Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Seaweed Green




The notion of slithering into a wetsuit and battling with towering August waves seems so very long ago now. As does having time to relax on the beach with a book – or rather, ignoring the wind-whipped sand while clutching at pages.
Instead, my last few months have been meted out in a rhythm of food, essays, sleep and choosing outfits for sixth form (oh yes, that last one is just as important!) My inner metronome currently ticks away through word counts and Latin vocab lists, with only the occasional beat reserved for personal writing. I do love my new sixth form college though, despite the limits it has put on my free time.

To recall the sense of summer for a minute, here are some mermaid themed photos – styled with a vintage green dress and hair made curly by salty seawater swimming. My mum took them in a beautiful little village on the Welsh Coast called Llangrannog. The sand under my bare (and I must say rather cold) feet was steeped in recollections. A sprawling set of houses is fronted by a cove encircled in rocks like protective arms. It was the place that my family and our very good friends holidayed every year when I was considerably younger. This summer was the first time I had returned since.
It’s odd re-visiting locations that make up childhood memories. Sometimes the disappointment can be overwhelming – perhaps we would rather keep recollections untainted and free of new experience. On the other hand, I left Llangrannog this year loving it more than ever. I stayed with the same family friends in the same cottage we always used to rent. There was a new kitchen, but the apples in the garden tasted the same. Hairline cracks in the front room showed where I had once inadvertently pulled down the curtain rail and a large chunk of the wall with it (in my defence I was being a “brave explorer”). But my friend Esme (she of the backbone brooch) and I no longer discussed our barbies’ attire, but instead how early we could drag ourselves out of bed to complete a sunrise-over-sea shoot.
The various rooms and furniture in the cottage felt smaller. However, the height hierarchy among ‘the kids’ has remained roughly the same. We re-created a snapshot of me, Esme and our respective younger siblings taken 8 years ago, perching on the wall in ascending height order outside a cafe that serves ice creams tasting of summer. The original photo is blue-tacked in our kitchen at home, with our gap-toothed grins and ice-cream smeared faces offset with faintly tacky t-shirts and jelly sandals. This time I was wearing vintage culottes and a cable knit jumper.

Nevertheless, being teenagers has not hardened us to the delights of childish activities. As the sun melted over the waves on the day we arrived, Esme and I decided the smartest thing to do would be to paddle. This jumping over waves turned into fully-clothed swimming, until our hands and feet were thoroughly chilled. We emerged to eat hot chips, with our wet hair leaving pools in the sand.

Aside from trying to give ourselves colds, and the occasional bout of excited dolphin spotting, our families also re-trod in the echoes of clumping wellies. A journey to the nearby headland, which I recalled as a trek worthy of Scott and a team of husky dogs, was reduced to little more than a stroll with pit stops for handfuls of blackberries. The location reminded me very much of Sylvia Plath’s poem ‘Blackberrying’:

“Nobody in the lane, and nothing, nothing but blackberries.
Blackberries on either side, though on the right mainly,
A blackberry alley, going down in hooks and a sea, somewhere at the end of it, heaving”.

Like the blackberries, my time spent revisiting various places and moments of the past was almost always sweet. The only sour note was a result of coming face to face (well, foot to fin) with a weaver fish – a spiny little beast that loves to hide under the sand on the British coast line and sting people’s unsuspecting toes with a venom that feels ten times worse than that of an angry wasp. Although they are technically harmless, neither my purple, swollen foot nor I were very happy – especially not when faced with the prospect of immersing my foot in near-boiling hot water to draw out the painful poison.
Yet, two hours later and I was back with my family and friends scrabbling around with spades to build an intricate system of moats and sand walls. Our aim was to keep back the tide for as long as possible, but as King Canute could have told you, the water shall always win.

I also recently wrote a guest post for the wonderful and warm-hearted Bella of Citizen Rosebud. I was thrilled when she asked me as I have so much respect for her and her work. You can see my musings on buying vintage here.

52 comments:

Katrina, said...

Beautifully sacred and quite intricate. Your style of writing is very captivating. And the dress is a very beautiful gem color. >'.'<

Emily, Ruby Slipper Journeys said...

I very much enjoyed this post. And the location rather reminds me of Whitby, down by the cliffs...

alexandratherese said...

Oh Rosalind, I was sat here in a midst of homework and to do lists when I spotted your new post and I have to say it has calmed me so much and made me think of my own summer swimming in the waves and eating fish and chips on the beach as the sun sets. It is these memories which will last forever - the simple pleasures of a summer holiday. I have to say I can sympathise with your weaver fish sting - it happened to me last summer and I hobbled up to the lifeguard hut to be greeted by a bedraggled group of similarly pained bathers all with their stung feet soaking in blisteringly hot water to try and draw the sting out. Not pretty!

