We were up on the north coast on Sunday, visiting Karen's friend Abigail. She has a place in Cushendall. The beach on Cushendall gets lots of sea debris and with a good few days of amazing weather, the detritus was all dried out. Ready for picking.
To the unfamiliar, most of the flotsam and jetsam looks like the dried stems of bulbous flowers. But of course those heads are seaweed roots, their dehydrated tendrils twisted into alien, slightly creepy, shapes.
Thought so. Everyone loves a beach. Even in inclement weather there's much to entertain you on a beach. Karen is facinated by rock pools and we can spend hours poking around for trapped sea life: hermit crabs, shrimps, the occassional blood sucker, a sea snail here and there. Unidentifiable fish. Once, on the north coast of Ireland, we cornered an enormous jelly fish in a particularly deep and still pool, to study from a safe distance, until we set it free (being careful to avoid contact of course).
I like to comb. For small, pilferable natural phenomena.
I feel like I've already shown these but I can't see them anywhere in Ace Jet now so perhaps I'm wrong.
Ropes. And floats.
I was digging through a load of photos to find some to use on a small advertising project. I do have a tendency to take photos with a graphic design application in mind. Not a real, specific one, but I'll compose a shot with space in it, instinctively imagining it being used on a book or brochure cover or something. It's just a habit. I do it without thinking too much. And every now and then, the photos come in useful.
So, let's hope that in the future, someone asks me to design something to do with sea fishing or ropes or harbours so I can use this lot.
Towards the end of the growing season last year we experienced a minor mini rodent problem in our greenhouse. Just a few mice. With humane traps bated with peanut butter (crunchy) and fragments of chocolate coins, one by one, the culprits were caught, jarred and re-homed in the estate that houses the Northern Ireland Assembly.
Despite warnings to the contrary I soon had the little blighters under control and after a few weeks our unwelcome lodgers were all relocated. I'm happy to report there has been no sign of any more. Not that Karen quite believes that they've all gone. Which is the reason why she/we neglected to clear the greenhouse last year. Instead, we left much to rot and decay over the winter months.
Consequently, earlier today, I was presented with my new assignment: Clear all the shit out and make doubly sure there is nothing still living inside. Perhaps some would recoil from a task like that but not me. In fact, I jumped at the chance. Weird though it may sound to some, I find decay as beautiful as it is gross; especially when isolated and photographed against an unnnatural surface, like the galvanised steel shelves.
A little while later and it was job done, greenhouse cleared. And I can report that, without any shadow of a doubt, there is definitely nothing living inside. If you're interested, there more dead stuff here.
We've all got one haven't we? For some, it might be the Red Nankin or White Cochin. Others might prefer the classic grey base and white lined Clonmore - the graphic designer's favourite. Then there's the Merkle, Norwegian Mulefoot and the Black. You might lean towards shape rather than colour and tone: The Kidney, the one the Germans call the Ungekochtes Brot or (the schoolboy's choice) the Flat Cap (perfect skim-fodder but if it's the one for you I guess you're not going to lob it back into the briny willy-nilly).
As previously suggested, I spend a little too much time looking down. Last weekend we were camping at Castleward. Not adventurous camping. No. Cozy, easy-to-bail-out camping just an hour's drive away. OK, it was cold at night and we were in our own tent. I mean, we weren't glamping. But still, not exactly living in the wilds; Bacon and egg every morning and organic burgers for tea. A pot of espresso on the stove and a bottle of red to keep our strength up.
When we weren't huddling together for warmth, frying up a car crash breakfast or searching for the puncture in one of the air beds, we were on our bikes, heading pier-wards for a spot of crabbing. Armed with rinds for the pinchers and a picnic for us.