One of the wonderful things about working at BBC Radio Solent was being able to pop out and chat to people about their dreams, and plans to fulfill them.
Going to chat to some of the team involved in creating a new home for Dr Steve Etches, MBE’s fossil.collection was always a great moment.
Steve is world famous for the fossils he’s collected, over many years, from the shale at Kimmeridge. His collection is extraordinary and people come from all over the world to study it.
The new home was to be in the tiny hamlet of Kimmeridge. It had to blend in with the beautiful pale stone cottages and serve as a community centre for locals. The plan was to create a small, beautifully formed building that could show off some of the fossils (part of the joy of visiting is it’s not overwhelming) and provide a workshop for Steve.
One of the features that everyone was particularly excited about was a specially created film showing pre-historic marine animals swimming, to be shown on the ceiling of the exhibition room.
The Etches Collection, Kimmeridge, opened in 2017 to great delight and acclaim, winning several important accolades. I visited not long after and marvelled at the quality and beauty of the build and it’s location, was fascinated by the fossils and thought the video, shown on the ceiling was interesting……but last weekend (5th March, 2022), we took 5 year old Grandson….he was transfixed by the monsters swimming above his head, ran with delight to point them out on the boards depicting the different types of creatures. Fascinated by the fossils, loving the chance to colour in dinosaur sheets; put his hands into a covered box to feel fossilised teeth, an ammonite and vertebra!
Thinking of all the careful design choices and sometimes tortuous journey to completion, it was joyous to see their impact on a little boy (we had to pop back in as we came back from rockpooling in Kimmeridge Bay)!
Kimmeridge is off the beaten track and the Collection is rarely overly busy (you don’t need to be very mobile to pop in, or to go over to the lovely Clavell’s restaurant across the road, but the Bay is tricky if you’re a bit wobbly on your feet, although you could have a picnic in the car park…oh and there’s a small charge to go down to the beach). Clavell’s Restaurant shares its name with the tower (viewers of BBC South Today will recognise it!).
It makes for a rather magical day….as long as you like fossils or are just curious about beautiful places! We planned our trip to arrive at the Collection just after 10, have brunch in the restaurant over the road and arrive in the bay to make the most of the two hours around low tide (which was 1.30pm).
Have been putting some things into place to be able to start recording chats…so many of you have such extraordinary stories to share and after 20 years of wittering on gosh, I’m missing it……haven’t rushed because I REALLY want them to be one to one, rather than on Zoom but maybe I just better get started! The wonderful David Hedges nudged me and my glorious son helped me choose (hopefully the first video will be our chat in case it helps someone else).
The lights are little miracles in a modern world! In the rare moments I try and take a selfie I look like a puzzled old bat who hasn’t got a clue….but add lights, use a computer rather than a phone, celebrate the Covid pounds that fill out the wrinkles….have a go at doing the lockdown hair and makeup (feel really guilty not to have been to my lovely hairdresser for a year, worry about her…) and…
I was a bit thrown they’re called “selfie lights” because I want them for lighting video chats and selfies seem vain! Well, the whole adventure is so might as well embrace it!
Do you get the software upgrade collywobbles?! Needed to upgrade some things to start preparing to record. That meant doing a full back up- about time – hadn’t done one for so long I needed to ponder what to pop it onto….had a disastrous purchase of a flash drive – not the cheapest but it arrived suspiciously poorly packaged, took hours to back up a tiny amount and then announced it would “probably be another day before it was complete”! Didn’t feel I could trust it for a restore, so back it went. First time I’ve ever returned anything where you potter to the post office without a label!
Upgrading the software was, of course, fine – and oh my, the things that happen to your photos when you use more up to date browsers!! Deleting duplicates is one of the best! Have spent far too long reliving all sorts of moments! Not to Mention far too long binge watching Bridgeton and Ann with an E. No wonder I’m starting to look like the Michelin Man.
Next step…working out the best way to record things…..don’t hold your breath but hopefully I’ll be chatting to you soon!
Oh my gosh – after the adrenaline rush of the last morning at work, then Christmas Eve present deliveries and a glorious Christmas Day in a smaller than usual family bubble, reality’s hit home with a vengeance! Feel REALLY lost! Up at 5.30am and now, a couple of hours later, wondering what on earth to do. Oddly nostalgic and very much aware of all that has been lost in the years of being distracted by work. Loved ones no longer with us; children very much grown up and, quite rightly, living their own lives; forgotten skills and hobbies (which to pick up again – now thats a challenge); a house full of memories that are suddenly flooding in. It’s very, very, weird!