Looking for the Sea Glass

(Early morning pilgrim on Praia da Falésia)

When I wasn’t watching the waves down at the beach I was watching where I walked for interesting treasure. The sea provides plenty of gifts if you keep your eyes open for them.

(Sanded piece of shell)

I love broken shells not the sharp edged ones, I like the one that have been in the sea awhile. The ones that have been sanded… by the sand. There are plenty here. Their rough edges are smooth and each one is a different shape.

(Can you see the sea glass?)

There are also little pieces of sea glass on this beach. They are harder to spot in the beginning but soon they are very hard to miss. It’s like anything you are interested in. If you like a particular make of car you will see it wherever you go. We notice every motorhome or camper van on the road. I see storks and now I notice sea glass.

(Close up)

I wonder could I use this for contentment? We humans have a tendency to notice what is going badly for us, what we’re not good at, what we should be doing. This is not contentment. Even if we can see the good in others we find it difficult to see the good in ourselves. We tend to notice what we didn’t do on our to do list or if we get 80% in a test we are disappointed about the 20%. Or we wonder why only 6 people liked our photo, instead of being amazed that 6 people took the trouble to tell us they liked our photo. This behaviour does not produce contentment.

(Footprints of contentment)

How about if we looked for only the good in ourselves? Like looking for sea glass. My sea glass looks like an hour of photography or a thousand words of writing or or a nap when I’m tired or time in nature or a tidy kitchen or a 6am start. When I look at my day with eyes only for my sea glass I don’t notice the things I didn’t do. What if contentment was more than enough?

What does your sea glass look like? Mairead.

Life’s a beach…

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(There was a boardwalk to the beach so we took a quick look…)

The Algarve area of Portugal is very popular. We’ve been officially in the Algarve for three days now but most people (or maybe just me?) think of the Algarve as the coast and the beautiful beaches. So today we arrived in that part of the Algarve and we went to the beach. We couldn’t stay though because it was full up…

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(My feets in the sand! It was warm!)

Well, the first two beach side parking places we tried were full. So we went a little (5 minutes) into the countryside and we can just make out the beach (well, if only I had those binoculars, I could.) and we can definitely see the sea. The wild birds are singing and there’s a few hens doing what hens do…crowing? cock-a-doodling?

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(Denis looks so excited to be in the sea… oh, maybe he’s complaining because of the cold? It is the Atlantic)

I was a bit concerned that we might find it more difficult to find places to stay once we arrived in the far south especially as it’s getting later in the season and the weather has turned. (Fingers crossed.) But here we are in a lovely place that we might never have found if we’d been able to stay at the beach.

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(The tide was way out)

Something I really love about the motorhome is the flexibility. If your plan doesn’t work out it’s not the end of the world. Another plan is always possible. I’m not naturally optimistic, I have to work at it. Sometimes I am more comfortable thinking about what bad thing could happen so that I can work out in advance what I will do about it. Ruby and this was of living is helping me practice and I actually love optimism. Google it, I think you’ll love it too!

It’s all good, Mairead.

When the Rains Came Back…

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(A kite surfer on his way home on Saturday evening. By the way that red sky at night didn’t bring a shepherd’s delight…)

It’s been raining continuously here since early Sunday morning and the two of us are getting plenty of practice at being together in a confined space… We’ve had rain before on this trip but we knew we could move along if it persisted and although sometimes we waited a couple of days to be sure it was persisting we knew we could get away from it if we really wanted to. We can’t get away anymore. The forecast is rain for the next two days, then on the third day we will be going home.

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(Could be a sea urchin?)

We’ve had rain before at home too, but sitting here, I can’t remember what I did on a rainy Sunday… What did I do? Probably watched television. We don’t have a television. We do have internet and we could watch YouTube videos, but it’s very slow. Fortunately, I brought a crate-full of crafty things so I have plenty to do. I spent most of yesterday doodling.

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(Can you see his eyes?)

It’s not cold but when we go visiting the photogenic toilets (thank you Thierry for the translation: Vos chiotes sont tres photogeniques!) we get a little damp and then it’s lovely to turn on the heating! Yes we have heating! The gas that powers the hob, the oven and the fridge also blows warm air through our little home when necessary. Because it’s a small space it doesn’t take much to heat it, in fact when Denis cooks the dinner (yes, he’s still cooking) it’s also toasty in here.

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(Lots of shells on the beach plus a little bit of seaweed)

Anyway, the rain stopped at about midday and I rambled out to the beach to take some more pictures… but the smell. As I may have said before I grew up in Cashel, Co. Tipperary. One of county Tipperary’s claims to fame is that it’s Ireland’s largest inland county. Which is a great honour… but it means that there’s no sea. As a child a trip to the seaside involved days of travelling. Well, it seemed like days… but it was probably only a couple of hours. About a mile away from our destination, my Dad driving, my Mam in the front, my brother and me in the back (our sister not yet born) the windows were rolled down and we caught our first smell of… seaweed. Even today the smell of seaweed makes me happy! Ah seaweed.

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(Look! Not a butterfly but a mussel pretending to be a butterfly. Saw this and thought of you, Cathy!)

I read somewhere that we are wired for pleasure, simple pleasure. Pleasure receptors are located very close to where we receive information from our senses. From the smells or tastes or touch or sights or sounds around us we have the ability to derive pleasure. From the dictionery pleasure is a feeling of happy satisfaction and enjoyment. How incredibly simple and free and even freeing.

Don’t wait, be happy now, Mairead.