Well I had a serendipitous event occur to me today. My youngest son, Fergus, and I decided to walk our dog Charlie over the bridge into San Remo and have a milkshake and coffee respectively. (Charlie always refrains from partaking of the Doggyccino at the cafe, so he had a drink from a puddle on the way). This is about an hour of walking altogether and I thought it would be good for us all to get out of the house.
It was quite a squally day, so I started out with a beanie on but soon got too hot from the brisk pace Fergus and Charlie were keeping. To my dismay, I realised I had lost the beanie somewhere en route, and nearly accosted a child at the playground who was wearing a similar hat to enquire if he had recently found it. Fergus was really insistent that I didn't make this accusation, so I had my coffee and simmered over the lost beanie to myself!
On the way back, at the foot of the bridge, I noticed some white things blown up against the chain fence near the road. One was an old yogurt pot that had been bleached by the sea and sun. One was a paper nautilus shell.
I should point out at this moment that I am an avid rockpool rambler and beachcomber and that it has been my life's ambition to find a paper nautilus shell!! One of my friends, who is Phillip Island born and bred, has only ever found two in her whole life. Both my daughter and mother have found one and I have spent ten times more time walking on the beach than either of them--a fact that has always seemed totally unjust to me. To find one at the foot of the bridge 20 or 30 metres from the beach was bizarre, but it was really windy and the shell is really light so I guess it just blew up from the sand and got stuck in the fence. Like the yogurt pot.
Here it is,
Paper nautilus shells come from a really amazing octopus-like creature called the Argonaut. They are not really a shell, but in fact the egg case of these creatures.
If you would like to learn more about the argonaut, try here http://museumvictoria.com.au/caughtandcoloured/nautilusvoice.aspx
I was also chuffed to see how my family members were so delighted when I returned triumphant with my shell. Everyone was completely aware of how much this meant to me and think it's perfectly fine that I was so excited. They are all cool with the fact that I have a favourite word. In fact, Josie has one too. It's sesquipedalian. So once again, in a family, eccentricities are as normal as the smell of bread.
At my fortieth birthday my friend Ann Marie even immortalised my quest to find a paper nautilus shell in her song "The Girl from Phillip Island" (to the tune of "The Girl from Ipanema)
In rockpool rambles, she answers to Ranger Lel
Lives to find that Paper Nautilus Shell . . .
Ah well. Looks like I need to find another life's ambition! What a great day.
PS. I found the beanie on the way back too.