Thursday, January 28, 2010


Fresh from the beach where I went to have another look at the whale. "Fresh" may not be exactly the right word. "Eeeeeurgh" may be more the word I'm looking for. Let's say it's not what a visiting caravaner would put on his "Must See" itinerary just under red squirrels.

There's something about a whale. What is it? That they're a mammal? That they float deep and quietsome in the dark? That they make really bad music? There's a connection which makes seeing one of them out of its element - not to mention very dead - distressing. To reach the whale, you walk past a quarantine notice complete with skull which never bodes well does it? Yesterday morning, you might have almost hoped that it was moving as the sea lifted its tail with the churn of the waves. Today, the tide has brought the whale off the rocks and inshore, flipping its sad and massive body which is mottled with blood. The sea-water pooled in the sands around is bright red, and the smell retch-inducing - not helped by the fact officials have sawn off its lower jaw and extracted its upper teeth. They've done this because souvenir hunters were caught by coastguards in the early hours. The reports say they were souvenir hunters - perhaps they were just really unlucky tooth fairies. "What job have you got?" "That cutie-pie with the curly blonde hair asleep over there on the pink Princess pillow. What's yours?" "I've got that 25 tonne rotting whale carcass on the Northumberland coast. Swapsies?"


yummy said...

So glad you are back - missed you.

Clair Humphries said...

I really enjoyed reading your novel and it's great to have found your blog - now I can keep updated on your wifely adventures! Very sad about the whale. We had one in the Thames a few years back (I'm sure you're aware of it - the news was pretty obsessed with it for a while) and that ended tragically too.

Will definitely keep popping back for more updates.

ADDY said...

There's something of a gentle giant about it too that makes it so distressing..

part mummy part me said...

That's so sad. I've always wanted to see a whale, but would definitely prefer a live one.

They seem so majestical and mysterious.

Sarah said...

Lemon curd, aliens, tooth-fairy; nice to hear from you, Wifey.
Are you going to confess?
They cut off the jawbone to let you out, didn't they?
You cannot hide from your fate! Blog, woman, blog!
If not for god, then for your public...

~Kim at Golden Pines~ said...

I have just found your blog via someone else I follow, and I have to say, that I have LOVED my visit and getting to know you! I just feel bad for that poor whale...My husband & I lived in Alaska for 10 years, and I've only seen one whale that "had passed." I hope it will be my last...

billatbingley said...

Two blogs in two days. We're really living the high life Wifey!

Sad about the whale though.They are such majestic mammals. We went whale watching from Tobermory a few years ago and the the sight of one of these creatures in the wild is truly magnificent.

I suppose you have heard the old joke about where you take a whale to weigh it.... The Whale weigh station of course!

As for the report that the dead whale is crown property. What the
h-ll does Her Majesty want with a dead whale? Maybe shes starting to produce whale oil to light the palace then she can compete for the green award with her eldest son!!!

scaryazeri said...

Whales always scared me. No idea why. Maybe it is their size.

occasional northerner said...

Glad you're back blogging. Poor whale.


Anonymous said...

Thought is was a bad idea to publicise it, obviously leaving it tempting to the opportunists.

CJ xx

Anonymous said...

hi, it was a nice story of the whale which was similar to my experience in 1988 at Seaton Point near Alnmouth where my wife comes from. the result of my encounter with the whale was the following somewhat juvenile verse

Seaton Point

They had seen it at sea
for days,
lost but not searching
for it had arrived.

A little too early
for its destiny
killing time at sea
awaiting its alotted moment
with death.

It must have ran ashore
the old men said,
pushing hard with tears
in its eye's.
The tears not of pain or sorrow
but of a knowing.

The dawn brought a
stunned activity for the locals
Sunday afternoon to gawk
at it's majesty.

Just the size and texture supplies
the feeling of inadequacy, for all
but a moron would have.

However, observing in slow motion
the youth picking up the
stone to cast
was enough to doubt humanity.

His grave was not peaceful.
For the public works had
defined him as a health hazard.
What was to be done.

The ultimate indignity perhaps,
to be blown up for

The local fisherman tried
towing him to sea
for a proper funeral
but alas neap tides,
moons quarter.

The deed was done
a measy business.
Seven days and all

The old men say that every
seventy years a sperm whale dies
swimming from the North Atlantic
searching for that
wind swept beach off
Seaton Point.

14:02:44 2/26/1988

great blog keith said...

Loved your book. Please write another? And please blog more often. I am American and I only know of the book through your blog. It was never advertised here.

Penny Pincher said...

Do you not get gulls up there in the cold north east?

If a whale washed up on East Devon beach - Sidmouth in particular - I reckon the herring gulls would have picked it down to the bones within 7 days . . especially when there are no picnicking grockles to steal from . . .

sparky said...

Seaton Point. A magical place - are the huts still there I wonder. 1973 was the year they blew up the whale - and now I see again in 1988.

Anonymous said...

Sparky, your are correct it was 1973, I guess it was 88 when I put it in a PC. The huts are still there, you can see them on google earth, my wife used to live in Alnmouth, however we have been in Zurich for 30 years, along way from Seaton Point. keith

Gone Back South said...

Poor whale. Poor beached, lifeless, dried out was-once-a whale. They really are magnificent creatures aren't they?

Anonymous said...

All this whale viewing became incredibly mawkish and made me feel very uncomfortable.
Thank god the poor bugger has gone now.

Janet said...

I had a whale experience several years back, but never saw the animal in question as it was dark. Departed my house, back from the Bay of Fundy about a mile and a half and taking a deep breath of the frosty December air, remarked to myself - bit pongy tonight - too early to be spreading hog manure on the fields - and drove over to where the cocktail party was at my friend's house overlooking the Bay from a bluff. Another deep breath and "arghh! J's septic must have backed up" Not so, it turned out to be a whale washed up on the beach in the village and didn't it pong until the next high tide with the right breeze took it back out where it was towed down the shore to an isolated area. Many whales around this part of North America foul in fishing gear or are run down 8n the navigation lanes - so unfortunate.
Glad to see you are back and blogging, wifey!