Eel meat again....
On the other hand, because it's built over a dock, we do get to see a bit of wildlife. On a summer evening, there's something very relaxing about watching swarms of jellyfish drifting gently about in a sheltered corner. On a sunny day, if you squint, you can also often make out shoals of tiny fish fry, huddling together for safety. And the seagulls have learned how to open mussels by dropping them onto the concrete from a great height. (I gather this is rather less entertaining for people who have nabbed one of the increasingly rare parking spaces when a seagull misjudges the wind speed and a mussel plummets with devastating effect onto a car bonnet.) I'm told by the security staff that there's even a visiting fox, but he or she is never seen during most people's working hours.
Anyway, I wandered outside today for my afternoon breath of fresh air to see a fairly small cormorant wrestling with an enormous eel. As a larger cormorant with a rapacious glint in its eye hove into view, our hero dove under water to protect its prize. This was an effective strategy in the short term, but the villain of the piece loitered with intent on the surface, waiting for our hero to run out of oxygen and be forced to re-emerge. As soon as the eel was once again in play, it was snatched untimely from the beak of its captor, and juggled until it was facing the right way to be swallowed whole.
The eel, being still very much alive, objected - as one would - to being swallowed, and wriggled its way back into the water with all possible speed. The local seagulls, all of whom have made an art form out of being able to spot a potential light snack from a great distance, were by this time baying for blood. A short skirmish ensued, after which the larger cormorant managed once again to swallow the eel whole.
The eel being of considerably greater length than the available eel-storage capacity inside a cormorant, our villain struggled mightily to keep his lunch down. As his gullet bulged bizarrely with writhing sections of furious eel, he sank ever lower in the water.
Did the eel make a second and successful bid for freedom? I'm afraid I can't say. I had to go back inside before the drama was completely unfolded. Why, then, am I tormenting you with an irritatingly incomplete anecdote of nature red in tooth and claw? Because I thought of the title of this post on the bus on the way home and it amused me. Sorry.