Beachcombing for Treasures

Since the beginning of December, here in the UK, we've experienced the delights of storms Desmond, Eva, Frank, Gertrude, Henry and Imogen (in fact as I write this, Imogen, with her 80 mph winds, is currently knocking on the windows and rattling the roof, which is a little unsettling).  The next one will be Jake, but hopefully he's not due on these shores just yet.

If you're into beach combing, as I am, then the best time to go is following a storm when the waves churn up and bring in a greater variety of bits and pieces (some of them good, some of them not so good), depositing them on the tide line where the sea reaches the farthest in inland before turning around and going out again.

There's always plenty to see from a wildlife point of view.  You can't miss the cuttlefish bones because they are white and stand out against the brown pebbles.  After a storm they appear to be everywhere - and to think that people pay good money for these in the pet shop because they are a good source of calcium for birds and reptiles (although when I had the chickens they weren't interested).  You can also spot the egg cases from skates and sharks - also known as mermaid's purses (I prefer that name).  Fortunately the baby creatures have long left their temporary home by the time the case hits the beach and are swimming happily in the sea.

The range of shells washed up become much more interesting, which makes me wonder how far they have travelled.  Occasionally we've had turtles washed up on the south coast which have travelled all the way from the south east of the USA, so anything's possible.  I think one day I'd like to find a message in a bottle ....

From a creative point of view, the seashore provides interesting colour palettes which seem to change with the seasons.  In the winter there'll be loads of dark greens and browns from the soaked seaweed, along with flecks of colour from the shells and bits of old fishermen's rope.  But in the summer, with the lighter skies and the drier beach, the colours became much lighter and more golden - mother nature is a great source of inspiration when it comes to mixing colours.

Most of all, I'd really like to find some interesting pieces of coloured sea glass for jewellery making.  So far, I've been unsuccessful but I'll keep looking and, in the meantime, I can use the interesting shells as props for photographing my jewellery pieces.


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