Monday, 22 January 2007

Precious stones.

Between the ages of three and four, I was given a little basket, woven of sea-grass, from my Dad. I remember digging in the garden one day and being attracted by the colours of some smooth quartz pebbles. There were milky white ones, black and white marbled ones and orange-coloured ones. At the time, I remember liking the chinking sound they made as they jiggled about in the basket.

Each year while on holiday on the island where my parents grew up, we would go for picnics along the shore and enjoy exploring the rock pools. Often we would find butterfish, eels, sea-anemones and hermit crabs. I would spend part of these sunny afternoons looking for a pebble or two to bring home as souvenirs, adding to the collection in my basket.

As a parent this habit was renewed when my husband and I went on seaside holidays with our boys. One afternoon, at the end of a gloriously hot day, we were caught in a sudden shower of heavy rain, while clambering up a fairly steep, and now slippery, cliff path, with our small collection of coloured stones and pebbles.

Back home, after washing off the salt spray and laying them out to dry in the sun, they appeared much duller out of the water, whereupon we decided to get some small paintbrushes and begin the painstaking job of giving each one a coat of varnish. Later that day we had fun arranging them under a corner of one of the patio windows.

Throughout the grim gales and storms that Winter brings, we would look at our little collection of brightly coloured stones and pebbles and remember that wet day in Summer, scrambling up the cliffs with our contraband.

No comments: