Christopher Stocks

Island Life

Chesil close up

Graeme Walker, artist, country, morris man and mummer and curator of the Brighton Pebble Museum, arrived on Monday to see Chesil Beach for himself: after a slap-up cream tea at the Lobster Pot on Portland Bill we headed down to the beach and spent a chilly hour sifting through pebbles and collecting kindling for the fire.

Graeme found a stone that sadly turned out to be less suited to a bottle-opener than it appeared, but there were plenty of others worth looking at, subtly different yet quite distinct in their material: dark-red jasper from Devon, dark grey limestone as finely grained as a polished piece of hardwood, pale grey pebbles with vibrant orange inclusions, pebbles decorated with mysterious markings like charcoal hieroglyphics, all blended together by their soft salt glaze. If we give too much value to objects that cost a lot of money to buy, perhaps we give too little to those that are free – though, like pebbles, they are at least as satisfying and beautiful in themselves.

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