But where can I buy all the pretty???

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Sunday 20 November 2016

Mushrooms and Mermaid's Purses

(I managed to hit "save" rather than "publish" for this post, so it's a little late appearing! Apologies)

I am currently curled up on the sofa in front of a woodfire, with a dog snuggled up on the hearth. I confess that dog, fire and sofa are all borrowed - I’m visiting friends this evening. But it is just the ticket, especially after spending the afternoon communing with nature.

I spent an hour or so on the beach as planned. Sadly I didn’t get the full benefit of yesterday’s winds as the tide was still mostly in - damn these early nights! But I did collect some very inspiring bits of driftwood, some of it far more substantial than usual. It was also a good day for large cockle shells and mermaid’s purses.

I cannot resist a mermaid’s purse. My father was, until he passed away in 2011, an extremely competitive beachcomber. He always wanted to claim the best finds for himself, or at least the most. He was particularly obsessive about fossils, mermaid’s purses, and seaglass, which he used to fill glass jars and vases of all types. Indeed his beach glass collection destroyed more than one vessel which was simply not up to supporting the weight of its contents! He and both longed to find mermaid’s purses. I think he got his eye in first, but I soon followed. Up until recently though, he had logged far more hours on the beach than I had and his finds dwarfed mine accordingly. If he ever had the chance to acquaint himself with my favourite beach, I don’t know how I’d have dragged him away. So every time I stumble across a mermaid’s purse, I feel like Dad is there on the beach with me - I feel sure certain there is no place he’d rather be. And so, although I haven’t yet found a use for them, each of these reminders of him is is dutifully collected and taken home to add to my ever-growing collection.

I have now amassed quite a few mermaid’s purses and I’d like to find a creative use for them. If anyone has any ideas, please do let me know! I’m planning to try gilding a few, perhaps stringing some onto a garland. They’re not beautiful objects, but they are pleasing nonetheless and I suspect there is plenty of hidden potential if I can just hit on the right angle!

I rarely feel the cold but today the wind bit hard enough to drive me from the beach. It was a wonderful relief to climb back into my car and turn up the heating. Indeed, it was so lovely that I lingered a bit longer, taking a very slow drive deep into a forest where I was rewarded with a basketful of edible mushrooms and the kind of views most people only get to see as the backdrop to a motivational poster.

But tonight, the sleet is pounding down and I am very happy to have my feet up with a fire burning, a cup of tea and a good friend - a perfect end to a lovely day!

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