In my last blogpost, I wrote about how I dropped off four bottles on a short vacation in Skegness on the first weekend of June. One of the first two bottles I dropped in on the Saturday, standing in the waves was bottle No. 96. I showed you a picture on the beach already, here are some from when it was still at home:
The letter is tied to the board and looks from the outside like this:
When I came back home, the following message was already waiting for me in my mailbox:
Hello, we have found your note in a bottle. It is number 96 and we found it on the beach in Skegness. It was in the water while we were splashing in it and we found it on the 2nd of June 2018. I think it brought us great happiness finding it however it was quite challenging to open, the cork was enormous :). We would also like to know when and where you released the bottle from. P.s. We loved the chocolate.
I was slightly amused, I must admit, by them remarking on the cork. I think that’s because the letter that I wrote starts with the words: “I hope you enjoyed finding and opening this bottle”. I have opened a couple of my own bottles (because I forgot to put a letter in or something similar), and I found them very easy to open – with a cork screw. But I suppose that’s not necessarily what you have with you when you are going for a day at the beach.
I of course answered them (honestly) with where and when I dispatched the bottle – and to ask them tons of questions. I always love to hear more about how they were found, how they were spotted, how opened, etc. – But they never answered my message. Maybe they were a bit disappointed that it didn’t float for longer.
The letter to “a stranger”, by the way, offers the chocolate.
The next day (without knowing one of my bottles was already found), my son and I headed out to the pier of Skegness and dropped two more bottles (as I already told you in the last blogpost). The first one that hit the waters was mine, and I felt very confident about it. As I saw it bobble on the waves, I imagined I saw it move out ever so slightly, and even if it didn’t, as long as it didn’t land straight away, I figured, it would get carried away by the water as it was past high tide.
But I received a short message on the same day, just three and a half hours later (so it can’t have been the next flood coming in) saying:
Found #95 on Skegness Beach
He confirmed that he found it right at the pier. And that’s all I heard from this bottle. It had a coloured in fishprint in it. I don’t seem to have a good image of the bottle here at home, but it made an appearance in this blogpost here on my main blog. And I wrote about the printing technique in this blogpost here. I am quite proud to have invented a printing technique like this. It might not be the most convincing for printing images of fish, but I am currently using it in another art project, to make the prints look like ultrasound images. I could also imagine using it to imitate the look of hectograph prints.
The print is folded inside the bottle to fit in, and on the back I wrote the lines which I used before: “We are fish, all of us, floating in time and space, opening and closing our mouths to the tide.”
My son insisted on dropping in one bottle, too and I am always delighted when he takes an interest in my projects. However, he’s an even worse thrower than I am. On the first attempt, he flatly dropped his bottle in, and we watche it land through the gaps in the planks of the pier we were standing on.
I was willing to just let it sit there. But Junior was excited about seeing it there, and insisted on trying to throw it in better the next time. And so we went to collect the bottle and give it another try. He did a real good job the next time – but the water was already retreating, right, and so I saw it clearly move back to the beach. But I didn’t tell him. After all, I figured, it might still bring joy to someone. – And indeed it did.
When I got home, I found this photo and message in my mailbox – and a comment on this blog which you might have found already.
I’m pleased to tell you we found your bottle number 94 at Skegness beach. Y0u really did make our little 2 day trip worth it! Lovely poem; I’m going to frame it. Here’s a picture of my daughter after finding it. We would love to know when and where you threw it in […]
The poem she’s referring to, is one of my favourite poems by Wisława Szymborska. Unfortunately I can only read her in translation. And in the translation by Clara Cavanaugh (which I included) the title of the poem is “A note”.
In this case a lovely exchange came forward, and I learned a tiny bit more about them. They genuinely seem to have enjoyed the whole experience, and that makes me so happy!