I’ve written before about messages-in-bottles, but one found on a beach in Cornwall in south-west England is the ultimate in romance and heartache.
Coastguard Martin Leslie was clearing debris from the shore at Praa Sands when he found the bottle, sealed with candle wax.
It contained a lock of hair and a three-page letter in French, dated September 25th. In it, an unnamed woman pours out her feelings for her lover, who, it’s clear, has returned to his wife.
She understands the inevitability of the situation, and recalls happy times:
“These magic moments are pure secret. The secret of life and pleasure without limits. In twenty years, it will still be here, the previous moments of happiness. When life gets dreary, we will be able to tap into these memories to remember what it is to live again.”
She finishes by saying she hoped to find another man like him with whom to live ‘a beautiful life’.
There was no address or any other clue to her identity, but it’s reported that the French media are on the case.
by Andy Moreton
A delightful story emerged here in the UK a couple of weeks ago about a message in a bottle – a subject I touched on in an earlier blog. A British woman and her American pen pal celebrated their 40-year friendship on the beach where it all started.
Rosalind Hearse was eight when she found a bottle on the beach in south Wales in 1968. It had been thrown from a cruise ship in the Atlantic by American Sandra Morris, also eight years old, who was returning to the States after a trip to Europe. Her note asked for whoever found the bottle to write.
“I took the cork from the wine bottle and replied to Sandra’s little note,” said Rosalind, now Mrs Causey. “I used to love seeing the postman bring me a letter with a US Air Mail stamp and in these modern times we have moved on from sea-mail to e-mail. Our friendship grew through our letters as we shared amazingly parallel lives. We each have two children, a boy and girl, and our eldest were born just ten days apart.”
The pen pals met for the first time in 1976 when Mrs Causey and her husband Mark flew to America.
Sandra, now Mrs Morris-Czapla and living in Pennsylvania with her husband, Doug, said: “It was lovely to visit the spot and it was a great way to celebrate the 40th anniversary of a very unusual friendship. You often hear stories of messages in a bottle floating thousands of miles but how often do you hear of people actually meeting up and making a connection as a result? ”
by Andy Moreton
When I was a child, I used to go on vacation with my family to a little place on the coast in south-east England.
I tend to look back on that time with rose-tinted spectacles. I could swear the summers were longer and warmer, the rain less frequent, the ice-creams more flavoursome.
What I am sure about is that two communication activities I used to enjoy have all but disappeared in this age of text, mobile and World Wide Web. I’m talking about sending messages in bottles and on holiday postcards.
To a child, the message-in-a-bottle has always seemed a romantic concept, imagining as he does that it will turn up on the secluded shore of some remote desert island when in reality it usually comes back on the next tide to be smashed on the sea wall.
When I was researching this subject a few years ago, I was intrigued to read the story of a lonely British teenager called Beryl Edwards who propelled her message-in-a-bottle into the English Channel in 1954. Thirty-three years later, a family in Holland found the note and wrote to her. I imagine that if you were looking for a pen-friend nowadays, you’d go to findapenfriend.com and all correspondence would be conducted through a PC.
And who sends a holiday postcard now that you can upload pictures and text by mobile phone and e-mail? Gone is the delight of trying to think up something witty to say in the limited space available and of receiving a card from Italy or Spain when the sender has already been back at work for a fortnight.
I recently discovered that writing on a holiday postcard is a science. I kid you not, dear reader, an eminent professor wrote a thesis on it. I quote: “The holiday postcard is an important genre in tourist culture and the language used in postcard texts reveals significant information about the attitude of senders and recipients towards each other and towards the activities they engage in and the events they experience. I have suggested that positive evaluation is the motivation underlying the creation of the text for reasons of power and politeness and that evaluation is centred around a contrast between the holiday as an ideal and the reality of everyday life.”
Wow! All that in ‘Wish You Were Here.’
by Andy Moreton