Archive for the ‘Things children say’ Category

What to do on Little Gasparilla Island

The girls canoeing, unfortunately not in a co-ordinated way

With no commercial activity at all on Little Gasparilla Island, Tilly has identified that the days form a predictable pattern:

Going for a run on the beach – The Island is 7 miles long – 7 miles of beach and 7 miles of dockside, with a few hundred metres/yards of shrub in between.  We are towards the south of the island, so I can go for the short run southwards or the long run northwards.  At pretty much all times of the day except sunset, the beach is deserted.  It is rumoured that Lorna has also been exercising, but we’ve only seen the walking/warming up stage.

Fishing – After a very slow start (where she caught nothing and whinged that she was no good at it), Nancy is the queen of the fishermen.  As of Wednesday evening, Nancy had caught 11 fish leaving me (7), Tilly (4) and Lorna (4) behind in her wake.  Nancy names each of her fish (Gnish, Gnash, Gnosh, Gnush etc) before banging them on the head and later eating them.

Fishing is often interrupted by more interesting wildlife.  Derrick the duck (he’s a cormorant) is a regular feature on Dock #51.  He occasionally tries to spoil the party by trying to steal the catch mid-air.  Matthew the Manatee often bathes in the dock and an unnamed dolphin comes to play from time to time. 

Other wildlife – There’s lots of other wildlife on the island too.  I almost put my foot on top of a yellow chicken snake that was drinking from our footbath yesterday (it looks like a garden hose).  Apparently, it’s entirely harmless though this did not stop Nancy screeching like a Banshee.  The nesting season for turtles begins in two weeks’ time.   Apparently, these turtles return to deposit their eggs in exactly the same place as they were hatched.  We haven’t seen racoons and armadillos, but they can ravage any garbage that is foolishly left out.  This is doubly foolish, because your garbage has to leave the island when you leave.

Surfing, canoeing or merely jumping the waves– Until they both got injured (Nancy – a surf board to the chin, and Tilly – shell abrasions to the stomach), we were all enjoying boogie boarding.  The water is clear, clean blue and wonderfully warm.  In the calmer seas this morning, we all went canoeing (see photo).  What Nancy best likes about the Island is that she can’t be dragged to any boring museums (because there aren’t any).

Having a shower – The water here is formally called brackish.  It’s somewhat salty and smells slightly of sulphur.  Theoretically, it’s drinkable (though this may be like food from Taco Bell is allegedly edible).   It’s not even a particularly pleasant experience to wash in.  Any thoughts of eating ice cream off your partner’s body would be immediately dismissed (…as they always have been from Mrs B).

Cooking – In the 1970s, John Lennon famously spent 5 years in retirement baking bread and I’m a big fan too.  Lorna has spent a lot of time gutting fish.  Last time we were on the island, we made the mistake of cooking with island water (see above).  It was one of the most unpleasant meals we have ever eaten (though not the worst – my mother’s meat patties and custard beats everything).  We brought lots of fresh water from the mainland and this kitchen is professionally kitted out so that you can cook anything you want.

Searching for other children – Nancy has perfected strategies of winding her sister up this holiday; she needs new challenges.  Unfortunately, this is school time in the US.  Tilly and Nancy have done a bit of children tracking.  You have to say that Tilly is much better at this than Nancy.  She notices smaller than average footprints in the sand, abandoned spades and remnants of sandcastles.  Alas up till now, we have only seen the very young.

Golf carting – There are no roads on the island, but rather sandy paths built for golf carts travel. Yesterday, we explored the island dreaming of which house we might buy if we had the money and the inclination.  We met a handful of other carts doing the same thing.  The extreme storms that hit this coast in the summer months and the general ravages of nature must make maintenance a continuous challenge.  It seems like every cupboard we open in our beach house contains some sort of building tools or materials. 

Playing the piano – Tilly has taken to composing tunes on the honky-tonk piano in the house.  She’s experimenting with minor keys which are strangely haunting.  Especially annoying is that you find yourself humming them before realising where you’ve heard it before.

Watching DVDs – In the evening after sundown, we retreat to the (large HD) TV to watch a DVD.  We’ve had a short festival of Johnny Depp’s work: Pirates of the Caribbean seemed appropriate, but What’s Eating Gilbert Grape was the better film

When you’ve finished each of the above, your day has probably finished and you begin the list again the next day.

The girls fishing

Mangetout

She may be a scholarship girl, but Tilly can make mistakes. She was reading a recipe just now, and said what’s this “Man Get Out”…mangetout