So glad you are enjoying sixth form - my year is going really well and I can't believe it's November already! Much as I love school life though I really wish I had more time to dedicate to my blog - I posted for the first time in a month this week and it just felt so good to right something which wasn't an essay or practise exam paper!

Take care, Alexandra xxx

The Fancy Teacup said...

That dress is such a heavenly, mermaid hue.

www.TheFancyTeacup.com

GoNcha GoNcha said...

Hi! I am new to your blog. Loved it! Have a Cupcake week;) http://gonchagoncha.blogspot.com/

Ireland Casswell-Clarkson said...

The beach is beautiful as are the vivid pictures that story brings to mind.
Absolutely stunning Photography and post.

Amoniel said...

Sounds absolutely lovely, all of it. Brings back memories of Oregon.

Closet Fashionista said...

Wow such an amazing location! I love the first photo :)
I know what you mean about visiting places from your childhood, sometimes is AWESOME and other times its not as awesome as you remember....
http://www.closet-fashionista.com/

adrielleroyale said...

Sea Green indeed!! I love your hair in these photos, you look beautiful :)

AvaPilar said...

Another good blackberry poem is "Blackberry Picking" by Seamus Heaney. He's a lovely contemporary poet. Beautiful photos, they remind me of the story of Ondine.

Ms Jelena said...

Lovely photos!

Polka Princess said...

Loving the silhouette......and the beautiful sea green is just glowing against those moss-covered rocks.....

The life after said...

The colour of the dress is incredibly beautiful! You look great!

The Life After

awishisarainbow said...

Such beautiful photos...you have some lovely locations for your photography!! Nice to hear of a holiday full of such nostalgic memories :)

Nelly said...

Stunning as always.You would make a beautiful mermaid

Rachel, Cold Knees said...

This place sounds perfectly full of memories. Whenever I go to France now where my mum is living at present but where I used to go for school holidays for 15 years, I return to the past. Some things have remained the same over the years but others have changed in a way that makes me wish I was 8 again, building tree houses in the woods for hours on end with friends who have long since left that part of the world..
Anyway, your green dress is really lovely, it stands out so well against the rocks.
xx

bollykecks said...

Oh Roz how is it possible your hair is so long and is so beautiful for its length, you're getting really curly :3
Beautiful and I love the Sylvia Plath at the end!

sacramento said...

Wondeful photos, my dear Rosalind. I love to know that they are un-edited.
Much love always.
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

isa telaraña said...

The photographs are so pretty..., the dress is the more beautiful green dress I have ever seen!!! Congratulations to your wardrobe.

Zorian said...

Beautiful, Mermaiden.

Lydia said...

This is the perfect setting for that dress! You look so pretty and otherworldly.

West End Girl said...

You are very ethereal, especially in such a setting as this! You go to such beautiful places. You have captured that wariness of childhood memories, and yet the inexplicable draw that those places we spent our young time in have over us so perfectly.

West End Girl x

Carla said...

YOu have such a way with words. The photos are beautiful too. Carla

SymbioticLife said...

Both your mother and yourself are incredibly talented. The photos are stunning and your writing is really beautiful. So sorry to hear about your encounter with the spiny fish. I dread the day when I might have such an experience.

Rosa Fay said...

Beautiful, just beautiful! The colour of that outfit is so striking against the dark background of rocks.

And your hair! I don't think I've seen it that curly before.

Really wonderful, roz!

Sasha said...

Amazing dress I love the green, and the rocks. Also loved the stuff about the beach when you were younger, relay made me thing of when I was little and going to the beach.

Stephanie Hoff Clayton said...

The weaver fish sounds dreadful. Almost the only things in the Caribbean Sea that we had to watch for were sea urchins and fire coral. Ok, barracudas and sharks, but honestly, they were never a danger.

It's those who have short summers who appreciate it the most, for what's fleeting is most precious.

Beautiful post, Roz.

The green of your dress and the moss against cool grey stones...breathtaking!

100%soie said...

oh my God, you are so beautiful !! I just discovered your blog and I am fascinated by your style !!!! I hope you projects will be done !!!
Beautiful, thank you for these stunning pictures !

http://100pour100soie.blogspot.com/

Evi said...

Great outfit..love this color!!!!!!!!!


Evi xoxo

http://thenotebookofafashionlover.blogspot.com/

woreout said...

Simply breathtaking. Perfectly styled for the ah-mazing location you choose. The dress is stunning on you, beautifully written post as well.

Mihaela said...

Gorgeous dress and wonderful memories...old and new.

The Foolish Aesthete said...

