Mud & Poetry – Port Eliot Festival 2017

All the Arty stuff seems to come together for me – first it was the belly dancing – then the Poetry.

This time we were back at the Port Eliot Festival – yes I’ve written about being there before – but this year was different – in a couple of ways.

To begin with it had been raining – and I mean seriously raining (should have known that a dry weekend for Glastonbury would have to mean a wet one later on!)

I normally wear only sandals – nearly all the year – though I will wear boots in winter when the rain makes my feet too cold, but not if it is dry and cold. This year, middle of the summer, I wore my sandals but packed my glittery canvas slip-ons and my common green garden wellies. Thank goodness I did.

‘Is it really bad down there?’ I asked at the gate. I have seen falsified reports of mud on the TV on previous years where they must have persuaded the lithesome girls to paddle in the mud at the edge of the river to ‘make a story’ out of what were a few puddles here and there. The guy grinned, and said, ”tis a bit’.

So wellies on, and feeling a bit weird, I ventured down. No sooner than I was though the gate and I could see the main route down was mud. (DOWN being the operative word, a steepish sloping field) I picked my way carefully down, thinking I really didn’t want to stand up before an audience plastered top to toe in mud. It was a real possibility! wp_20170730_12_49_16_prowp_20170730_12_49_53_prowp_20170730_12_50_22_pro

At the bottom, the two main tents, Park Stage and The Ace of Clubs stage tent, were marooned in a veritable SEA of MUD! Squelching through carefully this I stepped over the temporary bridge over the HaHa – wp_20170730_12_51_11_proto a relatively clean and well-drained wp_20170730_15_50_07_proarea that surrounded the main house – like a different world!

 

From here up the hill the other side, via the gravelled tracks, to the walled garden, where some areas were thick with mud, while others relatively unscathed. Here the Liskeard Poets were to give the first show of the day in the Tiddy Tent. Thankfully, this year a tent that held not just the electrical equipment, but one that was also was big enough for performers and a decent-sized audience, all undercover, with overspill space to the side.wp_20170730_10_35_28_pro

Even though we were on quite early for the last day of a festival – we had a significant audience, which grew as passing people heard and joined those listening.

Then off to look around and listen in to other poets, music, comedians, and dance to the great music in the Ace of Clubs – until it was the turn of a few of us to try our hand on that same stage. I watched as they scraped a layer of mud off of what was, beneath, a green ground mat, then scattered straw all over it. The effect of this was to gather a lovely halo of straw around your wellies as you walked across the inside of the tent. This was going to be weird – I would prefer to be barefoot while reading poetry (if you gave me a choice) but to stand there with wellies with a muddy-straw fringe – well!

The first three of us up took to the stage between the music acts, pop-up poets were designed to entertain while those behind removed or placed equipment. We performed against this – and to an audience who weren’t really expecting poetry at all – and a full bar operating in the background. A challenge we all rose to – belting it out! Here’s my ‘The Novelist’

The second pop-up poets slot we did was slightly more challenging – in that this time we followed a Pole-dancing demonstration and had to stand part way behind them as they dismantled their poles!

I spent quite a bit of time listening the poets in the more refined space of the new Poetry Tent between and afterwards and wondered how well some of them would have got on in the Ace of Clubs!  Port Eliot is always a fabulous festival – but this year was more memorable than most!

Are you into going to festivals?

Do you like the variety – the wildness – the camping?

Do Share – you know I love to hear from you

ps  if reading this on email to see the video you need to click into the blog post title at the top of the page 🙂

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Looe Literary Festival and an authorly-secret

 

‘Welcome to Looe’ the sign said – indeed – welcome to the Looe Literary Festival 2016, no longer a baby – now a three-year-old and growing and learning every year.

I was honoured, once again, to be invited to present my new book at this festival – the places aren’t unlimited, even though the brave organisers, June and Amelia, try to make space for all.

