Monday, 14 September 2009

Shells, shells shells!!

I have a bit of a growing obsession - yes another one, but where this one came from I'm not too sure - yet its one inspired by nature and is free to collect. It developed from my holidays in Northumberland with the parents this summer - dragged alone to get me "away" from my dissertation. Picked up on the way we spent a week in Amble, a little seaside port historically expanding through exporting the regions coal. Within the wider county context, Northumberland and its coast is amazing, its tranquil, clam and serene, the people are amazingly friendly and the rock pools are a delight.

While I can spend hours searching in rock pools, I never can find anything in them, even when trying to draw them out with old dry bread - a trick even the BBC One show tried - and I guess if they did it then it must work. Apparently not - or the Geordie creepy crawlies hiding under the seaweed covered rocks aren't fooled too easily, or they prefer M&S bread?!

While Amble may not have had the longest or long stretches of sandy yellow beach itself (travel further down the road and Durridge Bay will provide you with that - ah bad memories of the Plank) it has a chest of shells of all shapes, colours and sizes, carry on a few days later and a trip to Holy Island and the collection grew and grew. For the past three weekends I've called for the parents to wander along the delights of the East Yorkshire coast to continue my collection have all been painted, only to add to my collection.

My collection is mainly made up of the typical British seaside shells you can pick up along the east coast - of limpets (rough edged to worn out and smooth) to purpley-blue mussels, cockles to curly wurly ones (their names I fail to know). While I will not profess to being any geek or knowledgeable source of information regarding shells - I don't really know how they are made tbh (in turn I make up random names for them) I've always being interested in them their shapes and their amazing colours. I have often collected them from the beaches but with no real intentions or ideas of what to do with them afterwards.

So now I have jars, big old sweetie glass jars and a tin of varnish hunted out from my dads garage (I did start with clear nail varnish but it wasn't as shiny) I coat them all, even coloured stones and they shine, they fill up my jars and due to all their colours they are rather impressive to look at. I want to fill up vases of them, line them up on a window-still and let the light shine upon their edges.

The Northumberbia curly wurly shells

So if you want shells of all kinds then Northumberland is the coast to head for, otherwise so is Filey for mussels, Flamborough for Limpets. Just don't head for Spurn Point - there really is nothing. Only the shells where hermit crabs live in and if you want them shells - well you have to take the crabs with you!

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