Welcome to my blog. I am 'The Bunny Maker' - aka Anna, confuzzled mother of three boys, maker of sock bunnies for Widget and Friends, owner of The Warren Bunny Boarding and artist behind Half an Acre. Come on in and join the madness!

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Crabs, screwdrivers and limpit brains ....

Getting away from toilets and chicken paint - we all upped shop (me, literally), hopped on the ferry and set sail for Seaview on the Isle of Wight. My family have had a holiday home there for about 104 years. You see the ugly building the the middle? It used to look like the one on the left until someone visually challenged ripped the front off in the '70s. Our pad is the bottom flat - we get the garden (teehee). As you can see we are literally within spitting distance of the beach! I've been going there every year of my life - every year - seriously! Now I take my own children there. I feel old.

When we're there pretty much all we do is go crabbing! We have a log book for scoring our catches and we try and set a new record each year. Last year we caught 988 before we had to make a run for the ferry home! This year we're up to 800 odd already so we're definately going to blow the 1000 mark.

Don't listen to this next bit if you are squeemish! We are expert crabbers - and crabbing purists! This means we only use limpits for bait. Do not use those little bags you fill with bacon and CHEAT with - yes, CHEAT with. The crabs get their little legs hooked into the mesh and its a sure thing to land one. No element of danger - no crab sky-diving and smashing onto the rock as you head for the bucket. The purist method is a fabulous hook contrived out of an old coathanger. You also need ....... a limpit, a screwdriver, a medium sized stone and a nine year old boy. Send all out at low tide to get bait. The nine year old finds a limpit (poor thing), shoves said screwdriver under it's shell where it clings to the rock ,er ... like a limpit .... bangs end of screwdriver with medium rock, limpit flies off. Next chisel a hole through the top of the shell - repeated banging needed. You'll know when you are in as you'll get gut splurted up into your eye. DO NOT LICK YOUR FINGERS or you will be sick later. (Its true.. trust me). Stick the rusty coathanger hook through this hole in shell, out through the limpit flesh and wrap round tightly. Lovely. Survey lovely view to take your mind of the limpit murder. DO NOT LICK YOUR FINGERS.
UPDATE: my husband has just read this and has informed me that this information is technically wrong. Typical. The above is how I do it (the correct way) and the other way is the way that men (pah!) do it. So, guys, the bloke way is to smash the hole in the limpits head BEFORE you get it off the rock - this is easier as the limpit does not move (apparently). Move? Good grief, its not like they run off.

Mostly you will catch boring, docile shore crabs. Yawn. For some real crabby action you need low tide. The lower the better. Out on the seaweedy rocks you'll catch (if you can) Velvet Swimming Crabs. BE VERY AFRAID. Shore crabs grab your bait and sit there eating it - Velvet Swimmers grab it and drag it under a rock. Try and pull them up and they let go - they have brains and they are watching you with their scarlet eyes. Some of them swear at you. You need cunning, stealth and nerves of steel. They tangle their legs round the seaweed and pull - you on one end, it on the other. Do not call it obscene names because you will have your children with you. Get the net under it and gently scoop it up. Once in the net - shake the net! They climb out! Shaking gets it on its back in the bottom of the net - quickly get it in the bucket. Once in the bucket DO NOT PUT YOUR HAND IN! It will go for you - big time. They hate you and want you to know it.
Next up are the edible crabs - but don't. Eat them that is. They are smooth and pretty and really not that big. They sit under the rocks and WILL NOT come out. If one gets your bait you have to scoop it with the net but it WILL let go and you'll keep missing it. Yawn. Nice to catch, pretty to look at - just not as much of a thrill as the Velvet Swimmers. Really, really, really low tide and you might spot a lobster. Or find a spider crab in a rock pool. Spider crabs are really slow and dopey - they cover themselves in seaweed as a disguise. It's a treat to find one - more likely you will stand on one first. *shudder*.

Enough of all that murder and mayhem. A crafty interlude approaches. The beaches are great for pottering around on and we collect seaglass, little yellow periwinkles and hag stones. Hag stones are ones with natural holes in them - really cool to find. Traditionally they were hung around horses necks to ward off disease and over the front doors of houses to ward off evil but are now a symbol of protection. I've used them to make my Random Rounds. Each one is, of course, totally different. I've made two, the one you see to the left and another, slightly smaller with red beads. Both are for sale.


  1. Oh my god! It's so beautiful... Reminds me of when my husband and I went to the cape when we lived on the eastcoast. It became my favorite place. You must have a ton of memories from going there.

  2. Good gravy! I'm so glad I stopped by. What a nice holiday home! But, er, what's a limpit?

  3. very funny! Do you need a small 10 year old girl for this operation? She's a bit squeamish though. So maybe sending her across the pond is not the best of ideas.

  4. What a cool crabbing story! I have never gone crabbing but sounds like fun. I spent every summe rof my life going to the same beach in souther Argentina, Patagonia...and loved it. What I miss the most since I live here in NL.

    The Random rounds are very cool.

  5. Found you through UK Flickr. Those are gorgeous! What a beautiful spot. We haven't ventured to the Isle of White yet, we're on the Kent coast.

  6. What a great and funny blog! Now, I'm off to read the rest, and here's sending some sunbeams your way <<<<<<<<<<...and, just in case, >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>! Kathy

  7. You learn something new everyday, I'd never heard of a limpit before; good reading!

  8. Looks like a nice break... you are making me wish away the days for mine now!

    Sara x

  9. What a great place to be....looks like fun!!!!
    Enjoyed your post

  10. Do not call it obscene names because you will have your children with you

    This whole story had me rolling, I love your story telling style, so real and humorous :) I am so glad to have discovered your blog!

    Never heard of a limpit before but they sound awful gooey. So nice to share in summer memories with your family :)

    ~ Jenn

  11. Oh I miss blighty by the sea.
    Glad you mentioned hag stones - I always have one.

    I heard they were called hag stones because witches can't cross running water and you only find hag stones around water.