Monday, 26 January 2009

The Sea! The Sea!


I spent my childhood living only thirty miles from the sea. No distance these days - you could nip over the Skegness for an hour on a Sunday afternoon. But in those far-off days the sea might as well have been a hundred miles away, for we went only once a year - in what was called Trip Week. We had no transport of our own.

Trip week was the last full week in July and was followed by August Bank Holiday Monday, so that your week ended with a long week-end. All the factories in Lincoln, our nearest town, closed down that week and everyone, but everyone, holidayed then. We usually went to our nearest seaside, which was Skegness. And we went by train from the station at the bottom of our garden. It used to be so exciting, packing our cases and walking the two hundred yards or so to wait on the platform for the one train a day which went through to Skegness (on every other day of the year I would watch it trundle past with envy!)

It didn't matter that the sea itself never got anywhere near the seafront at Skegness - at low tide the sea was a mile out. And what did that mean? It meant a mile of golden sands. We would buy a new tin bucket, a spade, a packet of those little paper flags, put on our cossies and we were well away. If it ever rained I have forgotten. In my memory the sun always shone.

According to Nicholas Crane on the BBC2 programme, Coast, no-one in the British Isles lives more than 72 miles from the sea. On the map we seem to be right in the centre of the country and it is a fact that we are almost equidistant between the Irish Sea to the West and the North Sea to the East. I do like to see one or the other at least once a year.

Just as exciting is flying over the ocean - in 2008 it was the Atlantic on our way to Houston.

One year we had a hold up for landing in Gibraltar because of fog and the pilot treated us to a fly up the Mediterranean sea - now that was really exciting. And once, flying into Sharjah, en route for China, we came in over the waters of the Gulf in the dark, and the water looked like oil.

I suppose if you are born, or brought up by the sea, you develop an affinity with it. I always think it would be lovely to live by the sea and see it in all its moods. As it is, I am never likely to live at the seaside now, so I have to make do with getting my fill of the sea views whenever and wherever I can. All I can say is that I never tire of it - I don't know what makes it so exciting but it is.

The photograph above is a textile I did some years ago after holidaying abroad and looking down on the beautiful crystal clear blue sea of the Mediterranean on a sunny day. It doesn't come anywhere near the real thing, but it helps.

27 comments:

Heather said...

I love your sea textile. Some years ago we had a holiday on the Isle of Wight and I was struck by the way that sky and sea seem to be made up of wonderful subtle bands of colour. We visited a quilt exhibition and half the quilters had been struck by the same thought - there were the strips of carefully dyed and selected fabrics, stitched together. Some landscapes appear to me in similar bands of colour and texture. I too love holidays by the sea and can remember one year my whole family filled a coach for a trip to Brighton. I think we included a few in-laws to make up the numbers.

Dragonstar said...

That textile of yours is excellent. It looks so like the sea that it mush bring back all the memories. I've never been any good at working with textiles.

Hey, the word verification is GRAZIN. How suitable for you!

Sal said...

I was taken to the 'seaside' regularly (probably weekly) when I was a child. We lived only 15 minutes away...either to Dawlish/Dawlish Warren or the other way to Paignton... or Broadsands which was my fave as I loved to watch the train going over the viaduct...here's a pic..

http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/31244

I remember those paper flags too..what a treat!! ;-)

Abraham Lincoln said...

I read your post with great interest and was fascinated by your "Lincoln, our nearest town," because my ancestors were from several places in England dating back to the Roman Legions one by the name "Lind Coln" which you probably know the meaning of.

Anyway. Nice post.

Coastcard said...

What a wonderful textile. The colours are out of this world ('of the ocean'). I thought you might be interested to see my blog posting on the quotation:
The sea, the sea

The Solitary Walker said...

Ah... Cleethorpes, Mablethorpe and Skegness! I remember them well. Always loved Gibraltar Point, and its terns and wildlife, south of Skeggy - though not so keen on the Skegness entertainment(those weird exhibits with a woman with two heads etc?) Great textile artwork.

Leenie said...

Beautiful textile. I think whether you live on the beach, or hundreds of miles away as we do---the sea is still a very wonderful thing. Loved the visual of the family hauling their luggage to the train station.

Dominic Rivron said...

What a wonderful embroidery - I don't remember seeing it though I must have... It reminds me of looking down into the waters of the Skagerrak (off Sweden) on a sunny day. Was it the same? Translucent blue filaments seeming to ripple and hover in the water just below the surface. I couldn't take my eyes off it.

Ngaio said...

This post brought back wonderful memories of our `annual` holiday to the beach or sea side as you say in England.

I grew up in a very remote area of the North Island in NZ, my Father was a sheep farmer and the farm was miles from the nearest little town, all land-locked of course. We did have a magnificent river the Whanganui, not far which we used to swim in and take jet boat rides down.
Once a year, in the summer, we had a 2 week holiday at a different beach each year - what excitement. . New clothes, swimming togs (cossie),packing the car up in the early hours of the morning, usually before dawn and making our way over the many miles of windy, dusty roads until we hit the better roads close to the coast. It was a great way to see the country, we never went to the South Island for some reason my parents prefered the golden sands of the east coast - I now much rather would be on the wild west coast, so much more dramatic and wind-blowen - I feel drawn to it like a magnet for some reason ..