It was great to see Waterstones, led by Lee (who held my launch of Some Kind of Synchrony in the Plymouth, New George Street, branch) getting involved as the Literary Festival’s main book seller – and it was great to have the pop-up Art Gallery and ‘locals’ book shop at Archies once again (after missing out on it last year.)

The venues had almost all changed as well. Us Local Authors were in the very nice space of the upstairs of The Black Swan. So it was there that a goodly number appeared to hear my talk. Now, without an interviewer this year I planted questions to get me on my way. (*if I do this again, and you happen to come along, you might like to know that if you volunteered to ask me a ‘planted’ question you would be entered for an instant draw – the prize for which, this time, was a signed copy of The Angel Bug.*) – but this isn’t my authorly-secret.

This scheme kept me on track with the main bits I wanted to include – but I also left a gap for random questions from the audience. One that I have never had before was concerning the book that will never be published – the first one I ever wrote. I had pointed out that I was glad that it had not been possible to just pop a book up on Amazon back when I started writing – as I might have been tempted and ruined my writing career before it had begun, whereas I could now see that it was full of the worst ‘first-book’ ‘new author’ errors. (no, this isn’t the authorly-secret either) looe-lit-fest-reading

‘What were these errors?’ I was asked … and I had to admit to ‘purple prose’ – too much description, every flower, every petal described on a walk… type of thing. I also admitted to ‘far too much introspection’ as the protagonist contemplated her lot and agonised over decisions. What eluded me at the time, but I recalled when I returned home, was the lack of real driving storyline. Sure she went from one relationship to another – but she did not exactly grow in the transition – and throughout was beset with angst. I’d called this book, eventually, ‘Windmills’ – after the song title ‘Windmills of your mind’ and had each chapter headed with a different line from the song. (seems that, had I actually published this, I might have ended up in trouble for using the lyrics without permission – who knew! – but this isn’t the authorly-secret either)

As it happens this never-to-be-published book found its way into A Respectable Life. It gets a sideways mention as one of the other books that the book group are reading from the ‘Best-Reads’ short list. It amused me to put it in there but, until now, only I knew! – and that IS my authorly-secret! And now you all know and will recognise it when you read that line!  looe-lit-fest-signing

All in all it was a fantastic weekend and it was SO GOOD to meet some of my readers – especially those who have read my other books and came along specially – if that was you – it was great to meet you!!

Thank all of you, both at the book launch and after the Looe Lit Fest reading, who also encouraged me to put my poems out in book form too. I am now considering it…

Back to researching and writing now … and working on fermented foods … and researching natural healing … and sorting poems … and …

What are you all getting up to as the days draw in and the cold weather starts?

Do share – you know I love to hear from you

Best – Ann

Please, if you enjoyed a book by an indie-published author, help them gain a wider audience by doing a review on Amazon – doesn’t have to be in depth – just has to be heartfelt. Thank you X

 

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Book Launch in an Imaginary Place

So ‘A Respectable Life’ is out there now … my baby – toddling around in the world – hoping people will like it… and reports suggest they do 🙂

The book launch itself was quite different from the one to launch the paperback of Some Kind of Synchrony. That one was held in Plymouth Waterstones, particularly apt as the very same building had been the Western Morning News building at one time (and the WMN was where I had done my research for that book) and I had a ‘serious’ type interview with Simon Parker, an editor with the WMN who had been a young journalist in that very building.

This time, as the book was set in the Tamar Valley in the imaginary village of Hingsbury sited quite close to St Dominick (where I live) I chose to launch the book from the village hall – BUT the village hall was pretending to be ‘Hingsbury hall’ for the evening, in the throes of the ‘Hingsbury Art Fair’ organised by Cordelia, the ‘owner’ of the respectable life.

arl-launch-artists-and-author-med
L >R The Artists line up – Anthea Lay, Jo Totterdell, Marion Kemp-Pack, Myself, Sam Margesson and Derek Scofield

Five lovely and talented artists of my close acquaintance (most of whom either live in the parish or close by) exhibited in a pop-up way for the evening. (quite the antithesis of the carefully staged and managed Art Fair Cordelia runs in the book)arl-audienece-med

The evening was well attended – with about fifty people filling the chairs – indeed, more had to be brought out!

