we are 14 people:
we are living in London, Glasgow, New York, Helsinki and Geneva:
we are posting once a week to our blog:
we are responding to a weekly changing theme:
we are re:

Sunday, 21 March 2010


We spent days running the beach, poking about rock-pools and smashing limpets off the salt bleached rocks. But the greatest thing about that pebbly strand was the tall mudstone cliff that rose up at its rear. Looming slabs of sedimentary stone that hid the most fascinating treasures; millennia old delights waiting for an intrepid and mac-wrapped young explorer to uncover them between the stratums of a turf-fringed rock.

My sister and I, who at the time was a wobbling and brightly coloured toddler, would hunt for hours with intense concentration for the extinct snails or bullet-shaped and petrified nibs of long dead squid amid the muddy rocks. Keeping our distance from the foot of the beach and the torrid rush of mucky water that would have piped us full of pneumonia and clogged our noses shut for the rest of the holiday if we had dared to take the plunge.

My only staying disappointment from those family vacations was my Mum’s repeated refusal to buy me the stainless steel fossil-hammer displayed in the shed-come-gift shop at the beginning of the beach. A delicate instrument that would have added some needed subtlety to my archaeological technique, which, up until then, had consisted of prising open the layers of mudstone by smashing them with a well aimed crack from a harder and more jagged rock. In the shed the yearned-for hammer gleamed dully between sparkling souvenirs. Jewel encrusted ammonites, compositions of crystals and green veined minerals that I assumed were imported from elsewhere as I found it hard to imagine Yorkshire’s ashen coastline yielding up anything so glitzy.

I sullenly dealt with my lack of proper equipment and carried on thumping rocks together, dealing with the broken fingernails and coarse and salty palms with a decided surliness towards my oppressoress. She failed to notice and my attitude was quickly drained by aching muscles and the drowsy headiness caused by the gushing gulps of sea air.

No comments:

Post a Comment