Tuesday, 31 October 2017

October Hangers-on

Well here we are at the end of October, one frost down but lots of colour still hanging on.
The log fires have started, the new central heating boiler is in and the autumn garden jobs are well in hand.
Most of the vulnerable plants are in the clean greenhouses.
 Geraniums are still in full flower.
Even our little scarecrow has decided to come indoors.
The bean row has been dismantled giving us 
a last precious trugful of beans.
Thank goodness for a compost heap ready to dig out.
Now at least there is somewhere to put all the prunings.


The last few roses looking particularly beautiful.
I have pruned back some of my roses extremely hard and they are all sprouting again. I am amazed. Such resilient plants.

And still the dahlias keep coming.
Actually today, I did lift some tubers in order to get some spring bedding in before hard frosts.

The trees at the bottom of our garden look stunning in the last rays of sunshine.

We are still picking the odd raspberry.
Even a poppy has flowered, appropriately enough.
And how can I discard these when they look like this.
The next heavy frost will knock them back.
The sweet honeysuckle is still providing us with perfume.
All the children in the family have had their pumpkins.
They have been carved and displayed this evening.
We`ve had delicious roast pumpkin and red pepper soup.
Lots left to keep us going for the rest of the year.
The autumn has been lovely so far. 
Brilliant gardening days
and lots of sunshine.
 But the clocks have gone back 
so the evenings are darker. 
And ..... we heard Christmas music in one of 
the garden centres today!!!

Friday, 27 October 2017

Seaham Seaglass

The very next day we spent a total of four hours on 
Seaham Hall Beach.
 It was a decent enough day, not too cold and not drizzling until mid afternoon. We were well wrapped up.
We made our way to the steps....

 ......all 80 of them, but we were very excited.
The tide was out which was perfect for us.
The waves were calmer than the day before but the rough tide had ensured rich pickings for us. 
As we glanced along the beach we could see other seaglass searchers armed with bags and pots.
I have to say that I was particularly glad that I had increased my squats, both in quantity and deepness because it helped me no end.
The locals call us ZOMBIES because our heads are down and nothing distracts us from our task.
But we spoke to lots of people.....dog walkers, fellow searchers, ramblers, jewellers.....all very nice people.
I even had one couple finding glass for me.
One lady told us that the previous week, the whole beach had been only sand, so we were lucky to find the shingle!!
We wondered how we would have felt to arrive and find only sand.

When I was researching Seaham, the one thing I wanted to know more than anything, was just how much seaglass was on the beach.
Well here is the answer...
.....A LOT
How can I convey to you the reader, exactly how much....
.....a picture?....just as it was found.
The fact that you didn`t have to move very far to find a great deal.
Paula did film me picking it up and I hope to add that clip here soon.
She did tell me that all she could hear from my direction was 
PING PING PING as the pieces flew into my collection pot.
I was amazed at the number of people who didn`t know what we were all doing and once or twice I found myself telling a rather potted history of the area....rather amusing since it was my first time on the beach.

In Victorian times there were glassworks in the area. At the end of each day they tipped the waste glass into the sea. The rough seas have rounded and frosted the waste glass into the most beautiful seaglass, a lot of which is multi-coloured.

Here is a link to a lovely piece, well worth a read.

Part of my first day`s haul.
When 4 hours had passed, and I hardly knew it had gone, we were glad to go to Tonia`s Cafe for cheesy chips and my hands at last warmed up.
 Back at the hotel, much later, we sorted through our finds.
Paula arranged hers so beautifully.
I sorted my special ones and here they are unwashed 
and not colour sorted.
 We were well pleased with our treasure trove and decided there and then to spend two hours there the following day. 
How could we not?
The next day I had to be dragged kicking and screaming from Seaham Beach in order to drive home!!
A very interesting coincidence..........as we were searching on that first day, a lady came up to us and said she thought we looked as if we knew what we were doing and could we help her identify the fossil-like stones in her hand. 
We said we had come from Hastings and it was our first time. 
She told us she was born in Hastings and she knew Pett Level because her grandad lived nearby.
 His name was Don Lander, Anne`s dad.
So this lady turns out to be Tim and Anne`s niece, Senita.
(I hope I`ve spelt it correctly) 
We could hardly believe it.

A few tips.
  • check the tides
  • check the weather...it is an exposed shoreline
  • wrap up well
  • stand up and talk to people....you will learn a great deal
  • be friendly to dogs....Paula swears they helped her find special glass
  • also beware of disobedient dogs....yes one actually peed in my collection bag 
  • there is plenty of glass for everyone so don`t panic
  • take a trowel and bags/pots for your treasures

 When we got home a week later, I was able to sort through my seaglass properly. I washed it in a sieve and sorted by colour.
I spent a pleasurable late afternoon taking photos, zooming in with Belinda`s advice.
Then I found out I could take great photos with my phone magnifier. They are really worth a close look.
Here are just some of them.
The special colours.
The extra specials.
The wonderful pebbles.
Steve`s extra specials.
The myriad greens after oiling.
The oranges after oiling.
The whites which weren`t white after all.

Some closer views.

We had a wonderful time.
I thought it would spoil me for searching on our own beach but we`ve spent a lovely day on the beach at Pett Level today and we`
ve all found a decent amount of seaglass, including blues....alas no "doubles," "triples" or "eyes."

Am I an addict?

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Seaham Sojourn

Ever since researching seaglass on Pinterest, we learnt that Seaham was the best seaglass beach in England.
It had long been my wish to visit.
It`s a long way, so we broke our journey with a most welcome stay with my nephew and his family in Leicester.
From there we travelled up to County Durham.

We stayed in Horden at a guesthouse called The Bell.
It was a most comfortable stay, of two nights, in cosy rooms and with very friendly staff.
Here is Inders who cooked for us. He is the owner of the guesthouse and had most interesting local knowledge of the coal mining industry thereabouts.
 Here is a commemorative plate from the breakfast room.

The bar had a wall of old photos .
And one in particular which had been enlarged from a tiny picture....
.....I think it is amazing as it looks as if you could step into the tunnel. Very clever.
The tunnels in actual fact, went 5 miles under the sea, an extra fear for those whose livelihood depended on this industry.
Surrounding the guesthouse were many miners` homes, both terraced houses and retirement bungalows.
 Seaham is about 8 miles from Horden and an easy journey.
At the moment all car parks there are free of charge which was a revelation to us. Our seafront car parks in the south, charge extortionate prices.
After settling into our rooms, and armed with collection pots, trays and bags, we set off for our first beach session.
Seaham surprised us. It was much bigger than we had imagined.
We parked very close to Tommy, a poignantly magnificent metal statue. Last year children at the local school, collected pebbles from the beach and painted them red and black to form poppies and these were laid in front of Tommy for Remembrance Day.
After home-made soup in Humbles....on the right here....
....where the waitress regaled us with stories of the huge chunks of multi-coloured seaglass that she picked up as a child.....
we made our way to the closest beach, right next to the harbour.

 Being in the north east, the sun was behind us as we faced the sea....rather unusual for us, coming from the south east.
The tide was in and the sea was extremely rough, one of the main reasons why the seaglass is so rounded and frosted.
Here we are, searching on that first day.

I have to say that we were not very impressed by our finds that afternoon and did wonder about having travelled so far!!
In the evening, the friendly customers in the bar, suggested 
eating at The Half Moon, in Easington, 2 miles away.

The food here was great and good value for money.
There was a very friendly atmosphere.
Then it was back to our guesthouse to dream of what we would find the next day.....would it be all it was cracked up to be?