I presented a short talk about my writing history and the writing of the book and, after I read a piece I took questions from the audience, finishing with mentioning what I was working on next.arl-launch-cutting-the-cake-of-the-book-med

THEN I cut the cake – a book shaped and Respectable Life decorated cake. Which was the cue for drinks, nibbles, and looking at art or getting books signed.

I had a fabulous time, and I hope everyone who came enjoyed it too – warm thanks to everyone to came along!

However, if you missed out – you can hear me talk about ‘A Respectable Life’ again at the Looe Literary Festival at 2.30pm in The Black Swan on Saturday 12th November. I’d love to see you there. arl-audience-after-med

Here’s a link to the Looe Lit Fest schedule – so may good writers to see, some talk are free, some to be paid for, plus workshops and great fun for children – if you are in the area don’t miss it! {You’ll notice the Liskeard Poets on Saturday morning – I’ll be reading with them too 🙂 }

Have you been to any good book launches?

What do you think an Author MUST do to make a launch go well?

What should an Author avoid?

Do share – I’d love to know your thoughts – Ann

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***Happy New Year*** Happy New Blog

Happy New Year, Happy New Blog
       – and the first of my Saturday Smiles

2016 is the year I intend to be positive!  Despite dark clouds on my personal horizons I intend to channel my inner pollyanna and subdue that grumpy old woman that has been grinding my teeth at the idiotic ways of the world lately.

So whether you are new to my blog or not, with any luck you will find a positive vibe about the everyday-things that I find a pleasure, provide excitement (of a kind at least) or even exhilaration! If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you will also have noticed that it now comes to you in a new livery – smart or what?

Which brings me to my Saturday Smiles. For a while now I have been finding something to smile about on the internet each morning to show my 89 year old father … so on a Saturday (at least I think it will be a Saturday thing) I’ll share some of these ‘smiles’ with you.

I have just got round to updating my computer to windows 10 (didn’t seem to find the time before now – that is time when I didn’t want to be using the computer but was around to deal with any pop-up boxes that needed ticking or whatever) and I suddenly had this awful sinking feeling – I should have done this while the boys were back for Christmas… then I saw this cartoon – it made me smile – hope it does you too.

children and computers

On the bright side (see what I’m doing 🙂 ) the installation seems to have gone well, no nasty glitches, no ‘where have they hidden that?’ so far – so I am feeling pleased with myself after all.

And on a similar theme – here’s a little poem you might like  😉

  Betrayed

It’s no use looking at me
like that
innocent
blank-eyed
staring back, unblinking.

Look at everything
you have wasted,
thrown away all I’ve given
you,
not caring for my feelings,
for the care I’ve taken,
my gentle caressing
pouring my life into yours,

and now,
and now,
damn you
you say – error
cannot open file.

Here’s wishing You and Yours a peaceful, creative, happy and thrilling 2016

What makes you smile?

Do you like to look on the bright side?

Do share – you know I love to hear from you!

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Craft Fairs & Literary Festivals

It is THAT time of year – when people are thinking about  *whisper* Christmas shopping …  WP_20151105_15_26_11_Pro

… and my favourite place to shop is a proper local craft fair – where the goods are made in the area by the hugely talented lot of crafters we have in South East Cornwall (and around) There are two I always go to – and attend with my own books too – one is in my local church, which happened this weekend, the other is at the Parish Hall (for Linkinhorne) at Upton Cross which is also a treasure house of art as well as crafts … and happens on the first weekend of December – truly into the Christmas season!

Art and Craft … and books? It may seem strange to have books along at such events, but they fit in very well – what an art and what a craft, it is to create the worlds, characters, plots and lives held within the pages of a novel!  And they are local – in that the authors are local and are often present to sign or dedicate the books (though not ‘sitting behind the stall’ in either of these style of craft fair they can be found at certain times stewarding).

WP_20151107_11_12_51_ProToday, if you do not count on-line book sales, there are as many books sold through non-bookshop outlets as there are though bookshops. Every supermarket has books for sale, usually the most popular, the newest and the heavily discounted – but books that catch the casual shoppers eye – and get bought. To  have books at a craft fair therefore is no different in retailing terms – and a signed (and dedicated) novel can make a very special present.

However, it is the Literary Festival that holds up the book in the spotlight. Here the readers go to hear the stories behind the stories. How the authors come up with their plots. Where do they get inspiration from to create the characters? What are the trials and tribulations … and the highlights and triumphs. What was the hardest part to write, indeed, how do they write – most authors have their own way of working – finding out can be fun.

So it is with great pleasure that I can tell you, if you didn’t know, that I am invited along again to the Looe Literary Festival starting on the 12 of November – 15th.

SKOS

If you go to their website you can find the schedule – I am talking about Some Kind of Synchrony at 2.45 on Saturday 14th and would love to see you along there – and it is totally FREE. The venue is Upstairs @ Mama J’s  – which is down towards the sea in East Looe.  Scroll down the Full Schedule page to see a map.

 

Before me, at 1.30pm,  you will have the chance to hear my fellow Pendown Publishing author Sally Newton talk about what she learnt when researching her novel, the first of a trilogy, ‘Caradoc – The Defiant Prince’ set in iron-age Britain in AD25.Book launch poster y1

Not only that but, on Sunday at 11.30, you can catch me again with the rest of The Liskeard Poets with our set called ‘Festival’ – also at Mama J’s and also for free!

In fact this festival is so great because they have ensured that there is always something to be seen and heard, regardless of how deep your pockets are, and it is one of the most relaxed and inclusive literary festivals out there – turning the bucket-and-spade town into something completely different – a place where people wander from talk to talk with books tucked under their arms, eat and drink in the pubs, restaurants and cafes and enjoy the peace of being by a Cornish river and close to the sea, with authors, books and talks all around the town.

So – I hope to see some of you along at the weekend – if you read this blog do let me know when we meet!

Do you frequent Literary Festivals?

What do you like about them?

If not – here’s your chance! A laid-back friendly festival to try.

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Radio, Newspaper, Lit Fest – it’s a Thriller!

I’ve had a busy week in the run-up to the new LOOE LITERARY FESTIVAL (13-16th Nov)  with both a piece in the newspaper and a live interview on BBC Radio Cornwall with Tiffany Truscott

When I read about the prospect of a NEW literary festival to be set up in Looe, back in April, I was delighted … as ‘Nothing Ever Happens Here’ is set in Looe, Cornwall AND it had just come out in Paperback. NEHH_Design_Light

This book is set in the early 1990s, and I have put it in the ‘thriller’ genre. Now you may be aware that I find writing to fit one genre very tricky. You see my muse doesn’t like to be formulaic in any way. My muse likes to take something that looks very much like real life and put a twist into it.

Before I realised that this novel was a light thriller (and I’ll come back to the ‘light’ bit) I never knew whether to call it a Romance .. or a Crime novel. Let me explain.

I always thought of it as a bit of a romance novel as we have three romantic threads going on throughout most of the book. Some of these are more intense than others, some of them are teenagers, some are in their thirties, some forties. So you can see that I would think this was a Romance. However, I am assured, that it is a book that men like to read as much as women, that it is not the sort of ‘romance’ that puts certain people off.. that the ‘romance’ seems to be just part of the life of these characters.

Then again, I thought, perhaps it was a Crime novel. It starts off with crimes, and follows a Detective Inspector as he transfers out of the Met down to Plymouth. It follows some of his cases, needless to say, involving Crime. Put this together with the criminal events that affect the other main characters and we have what I thought of as a Crime novel. Yet, if you were a die-hard Crime reader perhaps you would find too much real life getting in the way of first-and-foremost crime and detection.

