ABC Wednesday - C is for...

... Collection

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?

Do go to ABC Wednesday Mr Linky for more fun with the letter C and ABC visitors, can I interest any of you in my fun Dinner Party meme on Saturday? The link tells you all about it.


  1. I thought you were gonna say C for Crystals ;) One of your Collection looks like Crystal to me ;)

  2. My youngest son is a collector. From time to time we have to clear out his room for rocks, wooden sticks, plastic corks and so on. I believe he has inherited that from his mum (me)... Nice C! =o)

  3. Veg plotting....I thought you would have Cabbage ;-)

  4. It's hard to resist picking up a beautiful stone... and so many of them are beautiful. Great C!

  5. Oh now that's a great choice for C...collection. We've picked up a few interesting ones here and there, too. Enjoy...

  6. Hi VP, a wonderful thing to collect, rocks, and what a surprise treasure in the ice cream tub. Although sewing items can be treasures too. Collections here are many and diverse. I like rocks too, and over the years have been keen on many different themes, books, figurines, baskets, brooms, old garden tools...the list goes on. I am trying to streamline my life now after spending the first half of it accumulation things. Funny how that works.

  7. My other half did his masters in Geology, before became an illustrator. We cannot take a walk out without a mini lesson. It is fascinating though.

    My comment moderation is madirock. Appropriate

  8. Um, I don't know if you knew this, but my doctorate is in geology/paleontology. :-) That was a former life, though, before I became...whatever it is I am now (some kind of interdisciplinary writer/artist/naturalist/teacher) LOL!

    So anyway, I'm with you on the rocks.

  9. With you on the collecting, also

    I have been a passionate amateur paeleontologist since, ooh I can't remember...cerainly before I was 8!

    I still have the very first fossil I found ( an ammonite)
    40 years ago...

    Funny how many shared interests we all have, isn;t it?

  10. 'Cornbrash'! Now there's a new word. I've become cleverer and cleverer since I started blogging!

  11. Great post! I also have a couple of big pots full of geodes (whole, split or sliced) and chunks of marvelous granite, amethyst and more. I can spend hours sitting with them the summer. Really enjoyed your post....

  12. Hi VP,

    You have a great collection of rocks! They are what I collect. I especially like any with striped bits of color. Also there are lots of seed heads around the how they look. It's the wabi-sabi aspects of them! Thanks for asking!


  13. I like the fact that, although the acquired objects outgrew the space available for display, you placed them where they could still be enjoyed. I enjoy looking at rocks and crystals, but know (almost)nothing about them.

  14. Nice collection! Is the crystally one a quartz igneous rock?
    You see this takes me back MANY years to when I was about 5 and went with my Dad to get some stones for our new rockery at the local stonemasons. As this was before the age of health and safety, (when people had common sense, and children were allowed to do things) I scrambled all over the rocks and pulled out a beautiful (dirty) but potentially sparkly piece of rock ahout the size of a large mango. I was so proud I showed my Dad and the nice stonemason told me it was an igneous rock and gave it to me for free.
    I still have it, and it sits in my bathroom on top of a set of old penguin books.
    Keep up the collecting (just don't ever move house or you may also gain a hernia...)
    CJ x

  15. I love rocks too - and not just the huge ones in my Japanese Garden! I've currently got some small rocks and pebbles that I aquired on a beach in Cornwall that are waiting to go into my stream - they turn a fabulous sparkly lilac colour when wet! I also have some stones on the side of the bath for me to examine (?play with !) when I have a soak.

  16. I love rocks too! I used to collect fossils that myself and friend chipped out of the limestone cliffs around the Gower. Unfortunately the best fossils were found in the coping stones that had been used to decorate peoples garden walls nearby.
    We spent many a happy evening stood outside neighbours gardens chipping fossils out of their walls. I never could understand why they got so angry and complained to my Mum.

  17. I had a rock collection, too, when I was young, VP, and still enjoy finding unusual rocks. Unfortunately, what little I once knew about the different types has fled my memory now. Farmers here have often found Native American artifacts in the fields, especially arrow heads.

    Like Frances, I am trying to avoid collecting anything these days, though I seem to collect more and more books:)

  18. this may be a little hard to explain, but here goes: being as i move around, i collect little 'gifts' from each house i have been in since i have been on the east coast of the u.s. one house gifted 3 small rocks (currently residing in my medicine cabinent). another gifted me with a small toy horse in white & beige. as i have moved around, my collections come & go as i have storage or the patience to drag them around with me. when i cull a collection, i keep one or two favorites as a reminder of the mindset i was in when i collected 'them' originally.

  19. I just read a book about someone who loved looking at rocks and collecting them. What a fascinating hobby : ).

  20. The rocks look great nestled up to that pot as if they have been there for a long time. I collect plants, books and little china cups and saucers which have to have flowers painted on them :)

  21. I still look for interesting rocks whenever I go to the beach or elsewhere!
    I'm looking for some small rocks for my new planned plot pond! xx

  22. Great! Rockhounds Rule!!! That's a very interesting post.

    Thanks for your entry.

  23. I always look for rocks too. My elder grandson, 4, plays at being a paleontologist, and can you believe it the other day when he left home he forgot his phone! Huge sigh and spread hands accompanied this revelation. Sadly dinosaur bones are not that common in Notts (not unknown, we had woolly mammoth in the gravel pits).
    VP you are in GardenersClick - there is a new geology group, you may be interested. You will come to my Garden Party won't you?
    Thank you for your comments on my blog - I think you are the only visitor, or at least the only one who says anything.
    That sound as if I'm a really sad person but I don't mean it that way.
    Happy fossil hunting. (we get a few interesting bits sometimes in our clay)

  24. My son collects fact, his drawers overflow & we need to do something about that. I collect lots of unnecessary things, but used to love shells and rocks. I still like to see different and intriguing colors, shapes, textures, etc. You have quite a collection there VP!

  25. Hi everyone - glad you like the picture. It's just a small selection of a much more vast collection :)

    ABCers I'll be visiting your place...

    For those of you who asked - the crystal one is a lovely piece of white quartz :)

    And Maggi - of course I'll come to your garden party :)


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