Ancient Japanese Art of Fish Rubbing

Eype Mouth Dorset

Eype Mouth Dorset

Brace yerslelves ladies the Spinster is in PAIN ALOT OF PAIN – boring, boring, boring I know but this is simply by way of a preamble in case this post is a little less than coherent (I politely request that you resist the say ‘what’s new’!).

Since the weekend in Bournemouth the Spinster has been holed up with a close friend in a chalet on the cliff top near Bridport; ostensibly I came to write but this has not been quite the productive few days creatively speaking; the muse was elsewhere it seems! Curiously the Chalet looked familiar when I first arrived, it was rustic with the exterior paint peeling off and the floor covered in the ceramic tiles I had in my first house (designed to resemble grey whitewashed wood. But no that wasn’t it; then it hit me I was inside the pages of an Ikea catalogue! My companion has been the perfect company; it turns out we share the same ideas about relaxation, hanging out and pausing to ponder the simple things in life.

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The Bank Holiday was sunny, warm and calm with the sea as blue as Mauritius (well almost); not a white horse in sight unlike today when the wind has whipped the ocean into the wave equivalent of the Grand National! The property next to Seaspray (our place) is lived in by a family with a couple of youngish children; this information gleaned when my companion took the parcel containing a hoover that we took delivery of whilst the residents were doing the morning school run; see that’s how at home we both felt – oh even sitting in the gale that is blowing and having to pop out to my car to have a cigarette there is something powerful being this close to a vast body of water. I am fascinated by the children’s toy lawn mower that is apparently unmoved by the wind that manages to push me around!

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My companion shares my penchant for drinking with straws; of course mine is more practical necessitated by a couple of jaws full of sensitive teeth! Although she didn’t actually say it I could tell she was quietly impressed by my having both thin and fat straws; the speed with which I can imbibe liquid medication is impressive especially if one sucks really fast so the foul concoction shoots straight down ones gullet barely seeing the inside of one’s mouth!

When buying stamps in the post office in Lyme Regis I purchased a couple of cards; the Spinster has a literal missive sending habit for which a continuous supply of cards is required. I’ve always loved receiving letters in the post and regret the replacement of such joy filled envelopes by electronic communication. There need not be a formal reason for writing a couple of lines; a sent a postcard to the 83 year old lady who I swim with as when she popped over, (with a tin full of fairy cakes with coffee icing – so lovely and light), I couldn’t remember the name of a plant we were looking at in my garden. Having consulted my gardening advisor from whom I had acquired said plant I wanted to let her know the name; somehow an old fashion postcard of a seafront seemed appropriate.

fish rubbing 2The cards that drew me in the Lyme Regis establishment were larger than usual (perfect for a longer missive or use with an especially large nibbed fountain pen (a 21st birthday present from my parents – even at the grand age of 43 it still gives me pleasure writing with this implement)). The images depicted on this range of cards were of fish; quite why I gravitated to a plaice and a mackerel I have no idea but they satisfyingly filled the card.

Had I turned the card over and actually read the text without doubt I would have been overwhelmed with laughter (a dangerous activity, when standing (in an open space), on two crutches supporting wooden limbs of limited use these days; all left leg/foot plus a significant part of the right are increasingly dead today making them more than a tad unreliable). The reverse of the card described ‘Gyotaku’ the ancient Japanese of fish rubbing; it makes me laugh just writing the phrase fish rubbing!

Do read the description it is simply extraordinary; after one has rubbed the fish can you consume them or are they thrown away literally becoming memories? Perhaps the Spinster is missing some gene that enables her to appreciate the ancient art; certainly the images are pleasant enough but I confess I wouldn’t fancy indulging in fish rubbing unless wearing latex gloves!photo



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Filed under Musings of a Contemporary Spinster

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