Now I can tell you it is a Thriller (with Romance and Crime involved)…. And it is a ‘light’ thiller because it does not fit well with the ‘shoot-em-up, improbably car-chase, blood-n-gore, stop the end of the world’ … type of thriller that I think of as ‘American-style’ thrillers.

One of my reviewers put is this way. ‘Love a good ‘English’ thriller’. Now, I thought, that really sums it up. I love a good English Thriller too (Think Robert Goddard) … but if you live in Cornwall .. and write a book set in Cornwall … best not call it ‘English’ 😉   … So ‘light’ Thriller it is.

Here’s my chat with Tiffany Truscott on BBC Radio Cornwall a few days ago – in case you missed it…   (if you are looking at this on the email – click into the title at the top and this will take you to the blog and then you’ll be able to listen in – it’s on youtube and the link doesn’t show up on the email)

If you are local do come to the NEW LIT FEST in LOOE, there is plenty going on both paid for and for free – I’ll be part of the Liskeard Poets – reading in the Poetry Invaders event 11am on Saturday which is a free event.

Then I’d love to meet you at my Author Event on Saturday 15th, 1.30pm in The Old Boathouse Café. I’ll be reading a few excerpts, answering questions about the novels, writing or whatever you ask and doing a book-signing. This is a free event too and there will also be a free draw …. Oh! … and there will be cake ! See you there

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Iron-Age poem

I do not usually post my poetry here, but you may have gathered that poetry has been part of my life for a long time, probably just as long as the writing, both taking off in my early teens. loom weight resized

Today I had to photograph a pair of iron-age loom-weights that were found in our garden when some post holes were dug.  Just holding them brings a shiver of inspiration to me, so old, so handled, such a domestic reminder that this place has been inhabited for such a very, very long time.

So today, as my life continues to be battered about by events and my blogging is curtailed somewhat, I give you a poem that was inspired by the finding of these items and, later, the activity of clearing broken branches from the top field.

Shadowing

I am gathering wood in the top field,
my back bent I stoop from twig to twig
wrapped in thick layers against the icy
north-easterly that clips the ridge
and slices down the slope.

The goats have settled further along,
near the place I found the loom-weights.
As I move towards them I step
into a silence, where the wind
skips over my head and sun warms.

Then I see her; shadowing me.
And I know she’s left the baby in the hut
her loom stripped of its thread, her man away.
Shapelessly wrapped, she stoops
her back bent, twig by twig, gathering wood.

***

Thanks to Ellen for showing me how to ‘close-up’ the lines – now I’ll know what to do if I post any more poems here

Hope you liked it anyway… do let me know ..  you know I love to hear from you.

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And this week’s excuse is …..

Ok, so the blog is late….    Radio St austell pic

Sorry… but… and here comes this week’s excuse ….

I blame it on YouTube!

You see I had a long interview with Marj James (poetry and literature) on Radio St Austell Bay – the radio station that has The Eden Project in it’s zone (you know, that wonderful place in Cornwall where I set my latest novel – The Angel Bug) and I wanted to share it all with you.

To share the interview it meant capturing from the ‘listen-again’ service and turning it into a youtube ‘video’ so I can put it on the blog.

(Makes me sounds all good and technical doesn’t it?  But I have to admit that I get one of my sons to do this as, it seems, I do not have the appropriate software to achieve this task 🙂 )

So, lovely son duly does this for me and I happily post it onto YouTube.

  !*YouTube alert – this contains COPYRIGHTED  material and will be blocked *!

Ooops! I had totally forgotten the pieces of music that I was asked to choose to go with my interview – of course they were copyrighted material!

Cue ‘excuse’ so this then meant a re-jig by (long-suffering) son to remove the offending material – who was offline when I found the problem.. and then was working  (I mean what is more important a PhD or re-jigging my interview 😉 ) .

So, all in all – here is my interview – minus these pieces of music. Daydream Believer by The Monkees, Tusk, by Fleetwood Mac (which got messed up anyway and ended up at the end instead of the middle of the programme) and Hi Ho Silver Lining, which was going to end the programme.

