Over countless centuries the sea claims its slow dominion over the world. Along the coastline of the North Sea, the Martello Towers stare impassively out towards the shores of a once hostile Europe. Now they are monuments, or visitor attractions or converted houses.
Bournemouth’s shore has its own, somewhat less imposing fortresses – castles of sand that are raised out of the coast and then abandoned. Crumbling, the waters come and claim them. And now that the Summer Holidays have begun, in the early mornings before the rest of the world wakes, the beaches are full of these sand ruins.
There are also strange spirit offerings, detritus of unspoken rituals, totems of days of unfiltered enjoyment of the world by children, little talismanic expressions of hope against the unending destructiveness of the ocean, sigils of respect for the border between the solid world we inhabit, and the unknowable kingdom of the sea.
It’s fun keeping an eye out for these little ruins, but I wonder if a better project wouldn’t be to actually create collapsed monuments of my own at the beach – monuments that somehow speak to my experience of the sea and the coast. The Cabinet of Monsters is my sketchbook, but sometimes it seems like endless sketching, and no real creation.