December 22, 2014 by Whispering Smith
Whispering Smith Column published in the Littlehampton Gazette December 11th 2014
WHEN I was a mere stripling, Winkle Island, the raised rock bed off of Littlehampton appeared huge and, indeed it was, even high enough to ground coasters inbound for our gravel or timber wharves with the receding tide leaving the ships high and dry. You had to take care when gathering the molluscs as the incoming tide quickly surrounded the island and many a winkler got their wet feet. Mr Merritt, our neighbour in Wendy Ridge, an elderly man whose ability to drink a whole cup of hot tea from a saucer I greatly admired, would take me down to the Island with his sons to gather winkles. Back at his house he would boil them, give me a bent out safety pin and show me how to remove the little cap and ferret out the meaty bit. Lovely, especially with bread and strawberry jam. Then without my seeming to notice it, the island vanished and the shoreline levelled out. Now it is back, higher than ever it seems and has, I fancy, shifted a little bit to the east and headed for Worthing. I met an old friend on the beach who told me he had been out to the new island recently and gathered a few winkles from the surrounding rock pools as the high point of the island is still bereft of life. He cooked them, ate them and declared them to be as delicious as ever. Remembering the recent accidental dirty water discharge into the sea, I will need a little persuading before indulging myself but he seems to be okay… so far.
LITTLEHAMPTON’S Small Business Saturday showed our town at its very best. Free fish and chips thanks to The Fish Factory, the local arts group, craft stalls, a ukulele gathering, street performers, raffles etc. A great opportunity to meet friends old and new. I even found an excellent fifties Lone Ranger Annual. Next Saturday even more fun with the Christmas Carnival Fun Day in the town centre from 10 until 4. Be there!
SAD news that Allotment and Town Show chairman Glyn Allen has passed away at the age of ninety. Glyn was a familiar and friendly figure every Sunday morning in the allotment shed, always with a smile and some advice if consulted. He will be greatly missed.