Robert gets his head smashed in Dorset
Children can be just so cruel. Especially Lawrence. Early on Friday morning we set off to Samway's, the West Bay fish monger, just around the corner from our apartment on the cliff top at Burton Bradstock, Dorset. The boy refused lobster, aiming his hammer at the most substantial target on offer: a 12 inch wide crab, complete with fearsome pincers. We returned home, I struggling under the weight of several kilos of sea food: the giant crab, a large skate, a smaller haddock, and a bag full of samphire.
Back in the kitchen, Lawrence was keen to get the crab out of its bag and start to pursue innocent squeeling ladies with its snapping pincers and pungent aroma. Emma was unimpressed. Eventually we deposited the crab in the fridge, by which time it was no longer merely "the crab", Lawrence having chosen a name for his deceased crustacea. For some inexplicable reason, the crab was called "Robert". Thanks Lawrence.
And so when finally the ominous mallet of supper-time hovered meanacingly over the prettily orange speckled carapace of fate, many jokes had been tossed into the boulabaise of family banter.
A crushing blow landed square in the center of Robert's head.
He crumpled beneath its shattering force, light splurges of gungy brown meat leaking out on the rebound.
Health and safety tip: always wear protective goggles when smashing a crab.
Teasing away a splintered fragment of shell, the intrepid culinary adventurers revealed the false dawn that is the body of the crab. Insubstantial but tasty. The carapace contains only brown sludge. Delicious brown sludge. I led Lawrence to believe it to be the crab's brain. Not sure if that is true or false, but it's a good story.
A mopping-up operation then commenced, us armed with chunks of good white bread sourced from Bridport's marvellous Washingpool Farm Shop.
And then onto the hard-core crab eating: chunky white leg meat, the extraction of which required heavier artillery - Lawrence's geology hammer delivered just the necessary impacts (with the crab now placed on the ground for maximum ballistic intent).
Eventually, it lay before us thoroughly exhausted and extinct. Only a single claw remained intact, providing hours of cheap entertainment for everyone, especially Lawrence.
Apparently, the skate (roasted), haddock (fried), and samphire (boiled) were also of excellent standing.
Well done to Samway's and to Washingpool.
Sorry Robert the crab.