Remembering Happisburgh

I have been thinking that one of my “new” stretches of coast should have groynes. The ones at Leigh-on-Sea were important for childhood rituals of tide-running, but I feel I should have a new set of groynes to play with. I have just remembered that a visit to Happisburgh when I was at college sparked off a whole batch of sculptures based round groynes and captured stones. I may even have some of the baltic pine “stones” that I made and those wooden “stones” sparked off some other works too. This was all forgotten – perhaps because it was not very good work?

So will the “rules” allow me to pick a place like Happisburgh that I have visited only

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What causes this?

What caused this collection?

What is it that motivated me to pick up a collection like this on my last beach walk? A vaguely familiar looking bit of green plastic, a yellow bead, a couple of shells of little cockles, a fish skull (species unknown), an arc of nacreous shell and a blob of aluminium. What is my unconscious trying to tell me?

Vitalises the wrong things?

I have always abhorred the needless vandalism that littering is. I don’t have so much of a problem with small items that break down quickly (though now as a non-smoker I an appalled to discover how long it takes for dog-ends to degrade – I’m sorry!) and there is a case for things like apple cores and cherry pips to be given a chance in the wild perhaps, but why are people too lazy and too thoughtless to take home the things they brought with them to the beach (or anywhere else)? (That goes for dog shit too!! Dog shit can be a river and sea pollutant as well as unpleasant and possibly dangerous for humans.)

But like I said,

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Surf music

I have been listening to surf music And watching the shadows of the seagulls Skim across the shore The wind is up Beating a roar on my eardrums Flapping out the tempo on the flagpoles Salt rime on my beard and frost on my specs In the harbour There’s a stately dance Up and move to the right Down and to the left “All together now” They need more practice And over in the corner The locals crowd and shuffle to get a view Like the Lowestoft poor watching the ball on the pier Nudging and winking

A short walk on Seatown Beach

A while ago I wrote a piece about a walk I took with my daughter. As it encompasses some basic ideas that are important to me about walking on beaches I quote it here:

A short walk on Seatown Beach

Things go with things on the beach. It could be green lighters or yellow plastic beads or orange peel and orange string. Today it’s a quartz day. (When is the quarter day? What is a quarter day?) I remember the winter day when it was a mermaid’s purse day here at Seatown: mermaids’ purses and whelk egg sacs.

Once, at Burton Bradstock, I recall the day it was a spider crab day and it looked like a spider crab

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Starfish on the toast

When Donovan sang “Fine rock pooling coast | this starfish on the toast | the men in the crabbing boats they cry” I don’t know if he just made up the name “starfish on the toast” to rhyme with “coast” or it really is the name of a place. Whatever the case, I think that I should choose at least one “rock pooling coast” in my selection of sites to discover, as many of my important beaches from the past don’t have rock pools as a major feature. As a child I never spent as long as I wanted in rock pools and I never had a net and bucket to explore them fully. Perhaps now is the time to

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Another dogfish day

A week or two ago a fisherman said he had only caught a dogfish. He said it in a way that left me in no doubt that he had had quite a few “dogfish days” recently. He bore his disappointment stoically but I could tell that a dogfish was little better than no fish at all. Since then phrase “another dogfish day” has been rolling round my head as away to describe determination to continue in the face of disappointment, but today was a “dogfish day” and I wasn’t disappointed. I found a couple of dogfish washed up on the beach and although there is always a little pang of sadness at the death of any creature it is also

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See and select

I find it difficult to re arrange things on the tideline (to make a better photo for example). The serendipity of Nature’s arrangement coincident with my passing by is what excites me. Seeing patterns on the sand that are fresh each day and have never been seen before and will never be seen exactly the same again that’s what excites me. I have taken and placed items in the natural environment and can see myself taking and placing things in the future. I love the fact that humans have sculpted the landscape in so many ways – domestically, ritually, agriculturally, militarily, religiously, industrially, culturally, commercially, socially, egotistically, spiritually, artistically – and love the fact that you can read these as

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Albatross seen off Dorset coast

There was a sighting of an albatross off the Dorset coast a few days ago. Twitter was all atweet with it. There is info on the Marine Life website. This bird normally a denizen of the southern hemisphere is rarely seen in our waters.

Tidelines pencil

I’m calling this seaside project “Tidelines”. The idea came from finding a pencil on the beach and drawing beach pictures with it. Is a bit hackneyed probably, but it does cover drawing and writing. This blog is to record source material, my trips, poems, ideas, writing, photographs and, possibly, early scribbles: a mix of journal, scrapbook and sketchbook. The photo shows the pencil exactly as I found it. I sharpened it and wrote on a pebble.

Pencil found on Cogden Beach

I think I’m back to 15 places: there are sites from the past in cannot ignore! I think Bridport – the Jurassic Coast from Charmouth to Cogden Beach – will be a link and pivot, past present and

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