June 19th, 2011


I had a real weekend! No events, no studio work, well, quite a bit of house work, but it felt very good to have a two-day break, like people who have office jobs. My publisher has the thumbnail roughs for my latest picture book with him (the one I'm doing with David O'Connell), so Dave and I are poised, waiting for him to approve them; then it's going to be all engines blasting til the rather tight deadline. All good stuff, but it does set one's pulse racing.

But in the meantime, look at the bits and bobs I found by the river today!

I went for a run and realised it was low tide, so I climbed down some stairs and found all these clay pipe stems on the beach. While mudlarking you're not supposed to pick up archeological stuff and keep it if it has any historical value, but no museum wants these because there are hundreds of thousands of them lying about. They're basically the equivalent of old-time cigarette butts. People used to smoke clay pipes, then break off the bit of the stem their mouths had touched, so the next person could use it, and chuck the broken-off bit into the river. It's much easier to find the stem pieces; the bowls break more easily and are harder to spot amongst the pebbles. Most of them are plain, but these ones had some writing and designs on them. I wonder what the full words were, and if they were the names of the manufacturer, or the tobacco, or even the pub.

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