Saturday, 4 July 2015

Weston Shore - Big Beach Clean Up - August 8th

Sarah O'Donnell, Weston

Author Philip Hoare recently tweeted about an early morning swim in a calm and lulling sea; and described an oystercatcher flying by as a "benign exocet in orange, black and white" @philipwhale.  It's a beautiful, evocative description conjuring an exotic location.  It reminded me of Ian Curtis' words "If you could just see the beauty, these things I could never describe".  Finding the beauty in the ordinary, looking at the world anew.

I might be wrong but I think this is where he was swimming.  Costa del Weston.  It's not that exotic.  In fact, the area ranks as one of the most deprived areas in the UK.  Here's some facts and figures from a Southampton City Council document.  

where 1 is most deprived

It makes for disheartening reading but, hey, facts and figures only tell half a story.  To the west Weston merges with Woolston and the Itchen River, to the east is Tickleford Gully, Westwood and Netley Abbey and to the south, Southampton Water.  Every drop of which is liquid history (may contain contaminants).  

A little while ago part of one low rise block of flats fell down.  Just like that.  A walkway just collapsed.  There was a door, it just opened on to nothing,  If you had come out of it you would have just fallen to the ground. I didn't take any pictures because, although it was a striking image, it seemed like a cheap holiday in other people's misery.

They demolished the flats.  They're building new ones.  They look pretty good.  When the building started we were told Vibrant, hand painted hoarding boards will also be erected on site, which were created by the Weston Church Youth Project to enhance the look of the site hoardings during the demolition works and inject a sense of local ownership to the development. 

That didn't exactly happen.  This is what we got:

What would Jesus do?  Weston Church Youth Project

However, recently that has been replaced with a number of new pictures, some by local children, some by local adults.  I think they show the same skill in bringing out the beauty of the ordinary that Philip Hoare's line did. 

When dinosaurs roamed the estate, Unsigned

The Friends of Weston Shore have organised a beach clean up for Saturday August 6th.  
Here's some info:
This year there’s another chance to tackle an environmental problem everyone can get a grip on – Litter! The Friends of Weston Shore are back in action on Saturday 8th August 2015 between 10am to 1pm helping to clean up the shore and are looking for heroes to help join them.
Weston Shore is truly one of Southampton’s hidden gems. It is designated as an international Site of Special Scientific Interest due to the importance of the inter-tidal mudflats, which each year attract thousands of wading birds including egrets and curlews.
The Friends of Weston Shore would like to invite everyone with an interest in protecting one of Southampton’s most beautiful locations to come along to their annual “Big Beach Clean Up” and show their support for the area by helping to take part in a short litter pick along the seafront.
Litter pickers and bags will be provided but please wear sensible shoes and gloves if taking part. Come along at any time between 10am and 1pm. The starting point will be near the car park near to the former Pitch and Putt course on Weston Shore. For more information please contact the Friends of Weston Shore at WESTONSHORE@GMAIL.COM

Big thanks to all the artists whose pictures I've used here.  I would love to give you all the credit that you're due but there is no info attached.  Let me know and I'll fix it.

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