Over the past few weeks, I have been engraving ships (not constantly, obviously!) By now, the Sea of Memories stands at about 60 ships. Today, I also sent the press release to the Ashton Memorial, because I will be there on the 10th of November, hoping that people will come with pictures, memories, letters, etc.

I wanted to post a blog to say that I am very much aware that this folly is different from the others. While I have proclaimed loud and clear that happy memories qualify just as much for the Sea of Memories as painful ones, I am conscious of the fact that the names on many of these ships illustrate somebody's loss, a gaping, painful hole that nothing, and certainly no little ship, can ever fill. The Sea of Memories was born from the idea to illustrate that such holes exist in most people's life, that, while we may feel alone in our grief, and nobody will ever stand in our shoes, others stand beside us. We may not know them, and even if we do, we may not know their history, their story, their loss. For most of the ships I have engraved so far, I was the stranger standing apart, somebody else's memories only a string of letters to me. Today, I stood a little closer. Today, the water to lubricate the engraver did not come from the tap, it came from my tears. And it made me aware that I would like to thank all of you, everybody who has trusted me with the name of a loved one, that even though I may not know the person the ship is for, even though I might not know you, I sincerely try to honour your memories, and I hope from the bottom of my heart that the Sea of Memories will do your memories justice.

It has been a while since I have blogged, mainly because everything gets put up on the Facebook page! However, I vow repentance, and improvement - a lot is happening at Follies HQ, so I'll do some individual posts on the goings-on!

First of all, two weeks ago, Lady Mary, or rather, the Sun Monument, at Wentworth Castle Gardens, got follified. My lovely friend Rachel once more volunteered her van for transport, and Lady Mary spent a couple of nights at Wentworth in waiting.

On Sunday, Pete from Wentworth Castle Gardens, my husband Nigel, the child mainly known as the munchkin, and I hauled everything up the grassy slopes to the monument. Altogether, it was a much less elaborate affair - not six army stretchers plus paraphernalia,  but a mini buggy-trucky thing which fit Lady Mary as though she had been made for it. Once we got up to the monument, we originally thought that Lady Mary looked quite nice just leaning against the monument, at the bottom......did we really want the hassle of getting it 4m up in the air?

Well, we had time, and it felt like a bit of a cop-out, making over 6,000 beads, pinning them to the board, making the frame, painting it, hauling it up to the monument.....and then falling short at the last hurdle?

Pete fetched the ladder while Nigel and I sorted out the rigging (eyelets and steel cables re-used from Rapunzel). Once Pete returned, we discovered two things. 

A) It was fairly straightforward pushing the frame up the ladder, to the point where  the top touches the stonework;

B) It was considerably more difficult to hug the picture, lift it an inch, and push with knees simultaneously to gradually get it raised.

Even now, more than two weeks later, do I have the remains of hand-sized bruises from resting the hard edges on my thighs, and from wedging my thighs under the rungs of the ladder to stay up there. Pete held on to the steel cables for dear life, to ensure I wouldn't get smashed off the ladder if I slipped and let the picture go.

Well, I think the hassle was worth it. The top of the frame fit perfectly against the obelisk, and the portrait looked nicely in proportion (even if I say so myself ;o)).

Pete had put up an event shelter for us to - well, shelter - under, and here, I put out my table and Lady Mary-inspired beads, and visitors had a chance to make a knotted bracelet.

It was a fairly chilly day, so I am grateful to everybody who braved the wind and came up the hill from the comforts of the cafe and craft fair that was going on in the main building!

Plans are now going ahead for the Rotunda, which is the next Wentworth Castle folly to be follified. In-between, though, I had better work on the Ashton Memorial in Lancaster!!