One of the most exciting things about Cornwall is the beaches. Miles of beautiful golden sand and gently splashing waves. I have my favourite, which is where my children dammed streams, built castles, explored rock pools and played for shivering hours in the water during their formative years and to which I still return regularly when I need the type of space that only an empty beach can supply. But now I go there for another reason too; I go to play with my ceramics. I dig a big hole in the sand, put my biscuit fired pots into it, wrapped in tiny bits of leaf or seaweed, build a fire over the top and set fire to the lot. Then I sit and wait. Hours later; when the sun has come up and tracked most of the way across the sky; when the early morning dog walkers have been replaced by families who have pitched their shelters, eaten their picnics, played until they drop and gone home again to be replaced by the serious surfers if the conditions are right; when the tide has receded all the way down the beach and is threatening my toes with the last ripples of the incoming water, I dig the cooling pots from their pit and carry them gently home. I resist the vast temptation to take a peek because at this stage the pots as incredibly fragile. Once they are properly cool I carefully ease them from their wrappings, wash them gently and polish them to give the colours a boost and there you have it – Smoky Pots! On a page of this blog, coming soon —–
The extraordinary thing is that so few people show any interest in what I am doing. I always make sure that I am tucked out of the way for safety reasons – I would hate some small child to run across my hot embers – and I go below the high water mark so that I am confident that I can leave the site completely cool. I also remove all signs that I have been there at the end of the day but I cannot get over the lack of curiosity that other users of the beach exhibit. Now if I saw someone sitting by a fire all day on a beach without actually cooking their lunch I would eventually go and ask what they were cooking. But I suppose that is just me!
I agree – how could you not want to go and see what someone is doing with an all day fire on a beach?!
Curiosity and insularity: there’s nowt so queer as folk!