Ever since I can remember I've been fascinated by rocks. Walks on the beach have always seen me with my head down seeking out shells and unusual stones. I astounded my parents at the age of 10 when I dragged back home a suitcase full of rocks found in and by the river North Tyne, picked up during my first holiday away from them. One turned out to be an unusual fossil, so I was hooked.
Fortunately for me my school offered Geology to A Level: I had a very indulgent two years just looking at and handling various rocks and minerals. Our field trip was to Dorset - its magnificent geology and coastline now acknowledged as World Heritage status. I still haven't figured out why I didn't study it at University - I went for a more applied option instead (with oodles of geology though) - if I'd known my graduation was going to coincide with the 1980's recession, perhaps I might have chosen differently and gone for a subject closer to my heart.
I still go fossiling even now - a geological hammer's always in the boot of my car and it's also a regular aspect of my gardening I've not told you about before. We're on Jurassic limestone here - on what's called Cornbrash (the early geologists thought it looked like the mass of broken corn fragments after threshing) - so bits of coral and shells are always turning up in our stony clay soil. Note to Gail - the Cornbrash overlies Forest Marble, which is officially described as clay and limestone! Even our gravel path can yield something as it's crushed limestone from the Cotswolds. Anything I find in the garden is used to mulch the tops of some of my garden pots.
My other finds have always been displayed on various bookcases and windowsills, but like my books I've got a bit of a storage problem, so I've resorted to arranging some of the biggest specimens around the largest pot on the patio. On Sunday, as well as taking the picture for today's post (just as well as the scene's snow covered at the moment) I discovered yet more treasure as part of my ongoing New Year's tidying up - an innocuous looking old ice cream tub bought down from NAH's mum's old house in Darlington turned out to house part of her reference collection of various rocks she used when teaching at Durham College. Much better than the sewing machine accessories I was expecting in there :)
What's in your favourite collection?