Well it’s pretty stormy on my bit of seaside, this weather has caused some problems elsewhere, not least Biscuits Galore!-
Thousands of packets of chocolate biscuits have washed up on the Lancashire shore from a stricken ferry. The McVitie’s biscuits were being carried on lorries aboard the Riverdance, which ran aground off north shore near Blackpool on Thursday night.
Now these crumbly treats look to be pretty well intact, if the packets are waterproof and unbroken it would be a terrible thing to throw them away, we are so very wasteful. I mean ok sell them as seconds but the automatic way in which so much food is junked in our plentiful consumer culture is rather awful when put into a global context. Also that time of abundance looks to be coming to a close, so we might need those biscuits. Meanwhile Rats Ahoy!-
Fears have been voiced that the trawler which ran aground on St Kilda on Friday could threaten rare sea birds on the World Heritage Site. Force 11 gales have dispersed fuel from the vessel’s tanks but the National Trust for Scotland fears it is any rats on board that could cause most damage.
Because…I know some facts about rats (and that rhymes) this has happened in the past, rats making landfall on islands that previously were free of them and they cause immense small furry chaos. Last year a big drive was made to ensure ships used proper rat guards on their ropes because rats can scurry along the ropes either onto the harbour or into the water from a ship. In the water they can be a threat even some distance from shore, so even weighing anchor near some islands could risk a rat invasion. Once on land a sexy rat couple in the absence of predators with food (birds, eggs, babies eyes etc) will overrun the place, a female can produce 5 litters a year, a litter is typically 7 but can be up to 14. And each one of those gets busy so in a year…hundreds, then thousands. They do make fun pets though. And lastly this study finds-
sitting on the wet sand or swimming in the sea for too long may increase the risk of catching an unpleasant stomach bug, a new study found…Beach sand often has some degree of contamination from seabird waste, or other fecal waste. Microbes concentrate naturally around the waterline, in the water and also are tracked around on bathers’ feet, researchers found.
They looked at three beaches north of Miami: Hobie Beach, Hollywood and Fort Lauderdale. “There is an increase risk of acquiring gastroenteritis the longer a bather either sits in the wet sand or stays in the water,” said Jay Fleisher professor College of Osteopathic Medicine-Nova Southeastern University.
But what the article fails to delve into is the role of pollution, what risk is there where sewage is not pumped into the sea by dodgy private utilities or where environmental degradation has lowered people’s immune systems. However is does call to mind this alleged fact- if stuck on a desert island with no fresh water you can absorb water by taking in sea water through your anus, you will absorb the water but not the salt as much (or at all maybe). I have no idea if this is true, however it would make the next version of Robinson Crusoe a lot funnier (did Tom Hanks try it in Cast Away? The only thing I remember about that was the director Zemeckis liked to ‘quip’ afterwards that the content of that unopened package was a waterproof solar powered satellite phone, that would have made a better ending- The character kicks himself to death for being a sentimental cretin and not opening it. Nic Roeg’s Castaway is tons more fun).