Prickly Bay

‘Do you remember the goats?’

I shook my head, confused. ‘No. Which goats?’

My mum’s voice came right back at me through the phone. ‘The ones eating the grass at Prickly, wandering around. Those goats.’

I stared at the Tiki Bar’s huge palm trees. ‘Kind of…’

‘You know! Someone had won them at the bingo night. But they didn’t want them – so the goats were left there until they found someone else to take them.’

The memory came at me like a wave. ‘Oh yeah! But something was wrong with one of the goats, right? It had some kind of neurological problem. Kept its head at a strange angle.’

My mum was triumphant.‘That’s the one. And Fin would look at them very strangely.’

I chuckled. Fin looks at every type of animal strangely. Often without saying anything – not one bark or growl. Then at the last minute, she lunges like she’d planned the whole thing. Classic Fin. I still feel my shoulder from the times she’s knocked me off my feet. Once an encounter with two huge green iguanas in the BVI. My mum was with us then too. I wonder if Fin remembers… or what she made of the reptiles. Does Fin lie in Borth now at Vronnie’s, thinking about the things she’s seen? Pray, tell us Finster.

Once you physically leave a place, it goes into that dusty file. Coming back, I’ve realised Prickly Bay is full of memories. Friends we met here. I inflated my kayak in Prickly for the first time – despite Jack’s protests it wasn’t safe. Probably isn’t. Anyway, hasn’t sunk – yet! Lu had her ears pierced here at the Chinese hardware store. Oh my goodness. Still, she never had an infection.

My mum came for a month when Jack and Delph went home in May 2016. We stayed on Prickly’s dock then and kayaked everywhere – including Fin. She’d sit with her claws resting gingerly on the inflatable cushion… and her tongue hanging out.

She was so shaggy and hot, we took her to the dog groomers. These were the days before just taking Fin to the beach with a pair of scissors. The grooming lady was on the other side of Prickly Bay and we had to scale a steep grassy hill from a little private beach. Must have looked like crazy ladies and a dog.

We took a tour with Shademan to go turtle-watching. Drove up to the north of the island in his laughably decrepit van. Amazing that it even made it though the mountains. We walked for hours in the pitch darkness to find an egg-layer. The beach was like quicksand. My mum will swear her knee was never the same since. I’m sure it wasn’t. Can’t speak for the poor leatherback who we crowded around as she pushed her ping-pong eggs out. They would have filled a large bucket. Her shell really was leathery.

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