It’s been a good Summer. It was so busy at the end of term, and I felt so exhausted and rattled by it, that I came down with some vague illness, and had to keep taking to my bed like a pale Victorian housewife. I’m sure it was just plain good old fashioned tiredness. My kind neighbour told me I must rest, and slow down. A holiday was maybe what I needed the most.
It was a great prospect – 2 weeks in the Mediterranean sun, but it’s not an easy thing, organising a family holiday, and perhaps that was contributing to my brain scramble! Eventually we set off. Books, electronics, sketching pencils and swimming costumes were all carefully packed, and looking like quite the English family going on a Summer holiday, pale and cheerful and shivering slightly in the chilly UK morning, we walked into the packed early morning airport. It always amazes me how you can just get on a plane and go somewhere – anywhere! I rarely fly, so I’m always out of practice and get flustered at the security gates, drop everything in a panic, think I’ve lost the passports, leave my hat behind, can’t remember the flight time… We made it through eventually, and it dawned on me in an awful moment of quiet horror that I would now have to go on an aeroplane.
Once I’m in the air, it’s better. Look what’s up there! The fear of it is usually worse than the reality (and that’s a truth I apply daily to lots of things). I usually try to pretend to myself that the plane is a train. I go on trains often, and they do look similar. So tricking myself helps. And I try to have fun. I did lots of drawing to pass the time…
And eventually, after planes and ferries and taxis… this.
Is it worth all the preparation, the travelling, and the nervousness? YES, always!
I was very excited this year about the beaches, because a wonderful illustrator I know online, Lisa Berkshire, has been showing some great photos of decorated stones she has left at the beach for people to find. She sells them too, and you should definitely go and have a look at her gorgeous work (link to her website at the end). I was very enamoured with this lovely idea, and so I asked her if I might do some stone decorating too, in my own way. She very kindly said yes, go for it (I always think it’s good to ask first in these situations, there is nothing worse than copying – ugh). So I was looking forward to whiling away some time with my feet in the ocean and a pen in my hand. What could be better?
I decorated and left one or two stones at each beach we went to. The first ones were patterns and flowers, and then I found a thinner pen, so I could manage mermaids and smaller details too. I debated at length about whether to add my contact details, as I really didn’t want to be making ‘adverts’ – that wasn’t the plan at all, but I did so want to know if anyone found my treasure, so in the end it had to go on.
I hid some of the stones really quite well, and others I left more prominent, usually as we left the beach. It was fun! But by the end of the holiday, I was ‘hiding’ stones while we were there, and then watching from behind my book to see if people found them. One day, I watched a little boy find one, then turn over lots more, searching for another. His family left the beach, and my stone went with him, in his hand. It really made me smile. He made my day. Maybe I made his. We’ll probably never know, and I love that.
In the following weeks, I’ve had several excited messages via email and Facebook, from people who had found a stone and were kind enough to get in touch. It’s been a real joy! Thank you if you sent me a message. You were part of my holiday, and it was such a good one.
Please go and have a peek at Lisa Berkshire’s lovely shop on Folksy.com, and all her fabulous illustrated treasures: