Priapic solstice perambulations in pursuit of weed

I know what you’re thinking, but we are country mice, so we are after seaweed, not yer metropolitan weed.

Seaweed drying on the washing line

Mrs Ermine had bought a snorkel, and was going to search the deep for seaweed. You can fry it and it makes pretty good crisps, as well as drying it and pulverising it in a food processor. She’s of the opinion that it’s good for you, well, as far as anything fried is ever good for anybody πŸ˜‰

The snorkel was totally superfluous to requirements, because when the sea sounds like this

and looks like this

what you need is a RIB and an outboard motor. However, what the sea also does is uproot the seaweed from the sea floor and dumps it on the beach, which seems a much better win than getting wet to do this. Why keep a dog if you have to bark yourself…

I always look a bit askance at things from the sea, not only do fish f*ck in it, but you get diesel oil, heavy metals and tons of sewage, bunker fuel etc. It’s basically the dustbin of the world. Hopefully the seaweed filters this out, in the same way as your spuds filter out the muck they spray on the fields. It tasted fine. There were fewer people about this time than last time, and they seemed to be having fun.

These things were a git to get off the ground…
but looked like fun once you had done

We went back and had a coffee stop in the viewpoint of the Cerne Abbas Giant in honour of the summer solstice just gone past. He seems to have been newly cleared and was in gleaming priapic splendour

Cerne Abbas Giant

Normally we’d stop off at the little tea shop in the High Street, but as that sort of thing isn’t open yet it was coffee from Thermos flasks in the full view of His Horniness. It’s one of the delights of England that you get mad things like this plastered on the hillside for hundreds of years, outlasting Cerne Abbey.

The seaweed shrinks massively as it dries out

You don’t get left with much – it has been chopped up

and it has a deep and existential affinity to water. To the extent that if you dry it in the day and leave it on the plate overnight it sucks some water straight out of the air!

The trick seems to be to get it inside an airtight jar ASAP, which turns Nikon’s glass into a funky lomography lens

It’s odd stuff – varying in colour

Seems there is a tradition of eating seaweed that I was unaware of. The Danes call it sea vegetable not weed and it is industrially extracted in Scotland. The seaweed crisps are divine, sort of natural and far less bad for you than anything made of spuds, but their inherent nature of wanting to suck the water out of anything is preserved. They give you a stonking thirst, so do not consume anywhere which has a proximity to beer… The salt is probably bad for you whatever the Danes say.

No fighting please, we’re British?

This was written early in the week. There’s no need for hot-headed argy-bargy. Some London lads went to Bournemouth and ended up in a knife fight and a few people left their shit in a box. Just…go for a dump before you leave the house?

One of the advantages of being an island is that Britain has a hell of a lot of coastline, you don’t all have to head out to where everyone else goes…

24 thoughts on “Priapic solstice perambulations in pursuit of weed”

  1. Where I am from it’s called dulse and it makes a moat satisfying accompaniment to a pint of Guinness.

    We’ve been at the beach this week twice but unlike you sassenachs – we have fewer people, more beaches and colder weather – altogether a much better experience.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Interesting – looked dulse up and it seems that the concern about the bunker fuel, sewage and trash is a thing.

      It is not possible to harvest dulse from the English coastline as the water is now too polluted,

      Having said that in this part of the South coast you can see the bottom a few feet deep, unlike the Somerset coast on the Bristol Channel, or indeed the North Sea in Suffolk, and it isn’t too close to urban areas.

      > satisfying accompaniment to a pint of Guinness.

      I could see that, the problem is in the second. And third… Seaweed brings on a rampant thirst!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Very much enjoyed the recording of the waves breaking on the beach, thank you – I am missing the sea. It sounds good – is that with a hand held recorder rather than a smartphone? I got an Olympus recorder before lockdown and have enjoyed recording birdsong with it. Getting a bit lazy with sorting out the files though, which is essential when one loses track of the location and subject details and just have a bunch of dated files. We are heading to the Suffolk coast soon so should get to enjoy the sound of the waves on the beach at Dunwich and Minsmere – I think that is how I ended up reading your blog now I remember that you used to have a photo of Dunwich Coastguard cottages at the top. I am not sure that I would eat any seaweed we might collect off the beach near Sizewell although I doubt it would do any harm!


    1. > is that with a hand held recorder rather than a smartphone?

      In the same way as being an unreconstructed old fossil I never take pictures with a phone, I never use a phone for sound recordings – they don’t do stereo for starters πŸ˜‰ More to the point I don’t usually carry a phone…

      Recorder was an Olympus LS-14 with a Rycote mini fur on its own mics. I almost just about got away with it on the wind blast, because the sound of the sea was so loud.

