Kathryn Faerry

Publishing in a Covid Lockdown -Seaside 100, 2 Years On

It still feels like a bit of a treat to be able to stand up and speak in front of a live audience so I’m really looking forward to my upcoming talk at St James Centre for Bailiffgate Museum & Gallery.

When my book Seaside 100 was published back in Spring 2020 the first Covid lockdown had only just begun so there was no chance of having a conventional book launch, no talks or book signings or even just photos of me holding my book on the beach. It meant I had to be a bit more imaginative in promoting my work; I came up with the idea of creating my own resort called ‘At-Home-on-Sea’.

As most busy parents will attest, home schooling was hard work so getting my three children involved in making a seaside resort in our sitting room gave us something different to focus on. My eldest son got out his Lego to build a pier and my twins helped make sticks of rock out of salt dough. We rifled through the making box to recycle cardboard and crepe paper into ice cream cones and found a couple of caravans in among the toy cars that could stand in for a caravan park on the top of a (sofa) cliff above the (carpet) beach and (blue blanket) sea.

The basic premise of Seaside 100 is that it tells the story of how the seaside has evolved through 100 different but easily recognisable ‘objects’. The object term is loosely defined because as well as things that might be found in museum collections it also includes buildings, food and donkeys (I could hardly leave those out, now could I?). My plan for ‘At-Home-on-Sea’ was to get as many of these objects into my tableaux as possible. My final total was thirty, which wasn’t bad for things my family and I made or found around the house.

Of course, lockdown travel restrictions have had the positive effect of focusing attention back on to the UK coast as a holiday destination and as the weather warms up lots of us will be heading to the beach for that distinctive seaside experience which has been centuries in the making. I’m going to be making my way to Alnwick via as many North East seaside places as I can and I’ll enjoy them all the more because of the lockdowns. Knowing what it’s like to have to stay at home makes being out and about all the more precious – this year I shall be getting as much vitamin sea as possible!

To book to hear Kathryn speak on the 28th of April please click here

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