Thursdays is market day. In the summer I wander around the market purchasing the odd seasonal beauty, although to be honest our allotment more than keeps us supplied. Unbeknown to you all what I am really doing is waiting. I wait patiently during the summer, dreaming of long almost forgotten days that were in the middle of last winter and silently I wait. I say nothing to nobody, it would simply make my agitation worse. Slowly the seasons change, the colours of autumn appear, grow vibrant and then start to fade, the days become colder, I drag woollies out of my wardrobe to pull ever closer around me to keep warm. And still I wait. The days become shorter, making it more likely to be returning from late afternoon shopping trips in the dark, and it is at this point that I can wait no longer, the time is ripe.
I casually wander up to the fish mongers in the market, inspect his wares and then jump into the fray of men and women bustling around his stall. It looks busy but we all know where our place is in the queue.
It was worth the wait.
For the first bountiful feast of these dark blue beauties.
They were clean, tasty and very plump, and came all the way from Cornwall. They say mussels should only be eaten with an R in the month, but modern methods mean you can have them all year around, my self, I think they need the cold to plump them out and recover from breeding. From November to late February or March if the weather was like last years is the perfect time for mussels. And what could be better in the dark and dismal days of winter in landlocked Warwickshire than the smell of the ocean tantalising your taste buds as well as your memory. And then just for good measure adding the tang of a splash of malt vinegar and a little sea salt on your hot crispy chips, making it tricky to decide which mouthful to have next, the crispy, hot, salty with a whiff of vinegar chip or a plump, fat, mussel dripping with a buttery, winey, slightly garlicky liquor accompanied by the clean fresh ozone smell of a winters day walking on the beach.