And now, for some weird reason of its own the ‘video’ will not ‘appear’ on my blog (as it usually does when I use the ‘share’ code.. oh no, this time I have to give you this link  below which will take you to YouTube and the ‘video’ – but don’t forget to click back to this blog when it’s done 🙂 .

http://youtu.be/wMLJi0BZjpk


Well, after that all I can say is that was another notch on my experience list – a really long interview (thanks to Marj James) and a ‘tussle’ with YouTube!

How do you get on with all the different types of social media and sharing options?

Do they cause you more stress or less?

Which ones do you like best – Facebook? YouTube? Pintrest?  Twitter? etc, or do you dislike them all ?

Do share your experiences – you know I love to hear from you 🙂

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Inside the Poetry Kitchen

Another late blog this week – but it has been a busy one – including running a poetry workshop at the Landulph Festival of Music and Art.

As one of the organisers noted the Landulph Festival has been running for ten years and I have been associated with this festival for about eight years, ever since poetry was brought into the mix, however, this was the first time that I have run a poetry workshop there.

I chose The Poetry Kitchen as my title as food is such a superb metaphor for so many other things and as I taught ‘food tech and cookery’ for a number of years it seemed appropriate. I delved into the poetry collection ‘Eating Your Cake and Having It’ edited by Ann Gray ( a wonderful poet in her own right) for some  juicy examples, sprinkled in a few of my own and stirred plenty of other ingredients to inspire into the mix.

We loosened up out concepts by taking our poetry- baskets shopping into a surreal supermarket (as suggested by Mario Petrucci in another workshop) where I encouraged everyone to think of containers that they could carry their hearts desires home in, and then a list of those things they liked. The resultant poems were fun and interesting and gave us all permission to make unusual connections.

Of my group of five, four turned out not to be writers of poetry usually, but were artists. Though presenting more of a challenge they also brought such wonderful visual imagery and colour to their words that their poems were a delight.

The list of emotions that we linked in word-association speed with foods of all types provided another way to enter a poem, where such terms as ‘lime jealousy’ or ‘pavlova love’ were possible.

Then came the fruit A delicious plate of different fruits to cut, squash, peel, smell, taste, and all the time jotting down thoughts as we did so.

I loved the idea of the passion fruit as a ‘wrinkled dowager drenched in Chanel No5’ and ‘with her rich exotic memories’ that one of the group came up with, and the descriptions of the fig that came from another!

Finally we delved into recipe books to use the form of a recipe to structure our poems and here I used one of mine as an example – it comes from an old saying and a recipe combined.

‘Kissing is out of fashion when the gorse is out of bloom’

A Kiss on the Wild Side

I’ll gather the gorse flowers
sun sharp their scent stealing away my breath.
Fill my calico skirts with their acid brightness
carry them away, every one.
I’ll simmer them together with bruised ginger
with see-through orange peel
with pounds of sugar,
then let it cool
to a rational temperature.
I’ll add, less spice than I once would,
set the jar to stand in that still warm place
at the back of my mind,
and watch the seasons through,
watch the blooms come and come.
Then I’ll see if it’s true,
if I’m ready
to drink your wine.

In the evening the Liskeard Poets (to which I belong) gave a reading which was well received and was followed by an open-mike session where four out of my five new poets each read a couple of their new poems – to much acclaim!  All in all a pleasant evening was had by all.

Quick update for the FWT? cheerleaders – remained at 9.10 but a half inch drop in waist pulled in tight AND thighs are more toned – bought my first pair of skinny jeans last week too – so not unhappy about that !

So what were you up to last week? Did you learn any new skills? Try out any new hobbies? Do share, I love to hear from you.

 

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How to make a Shark (BTT sand-sculpture)

Ok,  so if you haven’t read my other blogs on sand sculpture I need to explain the BTT (Between The Tides) As in – you are working with sea sand ( not the best – sand grains roll off each other as they dry so not as strong in sculpture) plus you have all the randoms (shells and bits of shell, seaweed, stones, rubbish) that may get into your sculpture sand, plus there is not time to stack and pack as the ‘professionals’ do as you only have the time between tides to work in (or less).

