Posted by: Shanna Germain | 05/23/2009

Pg. 53: The World is Almost Your Oyster


Do you know what this is?



  • Weather: Two seriously sunny days in a row! And just in time for a Bank Holiday! Thank you momma nature!
  • Mileage: Not. A. One. Okay, I strolled along the beach a bit. But mostly I didn’t. It was very nice.
  • Discovery: The pound store sells these ginormous plastic zip-up tartan bags. I couldn’t figure out what they were for, and then I saw a women use one at the laundrette. Oh, duh. SO much better than the basket I’ve been carting around.
  • Media: Raw Spirit, Iain Banks
  • Worst Thing: A bit of “I’m all the way over here, almost everyone I know and love is way over there” depression.
  • Best Thing: -grins a bit wickedly- Sorry, not tellin’.
  • Quote of the Day: “Paddington loves marmalade, don’t he, daddy?” said by the adorable little girl who’d just seen the “real Paddington bear” and could barely contain her excitement. (He was apparently visiting Bute, although I didn’t see the furry creature myself). To which her daddy leaned over and whispered, almost as adorably, trying to make sure his daughter didn’t overhead “Do you remember what Paddington loves? ‘Cause daddy don’t remember.”
  • Word of the Day: Skelp. Slap.


There’s a place in town–well, actually at least two places in town called Zavaroni’s. These are little places that serve up mostly take-out food: fish and chips in a paper cup, ice cream in a cone, chicken sandwhiches, and the like. I hadn’t been there, but I understood that they were all individual businesses, each one owned by a different member of the same (I’m guessing Zavaroni) family.

There is one near the boardwalk and I walked by it today, during a bit of blazing sunshine. I kept on going, and there were two people leaning over the railing beside the beach, licking ice cream from cones. Now, I have to admit, I’ve wanted a lot of things since I got to Scotland. But I have not, not ever, looked at the drizzling skies and the rain on my window and my own shivering cold self and thought, “Wow, I really want some ice cream.”

But today was warm and sunny, and it just seemed like an ice cream day, especially a beach ice cream day, so I hightailed it back to Zavaroni’s, all excited like and peered in to see their many flavors.

Which were four. Vanilla, rainbow, coconut, and black currant.


I’ve never liked fruit in my ice cream, unless it’s on top of it. And, while I like coconut a great deal, also, I’ll pass on it in my ice cream. So, vanilla it was. Which I don’t particularly like either, but damn it, I wasn’t about to let a little reality ruin my beach-and-ice cream bash! And then I saw the sign said, right below ice cream: fish & chps, just chps, oysters, wafers.

Oysters, I thought. Ooh, yum. That seemed like a good beach day treat as well. I assumed they were fried — like most everything here is, especially seafood. I stood for a moment, salivating, trying to choose between warm fried oysters and cool… but vanilla…ice cream.

Finally, I opted for the cone and got in line behind two giggling girls and dug around in my pocket for a couple of pound coins.

Then, the woman in front of me turned. And in her hand was not a cone, but a shelled-looking wafer thing layered in chocolate and coconut. I think I gaped. Or maybe I made a move toward her as if to lick it, because she suddenly gave me an odd look and practically ran out of the store.

I stepped up to the counter and what ensued is the type of conversation I seem to have often here. (You should have seen the time I tried to ask about 3×5 cards…). This is how it went.

“Can I have one of those…” I make the appropriate gestures with my hands, which basically amounts to me quacking my fingers like ducks. “Sandwich thingies?”

“A what?”

“One of those…” Here I make the hand gesture again and again, until my quacking ducks run out of quack and hang limply at my side. I point. “Those things with coconut on them. With vanilla in it.”

“A vanilla cone?”

“No, no…” I’m leaning over the counter now, pointing at the big jar of sandwhichy looking things, getting my coat caught in the napkin holder. “One of those.”

“Those’re cones.”


“I’ll just have the oysters.”

“Aye.” (Which, by the way, is pronounced “I”). “You want an oyster with vanilla.” And he proceeds to scoop one of the sandwhichy looking things out of the jar, fills it with vanilla ice cream and says, “A pound.”

I look at my sandwich — excuse me, my oyster — suddenly getting it all.

“A pound,” he says again, although kindly this time as if he’s concerned he just fed a stray and rabid dog, and that I might decide to crawl over the counter and bite him for his kindness.

I hand over the coin. “Thank you, thank you,” I call as I go out the door.

“Thank you,” he says. “Thank you.” (They say hello, thank you and goodbye a lot of times here when you enter and leave a place, and I’ve yet to figure it out. Who gets the last “goodbye” and do you say it two times or three? It’s like cheek-kissing… I can never remember which side to start on, and how many times you do it. So depending on which friends from which country I’m hanging around, I’m always under- or over-kissing someone).

And then I take my scoop of vanilla ice cream squished into my coconut and chocolate-laden oyster and I walk down the beach. Ice cream drips everywhere and gulls follow me to peck at the coconut flakes that catch in the wind, but I don’t care. I’ve just discovered something wonderful — deep inside my oyster, there is a layer of fluffy, decadent whipped cream. And with that, I decide, I’m about as happy as a clam. And then some.

Far and fast, s.


“The world was my oyster but I used the wrong fork” -Oscar Wilde


PS — At least the flavors weren’t these. I shouldn’t complain too much.



  1. You have to tell. I can’t stand it!

    • Hehehe. -insert wicked laugh here-

      I’ll call you and tell you, I swear it 🙂

      • Well dammit, how about the rest of us curious people, eh? Just gonna leave us hanging?

  2. “until my quacking ducks run out of quack and hang limply at my side”


    Maybe he thought you were a ventriloquist.

    And just the other day I saw someone in a T-shirt that said “Over-kissed by Shanna Germain.” (The fine print above it read “You can never be …”)

    • Oohh! Ventriloquism. Now there’s a skill I should learn! Good idea Jeremy 🙂

      And, what? Why don’t I have that t-shirt? Did Alison buy them all?

  3. Watch those gulls they have been known to grab or peck at you to get food out of your hand (steal)!

    • Really? I’m going to train them to sit on my shoulder during my ventriloquist act!

  4. Yes, Dakster, I am 🙂

    • Tsk tsk tsk, you are oh so evil.

      • Um. Yeah. Did you forget? 🙂

  5. Discovery is wonderful…

    • I know! I love how it knows me off-kilter, makes me see everything anew… It’s so good for me as both an artist and as a person.

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