Friday, 30 September 2011

A Visitor...

I arrive back at the house to find we have a visitor. He's taken up residence in my bathroom. His name is Berty and he's already got a significant Facebook presence. My lovely son checks that I have closed the door at night to keep him safe. That's my son - not Berty! Because Berty is a spider. Of tarantula-like proportions. He's had his photograph taken next to a pen to demonstrate the incredible length of his legs (thank goodness the bath is clean!). He elicits screams from the girls on Facebook that you can probably hear from where you are. I lost him for a while yesterday. On closer inspection, he was resting inside the plughole with just his legs poking out.

I chuckle because I don't have the heart to turf him out (yet). He continues to construct fluffy balls of web and wander up and down the plughole at will. As long as he's happy and stays where I can see him, then we stay fascinated by this arachnid wonder of nature. I do have one burning question though, what happens when I want a bath??

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Holiday Averages...

Books read - 1
Stories written - 1
Beach visits - 3 a day
Blog posts - 4 (I think!)
Friendships made and cemented - 3
Insects rescued - 3
Sunshine hours - plenty
Games of Rummikub won - 6
Swims in sea - 1 (plus paddle!)
Laughter shared - tons!
Housework performed - minimal
Overnight storms - 1
Prince William sightings - 1 (possible...)

Who says caravanning is boring??!

Beach Blessings

This morning's beach walk revealed more riches in the best sense of the word. I met old friends as I wandered down the road, encountering a man who wanted to bottle my smile and a fellow-caravanner with her little dog who shared a lot of local information. That's the beauty of a small place. We all become quickly connected and useful to each other. Even when you have a holiday home, you become a part of the community. Taking part in local events has always been important to me and when you dig a little deeper there's always something exciting going on, whether it's the history society talk or a walk along the new bypass before the traffic is allowed to rush along it!

At the end of the beach is a long sea defence wall. Sitting on there with my feet dangling high above the high tide felt like sitting at the end of the earth. There were ringed plovers and oystercatchers for company. Swirling in flight and darting in amongst the rocks for food. The sunshine disappeared as cloud swept in. The sea changed from choppy blue to steely grey and the wind scooted across the full lagoon. I felt moved to tears by the majesty of it all.

On the way back I sat down for a chat with a man and his dog, who share my very same love of this special place. He said the landscape is like a magnet for him. As it is for me. A very powerful magnet that pulls me back time after time to explore the treasure and challenges it brings. I walked back up the hill refreshed in every way, to my Mum with rollers in her hair (very elegantly covered in a scarf!) and lots of stories to share. Is there a special place that keeps pulling you back to it??
Ellie x

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Treasure old and new

A walk on the beach this mellow September Sunday morning has led me on a treasure quest. Searching for materials to create a sculpture at the front of the caravan, reveals several sections of orange netting washed up on the vigorous tide and a large brick-coloured stone to anchor it with. A small piece of driftwood adds to the collection, though I wish I was able to carry the much larger pieces that have been stranded following the tail end of Hurricane Katrina.

These tree trunks and logs have been utilised as seats, camp fire surrounds and one has been turned into a totem pole. Another wonderful find is a sand spiral, made amongst the rougher sand at the far end of the beach and the spiral is in a finer, lighter coloured sand. This leads me to believe that we still revere our wonderful planet when we can. Coming to the beach and letting go of the fast pace of modern life, gives us the opportunity to celebrate the natural elements we find at our feet. We sculpt the sand into castles, moats and spirals. We build hearts out of stones and turn wood into totem poles. There is an innate need to create, blend and be at one with the natural environment.

I love coming across these beautiful momentoes of someone's time spent on the beach. I photograph them, share them with friends and tuck away the memories for life's stormier days.
Enjoy treasure today wherever you find it,
Ellie xx

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Coffee, castles and coastline...

Soft, salty rain lashes slate roofs. As most of the country basks in sunshine, the Welsh coast is a little damp. I care not one jot. Sitting in a cafe with a frothy coffee, overlooking the castle with a backdrop of pounding surf and cloud-shrouded mountains, is the best place to be. We've just explored the charity shop and found bright material for quilting and a fuschia pink jacket to light up Mum's face. Then she sits in the car as I run up and down the beach, chased by the waves and watching a heron fish in unique pool-to-pool style. Upturned jellyfish are everywhere, some with turquoise coloured innards. Turn up your collars and join me on the sand, arms outstretched like an eager seagull and laughing with the wind through bedraggled hair. There is so much natural happiness there. It's tempting to stay all day, but the beer festival beckons. I've already told Mum she's driving home, even though she's never turned the wheel in her life. Ah, shandy it is then.
Enjoy your weekend wanderings,
Ellie x

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Getting it all into perspective...

It's been a funny old day. The first serious rain in a long time is still falling with gentle and very welcome splashes onto the conservatory roof, though the colour of the sky may lead to an autumn patch of gloom and the possibility of too much television!

The three b's strike today. Burns, boredom and bigness. If there is such a word- then I apply it to the newly extended popular supermarket in our town. It's way TOO BIG. At least it is for my little legs and a lot of other people's I would suspect. It's not set up for an easy or convenient dash round anymore. We are talking hyper-market (remember those??) scale assault where you need a route map, a flask of something hot and some Kendal mintcake to survive the expedition. I made a comment on Facebook which has certainly struck a chord locally. So are we going to start shopping differently? The wheel coming full circle to the enjoyable and specialised shopping of my childhood? The big question here is , do any of us have the time for more individual food shopping or is it a question of organisation?

Back to the other two b's. I'll tackle the burns. Fingers are in recovery after an attack by boiling bean water on unprotected skin. Lesson learned. Use the oven gloves. And finally it is boredom - (I know, I don't have any excuses for this one with so many exciting projects on the go) but sometimes I am over-familiar with this b word and hence a late evening blog to rescue the brain cells from getting up to any more mischief!

Calm down. The soothing rain still falls. I'm reading The Shack by WM Paul Young and that brings it's own questions and challenges. I realise the day is never wasted even if it doesn't quite turn out the way you want it to. Goodnight from a lucky one - tucked up warm in that other lovely b-word where the company of books and blankets soothes all bad feelings away.
Night night from Ellie x

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Treasured Memories

I have just completed my first commission to write a poem for a funeral. It was a privilege to be asked and I was conscious of finding the right tone for the occasion that conveys a personal touch with humour and affection.

I asked lots of questions before writing a word and the memories shared helped me form a connection with the family member - a sort of tapestry appeared in my mind so that I could follow the colours and threads of a precious life.

The first draft was long and too wordy, the second came closer and by the third was flowing easily and required just a rearrangement of the verses. Reading it over the phone was like a meditation for both of us, where we were transported for a few moments into a peaceful space.
I'm grateful for the beauty of the experience.