The estuary runs a short distance from the sea into a Broad. At the edge of it the crabs gather and seem to rise on the water ebb and flow and snatch at the passing fish in the broad with their claws.
Crabs only eat dead stuff, I think watching their antics. MY daughter all resilent and slim in her cut offs and t-shirt, a healthy, happy, dirty, dirty blonde 9 year old, sticks her crabpole into the water with a little piece of bacon on the end. Bacon is the ultamate crab catcher.
She laughs at her reflection in the dark sea water now filling up the estuary. She pokes her stick, and hooks out a huge crab. They are big here. Giant ones. Not the velvet kind that edible. No competition at all for them so they thrive.
We stand on the lock gates now crowded with Crabbers all hooking and laughing in the sunshine. It's much more fun here than down at the harbour where the adults get all serious about the depth of the water. How dangerous it all is.
I wonder if sea water and fresh water have different viscosities, different surface pressures and don't mix. Which is why the Broad stays a different fresh water envirenment.
The fens came about by the mixing of the two; forming a different and unique situation where all sorts of strange and rare things thrived. We've drained most of the land now. Claimed it for other uses.
She lands the crab and glares at it, it tries to turn and claw her. She has to jump. I stand clear. I don't care for crab. it fights back.
She finally gets fed up of Crab War and kicks it with the side of her shoe and it falls off the edge back into the water.
"Wasn't big enough!" she says to the boy next to her. I smile.
"There's bigger ones in the town at night!" he says back. "They come out of the water and into the allys. They put their claws up like boxing gloves."
"They don't!" I reassure her, watching her face pale at the thought.
"If they catch someone helpless, they eat them!" he yells grabbing his net of crabs and rushing off.
"You should put those back," says another adult grimly.
"Won't!" says the boy proudly, "I can get a lot for these off fishmongers."
"You can't," I say finally stung into saying something, "They're not edible ones."
He makes a face at me and says to my daughter, "Is she daft or what?"
She says, "No, she's not!"
He sticks a finger up his nose, "The crabs got the old woman in the wheelchair up on the bridge. They had her. It's why she's not there anymore."
"You said they went down the ally's!" she fired back redfaced.
"So they do, when it's dark," he explained, "Sometimes though, they know when people are dying. They really do. Honest!"
"The crabs are just trying to move up river," someone said behind him.
"No they're not." he exclaimed, "I don't want to go home."
"The crabs will get you." laughed my daughter,"He's got enough of them.