above. Actually, I’ve decided: it’s not that life doesn’t measure up to life in books, more that I don’t measure up to characters in books. After all, I have a sea urchin now, so my life is that little bit more complete!

    Valerie: Exactly! My family clearly thought I’d gone mad.

  5. pleite says:

    Yes, that’s very pretty. I don’t mind now having been pricked by something so good-looking.

    I didn’t know him either until he was awarded the Nobel Prize in 2002 (I think). He’s Hungarian, and writes in Hungarian, though some rumour has it he lives in Berlin. I read it in English. Mostly too lazy to read in foreign these days. I’ve got something by Houellebecq – oh god. Read him. You will feel SO happy and normal and better-than-people-in-books afterwards – but I bought it in the original and worry it will remain unfingered for a very long time indeed.

  6. Urban Chick says:

    how weird

    not urchin-related but i’ve been thinking a lot lately about ‘ladder of years’ and saying to dh that reading that book pre-kids i just thought ‘what?? what an odd thing to do – leave your home/kids etc.’ but now, with all the clutter and complications of family life, i can see how/why it might happen

  7. Urban Chick says:

    (in the unlikely event that dh has cruised over here and read my comment: i’m not contemplating such a thing myself :))

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s