The Shingle Beach of North Norfolk
|Relevant graffiti on the seawall in Sheringham.|
On Monday, March 29, the United Kingdom moved into Step One in a four-stage "roadmap out of lockdown." We've been weaving in and out of COVID-19 restrictions for a year now, and on Monday we emerged from three solid months of the highest-level lockdown, which began the day after Christmas.
For once, the weather of Norwich was celebrating with us. I spent a glorious sunny Monday walking the University of East Anglia campus, taking a socially-distanced walk with my classmate Joanne (the first time I've met her in person), and... drumroll please... playing ultimate! Organized sports are allowed with some modifications. We can't mark or stall-count, and we sanitize the discs between drills.
|Collin and Molly begin the long walk back to Sheringam. Every step forward on the shingle beach feels as tiring as two, because the pebbles slide backward and sideways underfoot.|
|Egg cases of the common whelk, Buccinum undatum.|
|This common sea star was dead, but its tube feet were still clinging to pebbles.|
|I call these things "cuttlefish bones." I used to buy them in the pet store for my budgies, Steve and Lily, to chew on for calcium. Today, the shingle beach was littered with them. Could they really be the skeletons of cuttlefish, those color-flashing, rainbow, intelligent mollusks that look like alien octopuses? Indeed, iNaturalist confirmed that these bones come from European common cuttlefish, Sepia officinalis. I would love to see one alive under the water.|
|A mermaid's purse, the egg case of a skate in the genus Raja.|
|A common Atlantic slippersnail, Crepidula fornicata. Brits accidentally introduced this non-native species to Essex from the US East Coast between 1887 and 1890 when they imported oysters.|
|An unidentified scallop, family Pectinidae.|
|The carapace of a velvet swimming crab, Necora puber.|
|Molly was determined to swim in the ocean. Collin and I guarded her backpack and watched in awed horror as she dunked in the 6 degree Celsius (43 degree Fahrenheit) water.|
|Looking ahead, with the shingle beach and the North Sea on our left.|
|Looking back from the eroding sandy bluffs as we approached Sheringham.|
|An exhausted train ride home.|