Which is how four possibly bonkers women and two perfectly sane girls came to take the ferry from Falmouth to St Mawes, walk to a nearby beach, pick up a load of rubbish, stick it all onto three poles to make giant rubbish-kebabs and, having tied them together to make a teepee, take it all back to Falmouth on the ferry to leave it in my back yard.
It was Tina P who first mentioned the idea of making totems from beach rubbish. Tina R-C and I agreed, and the date and venue were set. Jan took an earlier ferry as she had to be back early. By the time we arrived at the beach she had already amassed a pile of stuff.
Jan loved and left us and, after a quick recce for the best swimming spot, (work then play,) the girls got into their swimsuits and started to amass an enormous collection of sea glass, and we picked up a few more bags-worth of other people’s rubbish and got arty.
This is what we had to work with, all found on a few hundred yards-worth of one beach:
As the most practical among us, Tina P had brought some dowelling poles. She also had a knife to sharpen one end of each pole and another tool to punch holes, thus enabling a kebab-style method of construction.
Which isn’t without it’s problems: plastic bottles work a treat but a few gave off quite a whiff as we cut into them. Styrofoam breaks up a bit so then we had to pick up the pieces that broke off. And a lot of the crisp packets, plastic bags and sweetie wrappers were too brittle to use. Nearly everything was, as always, sticky and smelly from sitting in rotting weed at the high-tide line.
Which, when tied together using some of the rope found on the beach, make this:
A walk back along the coast path, carrying the poles between us, (a few “well done”‘s from passers-by) and we set up shop once more on Tavern Beach, back in St Mawes. To be met by studious indifference from most of the punters. Thanks to those who did ask us what we had been up to: whenever we had the opportunity to explain that the rubbish all came from one beach, and we had cleaned it all up, the reception was always positive.
A twenty minute trip on the ferry, a walk through town (watch out for us at the next Falmouth Carnival,) and we deposited our work in my back garden. Where today I will take it apart, recycle the plastic bottles and cans – just about the only things we can recycle here in Cornwall – and put the poles away, ready for the next beach!