Sea glass plays a small, but important, role in my new story.
You know sea glass. Those broken bits of glass you find washed up on a beach, their edges dulled and rounded, the surface scuffed and frosty from being tumbled in the waves and rubbed against the sand. I’ve always thought sea glass was a bit mysterious. Little shards of history that could be decades, even centuries, old, washed in from foreign lands, with a story to tell.
I went looking for sea glass a couple of Sundays ago, as research for the book. My husband and son came too and we drove to Balmain, which is a Sydney suburb edged with a few small, pebbly harbour beaches.
Our son asked why we weren’t going to a proper beach, with cliffs and sand and waves. I explained that the sandy beaches didn’t catch so much stuff, I needed somewhere with more rocks and pebbles. Somewhere with places for these mysterious shards to get trapped.
“So, you want to go to a polluted beach?” he asked.
“Well, um, I suppose…in a way…”
“Where will the glass come from?”
“Oh, well it could come from anywhere!” My imagination took over. “It might have been swept in from the other side of the world. And its journey could have started hundreds of years ago – a bottle dropped overboard from a ship travelling the Silk Route to China.”
At this point, my husband joined in.
“Basically, we’re helping Mum look for broken bits of beer bottles that have been tossed into the harbour by drunks on a night out.”
Okay, so his version was probably more accurate. But I liked my version better.
We did find some sea glass. And yes, most of it was beer-bottle brown. But that’s alright. Beer’s been around for a while, so who knows. Maybe these had been ale bottles, dropped overboard by convicts transported to Australia on the First Fleet back in 1788.
Yes. That would be it