The sea was grey against a backdrop of a dark, rain laden sky, a vista without contrast but with beauty in its bleakness. Small waves grumbling against the shingle beach with each vane exertion to push water onto the hinterland. The stiff breeze made us tuck our chins into our collars but the chill and the stone grey environment in which we walked felt invigorating, the extra effort needed to walk on a shifting, sinking floor made our legs ache but it was rewarded with the feeling of being alive - very alive.
The hunter-gatherer in many of us rises to the fore when at the beach, confronted by a million small pebbles and stones mixed with the flotsam and jetsam that has been washed in by the last tide. Large items like cuttle fish bones and cockle shells were fun to collect, dismembered hermit crab and dead starfish interesting to look at. My eyes constantly scanning, searching for something that glistens. At home we have a bowl that contains shells and stones collected from many of the places to which we have travelled, a little reminder of a beautiful place but each one a trinket in its own right. Today it was a quartz pebbles ground smooth by years of tidal erosion, translucent and pure like a pale opal. Things like this leap out from the myriad of the mundane, my eyes drawn to their perfection; many of our collection are thus, spheres, discs, ovals even square stones have leapt out and demanded a place amongst the shells in our travellers bowl.