Friday, 19 June 2009
"She sells sea shells on the sea shore
She sells sea shells of that I am sure
And if she sells sea shells on the sea shore
Then I'm sure she sells seashore shells"
A tongue twister that we are taught as youngsters (well at least I was) unfortunately I don't know who wrote the tongue twister but it is a clever piece of word art and one that makes you think.
But it also reminds me of when I was a child. Our first holiday down in Cornwall as a family was when I was eleven years of age; I was smitten it was beautiful and we had freedom to roam with no fear. My father told us stories of Arthur and Tintagel and also of smugglers and made them come to life. He fed our souls with his stories, as my granfather had done before him.
My fascination with shells started then, as mum and dad bought my brother and I a little keepsake each of our holiday that year. Mine was a shell crinoline lady; my brother had a shell boat. I still have mine - she is safely wrapped up in storage. She is not the only shell ornament I have - she has been joined by much larger and elegant shell ladies and a little ships.
I used to go beach-combing and shrimping along the beaches in Cornwall. One place I remember is Port Isaac - the fisherman had holding ponds for storing the lobsters and crabs built into the side of the harbour and we used to go nosing to see what they had in there. Equally we were just as content with our buckets and spades collecting pretty pebbles and shells,pieces of driftwood or sand blasted coloured glass. Our buckets were useful for so many things and also for bringing water back to our home made sandcastles; complete with moat and highly decorated turrets. we were forever runnng backwards and forwards sharing our finds. A time to wander a time to dream something that kept us absorbed and didn't cost the earth we were just content to play - an age of innocence. The obligatory wind breaks, all highly coloured every one different like a flotilla of crazy flags all dotted over the beach and in the sand dunes with towels flung over them to dry and mum and dad sunbathing and enjoying the summer weather, the cautious but gentle ouch as we trod barefoot gingerly across the shingle on our way down to dunk our toes then our ankles in the beautiful blue sea and the thrill of being able to see our toes as clear as day through the water.
As children from a very early age we are taught to listen for the sea by placing a sea shell close to our ears and "hearing the sea"!
Sea shells come in all shapes, colours and sizes and you can make all sorts of decorative items and ornaments with them. They look marvellous around mirror frames or picture frames - I have made some small decorative shell frames and intend to put some suitable sea side photographs or paintings in them, and all different ones on boxes.
To me a beautiful shell is a symbol of purity a beautiful shape often gloriously coloured, sometimes with mother of pearl in - truly the seas treasure - you hope to find a pearl in there somewhere. Often it is an empty vessel a shape or form but nonetheless very beautiful a symbol of purity and it is what it is honest and no unnecessary frills.
I love the sea; I love the sound of it as it roars or as it gently slaps in to the shore come change of tide; with whirling swirling sea weed floating in all colours and sizes. The sea it refreshes the body and the soul. Even the sound of trickling water like a stream can rejuvenate and restore.
I have the makings or the start of a collection of sea shells of different sizes and colours, pieces of coral, large abalone shells, sea shell wind chimes lighthouse pictures, ships in bottles etc. etc. for the house I haven't yet acquired but I have some of the pieces up in my current bathroom. I have boat shelves with sea shells in and and a freestanding door stop in the shape of a yacht and a freestanding lighthouse (which in fact is shelves) wooden decorated gulls and birds. I presently have a brightly painted blue box frame on he wall with sea shells of different varieties exhibited therein. Ah well one day.
I am tired and jaded and am ready for a holiday - don't want much just to be down near the sea in beautiful Cornwall - and in the beautiful countryside to be free. If ever there was a place that was my spiratual home - Cornwall is the place. But it doesn't look as though I am going to get there yet - but one day I will. I can at least dream until then.
And of course there has to be a fish - this is my fish wind-chime which was bought from Bude approximately 4 years ago on my last holiday down in Cornwall.