Sunday, February 10, 2008

Shoreline Archaeology

Today, no books, no illustrators, no vintage photos or pulp sci-fi covers. Today was one of those beautiful days of maybe-early-Spring which February sometimes throws up. It was mild with that bright, brittle sunlight cracking open a wide blue sky. So we walked down by the shore.

Not a lot of people know this but Portsmouth is an island. To the North, where we face the 'mainland' is a twenty metre stretch of water which is only crossed by three roads, leading to the massive traffic problems. The whole city is on a wide, flat stretch of marshland. To the West is the harbour everyone thinks of when, and if, they think of Portsmouth. It's here that HMS Victory and Warrior and The Mary Rose languish alongside the still functioning military naval dockyard. But to the East is Chichester Harbour across which, Portsmouth faces Hayling Island. This harbour is shallow and wide, used by pleasure craft, jet-skiers and people learning to windsurf. The whole of that eastern side of the Island of Portsea is less developed, slightly 'bleaker', and more open. It was here that R and I went walking today and found ourselve at one point on a section of disused beach where there seemed to be all manner of shards of glass and old porcelain. That sand-blasted glass from the sea is lovely but you do find it on all beaches, today I just picked a few up which had different colours. But the porcelain was great, what appeared to be a mixture of Edwardian, late Victorian and one piece which might possibly have dated from the early 1800s. I know all this, not because I have had a sudden conversion to the world of ceramics but, of course, because R was there to guide me. A beautiful afternoon topped by a lovely evening viewing of a film, 'Juno' which I would heartily recommend to all.

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