Monday, 20 January 2014

Duckey Stones

The gales have subsided at last and the sky has been blue all day but I fear it won't be for long. This time the sea defences have held up but piles of rubbish have been washed ashore, mostly plastic rubbish, nylon lines and fishing hooks, drift wood and corpses including a headless dolphin and two cows. The cows were probably grazing somewhere on the banks of the Exe, wandered down to the river where the bank broke away and the cows slid into the river to be washed down to the sea. Time was when more exciting treasurers could be found, for the very lucky a Spanish Dubloon might waiting for the sharp eyed treasure seeker, more often it could be a Duckey Stone. A couple of generations ago children would use these to play what in our day we called Jacks or Knuckle Stones. To some the Duckey Stone was no more than a piece of dull grey metal but to the wise it had once been a Maria Therese Dollar. Perhaps there are still a few lying among the pebbles - who knows?

Thursday, 9 January 2014

The Storm has passed

I've just been looking at Stuart Morris's video of the storm raging around Portland Bill on You Tube. Words can't do it justice, I strongly suggest you type Stuart Morris, Portland into You Tube. Today the sky is blue with a few fluffy clouds but did you see the weather forecast yesterday evening? There was a very deep low lurking out in the Atlantic so I fear there will be more to come. We seem to get major storms and floods about every twenty years. I remember the one in 1989 when Chiswell was really flooded but the Navy was still here and came to the rescue with rubber dinghies taking people from their homes to higher ground. When the storm died down they helped dry out the flooded homes, took carpets to the helicopter hangers and hosed them down to get rid of the salt, then dried them and helped to relay them. The older generation shook their heads saying 'You don't have carpets in Chiswell!' All the older cottages had a stone slab in the middle of the floor which could be lifted to let the flood waters get away, in Chiswell you just learned to live with the weather. After a storm like the one we've just had beach combing can be very rewarding - who knows a few ducky stones may have come to the surface. Ducky stones? I'll tell you what they are in my next posting.

Saturday, 4 January 2014

In December 2012 I was complaining about the rain, it was nothing compared to what has been happening in the last two weeks. Great grey rollers have been racing across West Bay topped by white horses and for those with eyes to see, the ghosts of the past sailing ships have been careering to their doom. Beachcombers have been staggering up the Chesil Beach with armfuls of drift wood, some hoping that perhaps the storm will uncover treasure from the wrecks of the past, maybe a duckey stone or two? Phoenix House was published as a paper back couple of years ago and I thought my cup of happiness was full to over flowing until my wonderful publisher Graeme K. Talboys said he had turned it into an ebook. That was the moment when I felt that Ginny Pullen and her sister Lou had really come alive; already I am planning to put writing time into my diary, the need to tell the next chapter of their story is about to take over my life, however my first task is to rescue the characters in the two novels I was working on two years ago. At the same time I intend to continue reasearching into the folk lore and legends of Portland, instinct tells me that my findings will play a very important part in the Pullen girls lives. For over a year I have had little time for writing or posting to this blog - apologies to any one who has taken the trouble to visit, I can promise that, disasters aside, I shall be posting regularly from now on.