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Strands: A Year of Discoveries on the Beach Paperback – 6 Jun 2013
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"A fine book… Transparent, undeceived prose" (Kate Kellaway Guardian)
"Compelling … well-contextualised, sharply-observed, clued up, environmentally aware and deeply researched" (Independent)
"With clarity and candour, in the natural voice of a modern storyteller, she tells what she sees at the intersection of herself and whatever is delivered to her by the tide" (The Times)
"Sprackland has a wonderfully curious eye" (Financial Times)
"Simply gorgeous ... One of the finest piece of writing, nature or otherwise, to emerge this year" (Big Issue)
Featured on Radio 4 Book of the Week in 2012. This is the ultimate beachcomber's book from a prize-winning poet and natural storyteller. Think Robert Macfarlane and Roger Deakin.See all Product description
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All (nearly) of the chapters in this book could have been written about almost any beach anywhere in the world. However, the author still manages to generate a feeling of both place and uniqueness.
Things are found washed up on the beach: things that tell stories, things that remain mysterious, living things, things long dead. But the charm of the book comes form the realization that most of the stories could have been told about any beach.
So it's a book that manages to feel both local and general at the same time. It's a book that reinforces the idea that we can connect with a landscape wherever we find it - it does not have to be classically beautiful, exotic or inaccessible. We just need to spend time with it.
I'm not entirely convinced that all the material in the book is completely scientifically accurate -the section on the impact of anti-depressive drugs springs to mind here. But I am willing to forgive this, as I did not read the book on the assumption it would be a textbook.
In those early days the beach was still covered by 6/8ft. wooden poles sticking up out of the sand, we presumed to prevent planes landing during the war.
Behind the dunes was another very different area, low lying and marshy, in the spring a haven of wild flowers and nesting waders. We often used to find nests in the high water line, just a scrape in the sand usually with 4 brown spotted eggs.
I went to Southport Technical College, and in the Summer Holidays worked for the Council as a "Beach Cleaner Etc" according to my contract. Duties included selling Deck Chairs from a large stack, selling tickets to pitch a tent in the sand dunes ( no kidding!!!) The best job of all though was to follow the morning tide out in an old jeep, and mark anything obnoxious with a red flag for the "heavy gang " to pick up before the visitors arrived. Those early morning on the beach are some of my best memories, huge skys, air like champagne, you could see the Lake District, the north wales coast and further round Formby point,the Liverpool skyline.
We live far away now but still have relatives in the area so always pay a visit to the beach whenever we are visiting .
Jean, thank you for bringing back all these happy memories.
Leslie N. Wilson.
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