No where in NZ is that far from the ocean, maybe the furtherest being 5/6 hours from the nearest beach, either the west or the east coast,I have my eldest daughter and grandaughter living 40 mins away on the west coast and son and family, another daughter and family living just over an hour away on the east coast - all very handy !!

As children, we had a game we all played while travelling to the beach, it was always a rush to shout` I saw the sea first !`

Ngaio said...

This post brought back wonderful memories of our `annual` holiday to the beach or sea side as you say in England.

I grew up in a very remote area of the North Island in NZ, my Father was a sheep farmer and the farm was miles from the nearest little town, all land-locked of course. We did have a magnificent river the Whanganui, not far which we used to swim in and take jet boat rides down.
Once a year, in the summer, we had a 2 week holiday at a different beach each year - what excitement. . New clothes, swimming togs (cossie),packing the car up in the early hours of the morning, usually before dawn and making our way over the many miles of windy, dusty roads until we hit the better roads close to the coast. It was a great way to see the country, we never went to the South Island for some reason my parents prefered the golden sands of the east coast - I now much rather would be on the wild west coast, so much more dramatic and wind-blowen - I feel drawn to it like a magnet for some reason ..

No where in NZ is that far from the ocean, maybe the furtherest being 5/6 hours from the nearest beach, either the west or the east coast,I have my eldest daughter and grandaughter living 40 mins away on the west coast and son and family, another daughter and family living just over an hour away on the east coast - all very handy !!

As children, we had a game we all played while travelling to the beach, it was always a rush to shout` I saw the sea first !`

Kayla coo said...

How I wished I lived nearer to the sea.Infact I think we are as far as you can get from the coast.
How lovely to see your textile work,beautiful mix of exciting fabrics and colours.

Raph G. Neckmann said...

I love the textile art!

Your descriptions of the holiday are so vivid! It's jogged my memory of my own early holidays, I will have to sit and muse about them now ...

Robin Mac said...

What a beautiful textile. Your blog brought back memories of our holidays when I was a small child - we lived about 250 miles from the sea so our train journey was an overnight one - such excitement - and a fight to see who got to sleep in the top sleeper! Breakfast in the railway dining room, then down the mountain range and through tunnels - another great excitement as we came from plains country! The first sight of the sea was always brilliant, and like you, I only remember sunny days. Thanks for reviving the memories.

willow said...

I am mysteriously drawn to the sea, even though I come from several generations of midwestern farm folks. Maybe it's in my DNA farther back in time?

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

What a wonderful post! And I love your textile art with its great colors.

I never grew up with any real seaside experience—a trip to the Carolina coast when I was 4, and a Florida vacation the following year. No beaches thereafter for years. (There were trips to Lake Erie, which has a its own freshwater beaches, but we were going there to fish, so preferred the rockier coastline sections.)

My "beaches" were mountains—mostly the hills and foothills of the Appalachians. That's where we headed whenever possible. Therefore many of my childhood memories revolve around the ridges and hollows of these old, old mountains, always bathed in the perpetual green twilight of a dense, mature woods, where narrow footpaths lead along tumbling streams and birds sing from the shadows.

acornmoon said...

I love your textile creation.

I grew up in Lancashire, we had wakes weeks, all the factories shut for the first two weeks in July. When I moved to Staffordshire we had potters holidays, sadly we don't have many of those left!

It is a luxury to be with walking distance of a train station isn't it?

jinksy said...

I'd give a king's ransome to own that textile - and another to have been the one to create it! Although I can't see the sea from my front door, on a good day I can smell it though, and it never fails to excite. Next time it's there, I'll ask a passing breeze to blow it in your direction, too.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Somehow blue sky and blue sea become one on a sunny day Heather, don't they?

The Weaver of Grass said...

Glad you like it Dragonstar.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Memories, memories, Sal.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thanks abe - have left a couple of comments on your blog.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thanks to all of you. So glad you like my sea picture. It is lovely to put it on my blog and get an audience - so satisfying with any art.
I have certainly stirred up some memories of seaside holidays - so glad.

Bdogs said...

Our sea, here, is the Gulf of Mexico, which is unfortunately not particularly scenic, as oceans go, on account of having gray sand and a goodly amount of "tar". The "tar" is actually washings out of the oil tankers who ply the Houston Ship Channel nearby.
And yet there remains the excitement of light on water, the serenity of the silver slick of water on sand. I need to see these things at least once a year, and more often if possible. A hurricane, as we had last summer, really damages the place for a time.

thousandflower said...

I grew up in the Puget Sound area of the US and now live north of there in the San Juan islands and travel everywhere by boat. But that is not the ocean to me. My family used to travel out to the Pacific coast, near Gray's Harbor, about 100 miles away, once nearly every summer. I remember when I must have been 3 or 4 that the waves were over my head. For years I was disappointed when that didn't happen again until I realized that my head had been a lot closer to the ground then. The real ocean is an amazing place, never still, with a constant roar in the background all the time. We haven't been there for years now. Time to plan a trip.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Your textile art is gorgeous. And I do so agree about the sea becoming a part of you. We always went there for summer holidays and I still feel a strong need to be there each and every year. I especially love the seaside when it's cold and windy...like Scotland!!

BT said...

Oh weaver, that is one beautiful textile and I can see the Med in it straight away. I thought at first it was an oil painting. Gorgeous.

I too love the sea, though I was born and brought up in South London. My parents had an old caravan on the Isle of Sheppey and we spent many happy weeks there during the Summer.

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