This was so enchanting, like the sea mermaid you are! I was hooked from the moment you measured time through your rhythm of food, essays, sleep (much better than J. Alfred Prufrock's melancholy measuring of life in coffee spoons). Sorry to hear about the weaver fish incident! I've had wonderful sea-side holidays (slightly) spoiled by stepping on a bee in the sand or grazing my foot on allergenic coral too. I love all the imagery of you and your friend, Esme, frolicking in the sand and waves. xxx

Celynne said...

Lovely dress, such a great colour! And pretty photos. Sounds like a nice trip.

Pearl Westwood said...

You make a lovely mermaid, I look forward to reading you guest post x

Aureart said...

Ciao, Hi there ,
Meravigliosa, That's Art . . . Cheers!
Che Poesia, che Fascino, che Arte . . . Molti complimenti per il tuo Talento !
Ciao dall'Italia
Greetings from Sicily by fellow Artist Aurè

San said...

Wow, lovely pictures, the colors and composition are truly amazing. (Sorry, I'm back to lazy a** mode, so I still haven't read the text, but I'm sure it's fabulous as always.)

Enjoy your weekend.

SabinePsynopsis said...

So beautifully mermaidish... Just beautiful, Rosalind. And it brings back the summer in my mind. X

Old Cow said...

oh! I am swooning at these photos. They are wonderful.

There is a recurring word for your photos....HAUNTING. For are haunting in the most beautiful and mesmerising way!

scientistchic said...

Wales is where all the cool people go on holiday :) (I just came back from a chilly October break there). Although my first reaction to seeing you perched on seaweed covered rocks in a beautful vintage frock was 'oh no, think of the stains!'. Probably shows how very old I am starting to get... But we make sacrifices in the name of fashion, and the shots you got are just stunning - every inch the Celtic syren. x

capelli corti e ballerine said...

your blog is beautiful!
kiss
veronica

Fashionistable said...

Monumental natural beauty I think sums up these shots. I could just imagine you all on holiday from your wonderful description. Xxxx

Caroline Ergy Erg said...

These photos are stunning! I love the mermaidy feel to them :)
xxx

Izzy/Bella said...

These were lovely pictures! A very dreamy vibe to them. And I loved the poem...I didn't know that one! My favorite of hers goes something like this and yes! Makes me think of you saying it:) Not to me or anything haha, but in a style post!:

I shall sit on a rock off Cornwall and comb my hair,
I'll wear tiger pants, I'll have an affair.
We'll meet in another life, we'll meet in air. Me and you.

I might have it befuddled. It's been too, too long since I've read some poetry.

Thanks for the inspiration as usual.
xx
Izzy
www.misadventuresofme.com

Pull Your Socks Up! said...

Hi Roz, What a wonderful relief it must have been to rediscover your Welsh rocky cove untainted by the disappointment that so often comes with adulthood. My hubby wants to visit my homeland, New Zealand, but something holds me back. I don't want to be disappointed ... or more importantly, him. I think the key is to visit places in NZ I've never visited before, then it's new to us both:). The green dress was an inspired choice - what a magnificent location to showcase such a lovely piece. Oh, I finally got my grubby mitts on a copy of Sept UK Vogue and trawled through to find your wonderful photo!! I love the leopard-print gloves:)) xoxoxoxo

freny said...

Love this post! Looks stunning in these green <a href="http://www.loudstarbazaar.com/shop/brand-mon-peche-mignon/mon-peche-mignon-sheer-lace-dress/p_8.html>Feminine dresses</a>.

Ida Ayu Melati said...

I like that dreesssss :D

Hailey said...

I really like the colour of the dress! :)

Hailey from http://squidsquads.blogspot.com

le monde de skadiida said...

beautiful! (:

xx

skadiida.blogspot.com

Wild Flower said...

These pictures are stunning. I would love to visit this place :) And that green dress was perfect for the scenery, I love it! I totally know what you mean about relaxing on a beach reading a book, seems so long ago!

Kaylee
xo
Wild Flower

Not Just A Pretty Dress said...

I thought I've never liked short stories, but I changed my mind since discovering your blog as every post is like reading a new chapter of a book full of different tales. Love the third image: your silhouette and pose are so elegant.

agent 0017/shay said...

I must say, I just found your blog, and completely fell in love with it! These pictures are beautiful, and I love how your photoshoots are very well thought out and oftentimes tell a story. As for this post, I completely agree with what you said about holidays. Going back to Cape Cod every summer, I see how much it changes -or, rather, how much my cousins and I change. Very well written post ;)

Ellie Jane said...

I can completely sympathise with the arduous task of learning Latin vocab,I have quite a few sheets sat next to me which I really should be attempting to learn! Out of interest what have you taken at a-level? I'm considering which subjects I want to study next year, but I'm far too indecisive for my own good!

As always your photos are beautiful, the contrast between the stark background and the green of the dress is breathtaking. Your writing never fails to captivate me.