It was only a two week trip but it felt like much longer than that! Usually on these annual trips, as some of you know, I am gone for months. Over the years I have averaged about 30 to 35 lbs of sea glass each trip, this year in 2 weeks I was able to glean 28lbs off the rugged UK coast. I love the glass here. Most of it comes from a time before plastic, you can just tell by the thickness and shape of it. Some pieces have been tossed around for so long they are perfectly rounded.
People tell me I am so lucky to comb beaches for a living or say things like “beach combing abroad…must be rough”…..well…it can be. The weather I endured this year was by far the worst ever. Most of the time I was combing beaches in near-gale force winds, rain, sleet, hail and snow….sometimes all at once! I usually come prepared for this but sometimes water proof garments just don’t live up to their promises….and I know well by now the difference between ‘water resistant’ and ‘water proof’!
It also can be quite dangerous. Just yesterday a beach comber in California was presumed to be lost to the sea. Its easy to get so focused on what you are doing that you forget how unpredictable a place the beach can be. Usually each trip I find myself in a predicament where that voice in the back of my head says “no one knows you are here, is this a good idea?” Sometimes I turn back, sometimes I am more careful, and sometimes I am already in that dangerous place and have to make choices that may or may not work out in my favor….so far so good.
This year I was on a beach at the bottom of a 160′ cliff in Scotland that I got to at low tide. I knew I would be cut off when the tide came up but found a ‘goat trail’ that would lead me up the cliff another way, so no worries. The problem was it had been raining and it was muddy. I had climbed up about 70 feet up and got to a place where the trail had washed out. It was grass straight up to my right, and straight down to the rocks below on my left and the trail was only about 6 inches wide. I was already in mud and to jump across would also land me in mud. Nothing but grass to grab on to and it pulled out of the ground easily. So after a few long minutes of contemplating my options I jammed my hands into the muddy grass as deep as I could and hopped across. At that moment I took a grateful breath and quickly moved on but that night as I lay in bed I was terrified reliving what I had done. I was truly lucky.
But I digress…overall it was a good trip. I visited with old friends and met some new ones. I found some really amazing pieces of glass, some colors I had never seen before! I was introduced to a new stretch of beaches and had an incredible day with a great tour guide. Yesterday I found a neon yellow…think Mountain Dew. I was so excited when I got back to my friends’ house to show her and it was no where to be found…must have jumped out of my pocket….I was bummed. Oh well, many other beautiful finds along with a few new ideas and designs that I can’t wait to create!