Wednesday, 9 July 2014

The other Brighton beach

It was still very windy, but a bright and sunny day yesterday, so I put my best foot forward and walked to Brighton Beach.  
My quest was to see the beach huts again.  They are world famous, after all, and deserve a pilgrimage!  We've seen them on postcards on card spinners in Hong Kong and New York and here's a few of them, in a photo I took last year. 
It took me the best part of one and half hours to finally reach the beach but no sign of the beach huts.  I knew it.  We had had this problem before.  The coastline along that stretch is a series of bays and the beach huts lurk in one of them.  But which one?  They are the most elusive gaudy bits of wood I have ever come across.  And coming across them is the problem.  I could see neither hide nor hair, and simply couldn't remember where we had finally tracked them down last time - was it to the right or the left of where I was standing?  I had been walking for a while and at that point, didn't really care!  So I walked down on to the beach in front of me, consoling myself with the fact the beach huts would look just as they had last time I saw them.  Instead I spent a wonderful hour doing one of the things I love best in all the world, shell-seeking, along the shoreline.
I sat for a while on some rocks, enjoying the sunshine, a bracing wind and the waves running in and out.
I found some abalone shells, which are fabulous inside.  They shine in silver and mother of pearl. When I was a child, I remember my grandmother had a large abalone shell on her Welsh dresser. She wouldn't have collected the shell herself.  It was probably given to her by a globetrotting member of the family.  My grandmother never travelled far from the south of England in her lifetime, so this shell, gleaming amongst her other possessions, was quite the odd one out.
The shell below reminds me of the ancient Egyptain pots I have been drawing over the past few months.  I have taken umpteen photographs of this shell, using a multitude of settings, and just can't seem to get a sharp image, but never mind, hopefully you can see some of its beautiful markings.
The wind blew strongly across the beach, blowing the dry grains of sand from the top of the beach with it.  Every time I bent down to pick up a shell, or wash one in the incoming tide, I got sandblasted.  You can see the sandy haze in this photograph.  The distant coastline is the Mornington Peninsula.
I did eventually find the beach huts but they were still quite distant from me, so I took three photographs of their bay, with the Melbourne skyline beyond.  The photographs didn't come out very well at all.  I couldn't see the image on the camera screen because it was looking into the sunshine and the buffet of a gale force wind.  
Having satisfied myself I had found the beach huts I turned and walked back to Brighton Beach train station, to take the easy way home!  

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