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The shifting sands of East Head

The shifting sands of East Head

by Clare Mansell

East Head is a sand dune spit at the entrance to Chichester Harbour and right at the eastern end of West Wittering beach. I first visited by boat in my twenties when we’d cadge a lift on whatever floating vessel we could come by, bringing with us ball games and disposable barbecues. I borrowed a sailing boat once, forgot to put the bungs in before we set sail and only noticed when I saw it had sunk in the shallow water where we’d moored it. We got it afloat and made it home just, bailing out all the way.

Later I cycled here, via the small ferry that crosses from Bosham to Itchenor, and had similar mishaps with a puncture and a passing stranger who stopped to help us.

These days we come by car with dogs and a small child and just as my life has changed, East Head is always evolving too, a constantly shifting spit of sand anchored to the mainland by the briefest of hinges. If you look at historical charts you can see how the whole land mass has moved around the clock face over the years, from 3 o’clock in the 1700s to 6 o’clock where it is now.

These places that we return to time and again become markers in our lives, ways to measure the changes while all around us the sands are shifting.

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

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view from chcichester harbour conservancy dell quay classroom

How’s this for a classroom with a view?

by Clare Mansell
view from chcichester harbour conservancy dell quay classroom

I spent yesterday morning doing a textiles class organised by Chichester Harbour Conservancy. The classroom is right on the quay and has amazing views all round the harbour. It used to be a storage facility (what a waste!) but 15 years ago with the help of lottery money it was transformed into a learning facility for schools… and occasionally for grown-ups too.

It was high tide just after I arrived and the water was right up to the quay and the sun was reflecting off it and shimmering on the white ceiling of the classroom. A more inspiring place to work you’d be hard pushed to find!

The course was how to create a harbour scene using fabric and foundation piecing. I’ve paper pieced before lots of times and I foundation pieced onto temporary backing last month for Teresa’s bee blocks, but I’ve never foundation pieced on to fabric, so it was lovely to be shown new things to do with existing skills.

And did I mention that the teaching, the view and an endless supply of tea and biscuits cost just £16?

My end result was ok, but far more importantly I’m starting to see how it would translate to a larger scale and how it could become a quilt. So that’s another thing to add to the to do list! I have a fantasy of creating a really large scale wall quilt for the sitting room in the new house… A fantasy it shall probably remain, but at least I know the principles behind how to do it now.

There’s a 2 hour course in February creating art from Flotsam & Jetsam in the same classroom and for £5. Better book a space quick before word gets out!

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Waiting for the storm…

Waiting for the storm…

by Clare Mansell
This weekend has not worked out like we planned.
Theo has a cold, the friend who was due to visit is ill, the village ploughing match was postponed and now this storm
Tomorrow I’m supposed to be going to London to attend the Next Bloggers Workshop. It was going to be my first taste of blogging out there in the real world. I have had my train tickets booked for weeks and Jim has the day off work… but you’ve seen the forecast, right?
We’ve got trees down here already and the relentless battering winds have kept us indoors (save the dog walk) all weekend. It’s driving me a little bit stir crazy if the truth be told!
But on the plus side, Jim has the day off. So if utter chaos does break loose tomorrow at least neither of us will really have to go anywhere (even if I will miss the bloomin’ bloggers conference!)
So batten down the hatches folks and stay safe. We’ll see you the other side….

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Getting ready for Apple Day…

Getting ready for Apple Day…

by Clare Mansell
Community Cider Making Day
The weather held out for us this afternoon and our team of pickers collected the best part of a ton of apples from people’s gardens for our Apple Day celebrations tomorrow. 
We’ll have an early start tomorrow to erect gazebos, transport tables and wash and chop apples. Please keep your fingers crossed the rain holds off for us and we get a good turn out. The forecast looks different everywhere I look!
I’ll report back after the weekend an I’m hoping they’ll be a little film to share with you too!

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The wonderful colours of October…

The wonderful colours of October…

by Clare Mansell
acorns
sloeberries

Gosh, autumn is beautiful round these parts!

When we lived in Canada the thing I really used to notice when we came back to the UK for visits, was how colourful winter was. I don’t think you really notice it until you have lived abroad.

On the Albertan praire for six months of the year things were a bit monochromatic. First the snow and then a spring that took ages and ages to arrive.

In the UK there is (mostly) always green grass, lichen on trees, berries in hedgerows or nuts on the ground.

My graphic design course kicks off with a “visual awareness” module next week… I’m in practice already.

ClarinasContemplations
 

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