I had parked myself in one of the places along this stretch of the River Torridge, where, years ago, boats were scrapped and stripped, and left to disintegrate.
I was planning to make some ephemeral work here, relating to the cliff face and the trees on top that were now shedding their autumn leaves. I thought: just before I start, I’ll take a few photos of those old wrecked boats I see along the edge of the water, that are now collapsing and sinking into the mud. All went well as I skirted anti-clockwise around the perimeter of the vessels, getting so carried away in my enthusiasm that I forgot to pay attention to the ground underfoot. Until the time I looked up from the viewfinder and realised both feet were well and truly stuck in the estuary mud. This was not a good moment.
Here’s a photo taken from the very spot where I got stuck.
I do tend to get a bit messy when out in nature, but this time I surpassed myself by getting fairly well-covered from top to toe with a mix of biscuit coloured, but mostly black slimy estuary mud. I don’t know how this happened, as I had been concentrating hard on hanging on to one of the boats, and struggling to reach terra firma without losing boots, camera or myself. Fortunately, I always carry rags etc. around with me when outdoors.
But by the time I had staggered back to my perch on the rocks, and cleaned up my hands and arms; cleaned black slime from all the way up the monopod – (I had used it as a walking stick to help heave myself out of the mud); spat on the camera and wiped it over very gently with tissue; slithered across the beach on my slime-covered boots, to find a tiny stream where I could stamp around and dislodge some of it… by the time I had done all this, I’d lost all appetite for my original artwork plan, and I hadn’t got the photos I wanted either…
So I embarked on the long walk home, and was glad I didn’t meet anyone I knew.
Moral: Some people get sillier the older they get!
Here’s a few that I did manage to take. I very much like the way the old boats, as they submerge, are gradually becoming indistinguishable from the surrounding beach and cliffs.
PS Undaunted, I went back to the estuary the following day, and made the work. You can see the result on my Facebook Page (Linda Gordon).