Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Day 202 - Shell Seekers

There is something pretty special about taking your children to a place brimming with happy childhood memories.
Every summer without fail we used to go on holiday to a small cottage, a field away from a beautiful beach near Tyrella in Northern Ireland. There was no electricity, we had to draw water from a well and the outside loo was an old sentry box. I remember my granny cooking over an open fire; card games, swingball, sand in my sleeping bag and looking for shells. I LOVED looking for shells. I spent hours on the beach, walking along slowly with my head bowed, searching the tide line.
I must have talked about it a lot, because my enthusiasm seems to have rubbed off on my daughter. So much so that I promised I'd take her to my shell beach when we were over staying with my mum last week.
No amount of miserable weather was going to put her off: she waited by the door, bucket and spade in hand until everyone was ready to go. It was her dad's last day with us before he headed back to Afghanistan, so making the most of the grey day felt like the right thing to do.

We were lucky - we caught a small window of dry weather. Still cold though; but before you could say 'where's my jumper' she was running about in her cozzy.... 
The boys warmed up with some running..
moments later they were jumping waves....in their jeans. Daft loons.
Everything about the beach felt so familiar, and the shells were as good as ever. The kids helped me gather some up for a little project I had in mind. All the time I was scanning the colourful piles, searching for that little, elusive gem of the shell world...
...a COWRIE.
Finding one has always been special, and boy was I excited when I did! No playing it down in front of the kids. It was like finding treasure - I was yelling and waving it about....showing off basically! We found 12 altogether.




On the way back we stopped off to get a tube of glue. My plan was to see what we could make out of our shell collection - another thing I used to love doing. Now it does require a bit of patience, but worth it I think; and after a quick coat of clear nail varnish, this is what we came up with. 
Lovely little reminders of our day on the beach. 

Linking up with Country Kids over at Coombe Mill

and Suzanne's Oldies but Goodies!

16 comments:

  1. A day to treasure :-)

    We used to go to the island of Iona on the west coast of Scotland every summer for our hols and we always had a pilgrimage to St Columba's Bay to look for Iona stone and the other beaches for cowries. I must have spent days and days of my life searching and searching. I'm hoping we'll get back there again in the not too distant future - after all, my daughter, who is an ardent shell seeker too - is named after the island...

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    1. That's lovely - happy memories. Really hope it won't be too long before you get a chance to go again.
      I so enjoyed going back to our beach. When I shut my eyes I had such clear pictures of climbing the rocks with my sisters and looking for shells or searching pools - when I opened them, there were our kids running about like crazy - just made me smile. I'm getting sentimental in my old age !

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  2. Looks like a lovely day. I just showed the pics to my 5yr old daughter and i can tell you it was not just me that was impressed with your shell/uhu/nail varnish family! Her jaw literally dropped. I'd better stock up on the UHU next time we go to the beach. x

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    1. Glad you both like them :) UHU is fab but it's quite hard to control the flow! Also found it worked better if we did the sticking in stages - so skirt and body first, followed by head and so on - the waiting bit wasn't that popular with my lot, never is though! and I'll definitely do it again x

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  3. They look great, I'll have to suggest that next time my daughter brings home a bucketful of shells. Although the last bucket contained cockles, she hid it in her bedroom and a couple of days later the smell was so bad I was ready to move out and call the exterminators in!

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    1. Yikes! That must have been so disgusting. My mum says I collected a bag of dead crabs when I was little and kept them in a secret place....(don't remember!)
      You live in a perfect spot for making shell people :)

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  4. Lovely post. Also just to let you know that I've tagged you on my blog for a meme x

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    1. Thanks Gina - just off to check out the meme x

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  5. Oh my goodness, you could have been talking about my childhood holidays!Swap the cottage for a caravan on a field in Cornwall with a spring well for water and hole in the ground as a loo! The field overlooked the beach and I too spent hours with uhu and shells in the caravan! Like you they were such happy memories and it was my dream to one day live here. I still pinch myself that we made it happen. Your photos are gorgeous and clearly the family are enjoying sharing your memories of a special childhood haunt. Those amazing shell figures have made me crave shell hunting again. Just wait till I show these to my children. Thank you so much for linking up with me on Country Kids

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    1. How fantastic that you made it happen and now live surrounded by all those happy memories! Your website is wonderful, and when my husband's back, hope we'll get a chance to come and stay x

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  6. A beautiful post, just magical.
    I love nothing more than spending days like those with my family. I used to make figures and jewellery with shells when I was little :-) my bedroom windowsill at home was littered with them :-)
    I can't wait for the Summer hols in a few weeks time, I'm almost more excited than the children lol almost ! xxx

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    1. Thanks lovely Jo - we are now sticking things like mad here..The kids had to make crowns to take into school, and they've been decorating them with shells (+pasta and sweets...) Need another trip to the beach soon! xxx

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  7. What a lovely way of preserving your memories. I've never considered using shells in that way before. How beautiful!

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    1. Thank you :) Great fun to make and amazingly still in one piece!

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  8. How lovely. Hubby and I had similar childhood beaches...mine local, his not. We've taken the children to mine, and can't wait til we can head to Wales for his. Thanks for reminding me...must start looking for campsites :-)

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    1. That sounds great! So much fun rediscovering a place full of happy memories. I'm wondering whether you're going north or south? We're not too far from the Gower Peninsula - some beautiful beaches around there.

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