Celia Hart's blog about what's going on in and around her studio.
Art, printmaking, inspirations, gardening, vegetables, hens, landscapes, wild flowers, East Anglia, adventure, travel.

Monday, 19 July 2010

This is heaven to me

We spent Saturday in North Norfolk – the north-west corner, where The Wash meets the North Sea. This is where I first saw the sea, it's my defining memory of 'sea-side' It's not the abrupt cliff edge of land meeting the crashing forces of water; here the land dissolves into the sea – salt water dilutes into fresh water – mud mingles into sand. If you take look at a satellite image you'll see the patterns of the creeks and water channels getting ever smaller like bronchioles in our lungs or neurones in our brain.

Here I can hunt for special shells and treasures in the ripples; hear the whippling, mewling calls of the sea birds; feel the wind buffeting my clothes and the yielding marshland under my feet and see the purple shimmer of the Sea Lavender flowers. These are the same scenes that appears in my photo album – finding shells with my Mum; or in a framed photograph on our wall – an art school black and white photography project. Thornham is heaven to me; this is the place to go when metropolitan Burnham Market is just too bustly, when the new farm shops and delis along the coast road feel a little too suburban – I can guarantee that you will find the true peace of the Norfolk coast here.


Music: 'This is heaven to me' by Madeleine Peyroux

Marsh Samphire is at it's best just after mid-summer, the marsh has a lush spring greeness to it as the sun shines through the translucent green-glass stems. Once the Samphire was burnt on the beach to make ash that was valuable for glass making, now the Samphire is harvested to send to top class restaurants and fishmongers as a speciality vegetable to accompany seafood. We picked our own and bought cockles, brown shrimps and crabs' claws from a hut at Brancaster Staithe for our supper – washed down with some pink bubbly.

19 comments:

  1. I love that area too, probably because I was brought up there. We used to go to the mud flats near Snettisham and pick samphire as children (no-one ever warned us about tides and dangers, but we all survived!). One of my favourite sounds still is the sound of seagulls, don't get too many round here, but when one does appear it makes me very happy!

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  2. Lucky you! We drove through Snettisham - did you ever find a gold torque?

    I feel replenished in mind and spirit after a dose of Thornham Marsh air!

    Celia

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  3. This is where I live so the eulogising I heartily agree with. There is a very special beauty about the windswept areas, the isolated areas away from Sunny Hunny.
    And you had a decent time, weather-wise too.

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  4. Beautiful... I have gone all dreamy :-)

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  5. Bit of rain, bit of sun, a strong breeze - what could be better!

    Hot and crowded in Burham Market - tea shops eaten out of cake and scones!!!!

    You're the lucky one - we had a 2 hour drive to get there.

    Celia

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  6. Hi Sue - your comment sneaked in as I replied to Maggie..

    The salt marshes have their own special beauty - very dreamy!

    Celia

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  7. Sounds like heaven indeed... including your supper!

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  8. I grew up on a tidal river in New Jersey, and that's my idea of the perfect salt-water location. The tide brought in jelly fish and fish and horseshoe crabs. There were seabirds and migratory ducks. Tall grasses on the shore. Seaweed washing up with little and big crabs. I've never yearned for sunbathing sandy beaches! Your area is different but has the same "aura."

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  9. I'm a sea-sider by birth too and really miss it - your coast looks 'kinder' than ours in Northumberland; we're cliffs and dunes, shipwrecks and smuggling, puffins and cormorants, and a continuous gaspy wind from the water. Kent has nothing to offer in comparison, but we do have nice samphire, which joy of joys, comes to my house in a van!

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  10. Celia, you have convinced me that you have been in heaven.

    Your particular heaven is an area that I have yet to visit. Your words and those pictures, and the music have combined to make me yearn to get there eventually.

    Would you say that this time of year is the only time that this coast is at its best? What is it like in winter ... say December? (I do not mean this as a jokey question, but because I rarely have been able to travel during summer months.)

    I really loved this post!

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  11. Hi Gina - thank you - the supper was delicious!

    Hi Terry - your tidal estuary sounds beautiful.

    Hi Wendy - the Northumberland coast is much much wilder! Lucky you getting a samphire delivery!

    Hi Frances - I would say that summer is the best time for walking on the marshes, but on a bright sunny winter day it would have a cold bleak beauty too - but no samphire or sea lavender. The little villages and towns are a delight all year round.


    Celia
    x

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  12. I've sadly never made it Norfolk but every year we say we must! Now we've fianlly got a little caravan we hope to pootle our way east one day soon.

    I know just what you mean about the place you first see the sea defining your imagining of the seaside. We're off to our old haunt of north Cornwall this weekend where the sea is all rocky coves, craggy cliffs, lobster pots and gulls. My perfect seaside.

    Thanks for sharing. I shall pick samphire one day!
    Stephx

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  13. I loved the salt marshes. Perhaps it's why I like the mangrove swamps here!

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  14. Heaven to me too! It's our first port of call when we need some sea air - the 2 hour drive is always worth it.

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  15. Utterly beautiful - your video and 'that' song so lovely. I have always lived by the sea, I can smell it, and hear it right now and that's the way it has always been, I couldn't live anyother way and my house is just full of treasures found there :)

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  16. love marshes--the colors, smells, sounds, & the variety of life found there. plus, there're one of the best flood-breaks there are (greedy fools in new orleans drained & built on much of theirs). what a wonderful video--thanks for sharing!

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  17. What an interesting post. I love cocklea and shrimps! mmmm very seaside-y!
    love
    Lyn
    xxx

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  18. Looks lovely I do miss the sea sometimes.

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  19. Hi Steph - have fun in Cornwall! Norfolk would be perfect for a caravan holiday.

    Hi Dinah - Mangrove swamps... they sound wonderful, I'll put them on my 'to do' list.

    Hi Chrissie - a dose of sea and salt marsh air is a real tonic!

    Hi Carrie - how perfect to live so near to the sea.

    Hi Petoskystone - yes, the colours - I think that's what really does it for me :-)

    Hi Lyn - you must try some samphire.

    Hi Damo - each time I visit I say 'must do this more often'!


    Celia
    x

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I love reading all the comments (except for spam and advertising which I will delete) and I'll reply here in the comments under each blog post, it may take a few days if I'm busy.
You don't need to have a blog to leave a comment, you can select the name/URL option and fill in just your name instead of a blog link.
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