Blasts From The Past

I have something to admit. I’ve got a few ideas for blog posts, but I have been reading another blog, and where the guy had some adventures getting a snake out of his house, (he had just come back from a cruise with his family,) and the resultant stories coming out of that incident – and his older brother sharing a few snake tales – jogged my memory.

So, I thought I would go and try and produce a post that goes into childhood memories, and snakes and animals. It will relate to writing, I assure you.

When I was growing up, the first house we lived in had this large, long garden. And my mother had tried to grow vegetables at the bottom, and do all sorts. The next door neighbour also grew vegetables, and both were successful at it. The fun part was that there were slow worms about – a type of small, harmless snake. But that didn’t stop the neighbour… he would use his pitchfork on them with impunity, if he saw them. The guy had a fear of snakes, hence him screaming out and throwing that pitchfork like it was an ancient warrior’s spear. Curiously, I wasn’t scared by them; I was curious and fascinated by them. They were harmless, so why keep away from them?

One time, I had dug a small pit, and one had gotten trapped in it. I kept it in there for a day or so, because it was a little like having an exotic pet, I suppose. I certainly wasn’t out to harm it or anything, just keep it and study it. My mother made sure I let it leave, though i made sure it left in the opposite direction to our pitchfork wielding neighbour.

We eventually moved, and we ended up near the sea. My mother by then had ended up  being with this guy, and I remember it was a Sunday… must have been getting towards the winter. We had all gone out, and were walking the dog on one of the local beaches. There we were walking along, me being close to the shoreline, the tide going out. I was miles away, lost in thought. I just happened to look down, and then I shrieked my head off.

I was about to place my foot on a lobster. A live, moving full-size adult lobster.

It was still alive, because it was moving about a bit, even though it was no longer in the ocean. and it was dark, because they go pink when you cook them. In real life, they are a very dark, more blue-black colour. And it had both pincers, too. There was some quick investigating from the adults in the little group, and the guy my mum was with picked  up the lobster, and threw it a small distance away, back into the water. And then we carried on our way.

After a little while, we turned around, and headed back to the car, to go home. It was not starting to get dark now, and the tide was still going out. I was walking away along the shore, thinking away to myself, miles away. I was thinking about things like how it was getting to winter, and that the days were getting shorter. I was also probably getting lost in stories as well, to while the time away on the journey back.

I looked down, and shrieked. Loudly.

I was about to step on a lobster.

This brought even more annoyance, and comments about me being easily scared and all of that. I can safely say that I’d still be likely to shriek now, and I’m not a child. So they were talking out of their backsides. Adult panic in these situations as well as children. And in any case, I was about to use the same foot to nearly tread the same lobster from earlier. We looked, and there were a couple of identifying marks we noticed about it. I didn’t care; I was keeping away from those large claws. I knew what a crab pinching was like, and wasn’t interested in a whole scale larger pinching session, thank you very much. I’d nervously asked if they were planning to cook it and eat it, and the resolute answer was no. They had looked at it, and determined there was something very wrong with it to keep going on the shore like that. So it got tossed away into the water again. And I was relieved to get back to the car, having gotten (understandably) paranoid about stepping on lobsters. I was called an idiot, but seriously… twice? That’s not stupid. That’s realising you have some weird odds stacked against you.

Now… how does this relate to writing?

Thinking about the lobster story, I realise I could use it for a character I’ve been fleshing out in my head. Except that in this case, It would just be father and daughter, and the child is nearly stepping on the lobster. Twice. I have visions of her hating crustaceans as a result, a deep rooted aversion stemming from that childhood experience. Not that she’ll eat them…

Sometimes, personal experiences can be used to flesh out and define characters better. That is what I’ve taken a long time to get to. Though I’m certain some people have chuckled at my recounting my past misadventures with lobsters…


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