      Having said that about phones, it is possible to get better sound from them by tossing out the rubbish audio analogue stages and ADC. I recently had to fix someone’s dire audio for a facebook live thing with an Android smartphone. I got a Samson Q2U usb/XLR mic and fed that into the phone with a USB OTG adapter. Absolute dog’s ‘nads and fixed phone crappy audio by entirely replacing the phone’s dreadful audio stages – the ADC is in the mic. So I guess you could plug a stereo USB mic into a phone and make it sound OK, by just using the phone as an extremely power-hungry display and storage interface.

      Mind you, for birdsong you need something a bit more directional, the beauty of your separate audio recorder is you could feed something like a MKE600 into it and listen through to track the birds πŸ˜‰ Walberswick is a lovely place for interesting birds when it’s quiet enough, the Alde valley is also good. The sound of the sea is good around Southwold too, those shingle beaches give a nice crackle on the outflow. You’re spoiled for choice!

      Minsmere has too much human interference for me, and even North Warren I couldn’t get far enough from the mechanical hum of the power station. I spent a lovely morning there recording ambient birdsong, and didn’t hear the hum, but lifting the levels on the recording it was very present.

      > Getting a bit lazy with sorting out the files though

      hehe – ain’t it always the way! MP3Tag despite the name lets you put ID3 info into your WAV files, and Resonic lets you select and quickly play files from a directory.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The Olympus recorders are good. I got the LS-P4 with some Gutmann fur. I only wish it had a recording loop buffer so I could get the unexpected Cetti’s, so hard to predict when those little sound bombers will fire up! I had a look at mics like that one but for now I blew the toys spend on an upgraded Olympus mirrorless camera – have to see how that goes now they are making plans on offloading the camera division. Thanks for the software links – I am overdue to get a Windows VM going on the Mac.


  3. The Nips of course also big consumers of the weed.

    I got to like their food when I worked there for a few years and now start the day with a nice bowl of rice, a bit of fish and some homemade miso soup – which contains wakame. Seems to be good for the nails, for the musos out there.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. How the mighty have fallen. Last week it was lobster and chips this week you’ve got Mrs Ermine freediving for seaweed. Unless of course this is a prelude to Ermine Enterprises and Investments bucking the stock market and moving into pearl fishing?

    Around here it’s laverbread. The last lot I had was in a local hostelry when I got my all day breakfast upsold to a “local” version which meant the addition of cockles and laverbread. To be fair it was quite tasty with the exception of the laverbread which I found to be both literally and metaphorically rather fishy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Shhhh… we had another lobster this time too πŸ˜‰ I am wondering how i got so far through life without realising that eating seaweed had been so big in the UK. Laverbread also led me to the concept of hog’s pudding round these parts.

      Mind you I still favour the red algae as fried crisps. I could see that leavign the water in it could lead to a strange mouthfeel!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. The title of this article could be confusing to pedants, I initially thought the searching was referring to the giant and given his artistic portrayal had doubts as to weather it was any form of weed he was searching for, but all good now.

    If I remember rightly, your partner is into her agricultural science, so isn’t seaweed also supposed to be an amazing fertiliser or was it just used by coastal farmers because it was there and free and they didn’t have anything else?


    1. Seaweed, or at least kelp, is the best fertiliser you can use. I gather it in October to avoid the flies which are so attracted to it for some reason. Allow it to weather in the rain for a couple of weeks, then mix it with an equal volume of dry leaves and run a lawnmower over it to chop it up. Leave on your beds a couple of inches thick over the entire winter.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Now that’s hard-core. Well, unless you live closer to the sea than we do πŸ˜‰ Mrs Ermine uses seaweed for that too, but bought from Maxicrop, in the farm-size containers where the instructions tell you how to load it into your tractor-mounted crop sprayer πŸ˜‰


  6. Carrageenan and alginate were important parts of my food technologist’s toolkit back in the day. In their purified form from companies like Marine Colloids or Kelco, they perform thickening or gelling functions in foods and cosmetics. Of course the food purity police think of them as additives or nasty chemicals despite their natural origin.
    The vegetable gels are nowhere as good as those you get from gelatin. They don’t melt at mouth temperature like gelatin so you have to “chew them down.”
    There are other useful colloids like xanthan gum and gellan gum but those are microbial in origin.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. > temperature like gelatin so you have to β€œchew them down.”

      “Rubbery” seems to be the charge frequently laid at laverbread πŸ˜‰ You can’t beat bone stock…

      OTOH the fried seaweed crisps approach are a win over potato crisps(chips) IMO. Pyrolise the stuff. It does concentrate the salt by shrinking it all down, however, leading to the stupendous thirst issue.


  7. @Ermine (1:16 pm) – you were at the seaside the other day for heavens sake. Take the opportunity to harvest nature’s bounty where you are and when you can.
    Dry leaves, seaweed (or as an alternative to seaweed grass clippings) – they are all free – and are all organic and environmentaly replaceable.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, but the volume you need to get the edible variant is shocking. We had about five times what you can see on the washing line ended up in three 0.5l Mason jars, only half filling them once they’ve been dried!


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