So there you are at the seaside with good sand and a collection of items to help you. A shovel or two, a knife and a spoon are pretty useful, a couple of brushes (cheap decorators paint brushes – one large one small – (about four inches and an inch) and at least one bucket.

On this day I looked at the tide, it was coming in, but I thought I had time for a shark. [click on the pictures if you need to see details or the whole picture as the thumbnail size trims it down]

1, Mark out shark shape on the sand with the corner of the shovel – give it a bit of a wiggle to suggest movement, 2,  Go round this line again, digging the shovel in deeper, 3, Dig all round the shape up to the line and tossing the waste in to the shape.

4, Continue doing this, digging from the outside towards the line and throwing the waste into the shape centre – consciously building up higher where it is needed. 5, Using your fingers knead the lumps of sand and using your hands roughly shape the mound into the approximate outline. 6, Pat it firmly into shape – using the back of a shovel to firm up the larger areas and hands for smaller areas like the tail. (Do not worry about the fin yet – but leave the fin areas rough – do not pat smooth)

 

 

 

 

 

7,  Start to build up the dorsal fin, it will be about six inches wide where it leaves the back of the shark, use loose damp sand that has come from the shaping and squeeze it up between your hands always leaving the top edge rough to take the next layer. 8, Work on a large wide curve, bringing the sand up thinner nearer the top. Using both hands, one to steady the fin, pat the sides to gently firm it. 9,  Do the same for the tail (caudal) fin.(just about visible on this pic)  Then leave both to ‘settle in’.

10, While the dorsal fins ‘settle in’ turn to the side (pectoral) fins, sweep away loose sand. 11,  Use the knife and trim to shape – again removing loose sand. 12, Cut angles on the fins and slightly undercut both front and back to make them look thinner.

13, Gently pat and brush down the whole body of the shark until you are happy that it looks smooth enough. 14, Find a some suitable shells or pebbles to use for the shark’s eyes. Mussel shells, smooth clam shells or flat round grey pebbles are best. With a little rotational movement, site these either side of the head – taking care to have them even and 15, using the knife or tip of the spoon carve the nostrils.

16, Now return to the dorsal and caudal fins. For both of the fins start by marking out the curve that will make the characteristic shark fin look – draw it gently and evenly on  both sides. 17, Do the caudal fin on the tail first – it will give you practice. 18, 19, 20  start to shave the sand away, cutting at an angle from one side then the other. 21, Thin out the top of the fin a little by shaving gently with the knife – brush down to remove loose sand. (most pictures show working on large dorsal fin)

22, Below the nose of the shark draw a line for the mouth, then draw another line just below that one – carefully cut out the wedge in between. Add some broken shells to make white teeth. 23,  Draw the gills on either side of the head – again by making two cuts. 24, brush the cuts smooth to finish.

25,  Tidy the area, pulling loose sand out to make an edge to frame the sculpture . 26, There is always something red in the flotsam on the beach – here a broken piece of plastic makes a good raw-meat look-alike for the shark to get its teeth into, 27, Final picture of the shark,  28, silhouette against the incoming tide.

Hope you have enjoyed watching me make a sand shark 🙂

and thanks to my friend Krissi for the shots where I am in them! And – it’s true – I must be a little mad – taking time to make such things that last such a short time before the tide takes them away. However, as we packed up and returned to our car, ours weren’t the only photographs that were taken of the shark – so it gave some pleasure to others too.

Latest info for my FWT cheerleaders is – a half pound down and I’m giving a talk on weight loss by using the method my sons and I worked out, at my WI on Wednesday – so that should be fun.

And I am still gearing up for the poetry workshop I am running at the Landulph Festival on Tuesday of next week – more about poetry then!

What do you like to do on the beach? Lie in the sun or do something active? Do share – I love to hear from you.

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