Well look who I bumped into today on a family visit to Felixstowe.
We'd just started walking along the promenade and no sooner had we arrived but I spotted my friend Fran Crowe, a Suffolk artist who was setting up her exhibition in one of the beach huts on the sea front.
I met Fran last year after going to see her exhibition Walking to save some sea and interviewed her for the blog a few months later. Since then, we've met up on several occasions for some rubbish chats, so it was really good to bump into her today.
Her mini-exhibition in the beach hut is called Cast Away and is part of Felixstowe's Felixstroll event, which uses the concept of art to encourage residents and visitors to rediscover the coastline while admiring the artwork and taking part in events as they stroll between Languard Point and Felixstowe Ferry.
The aim of Fran's work is to highlight the issue of litter that finds its way onto the beach, inviting visitors to take direct action during their walk and help keep the beaches clean. She is encouraging people to pick up litter that they find and add them to a rainbow picture and other images that she is creating in the small area in front of the beach hut. If people don't want to part with their findings, they can package them up and take them home as a souvenir of Felixstowe. There are also alternative souvenirs available at the beach hut.
Following Fran's advice we decided to take part in the Felixstroll event and walked three miles along the coast to Felixstowe Ferry, discovering places that we'd never visited before in our six years in Suffolk. It's given a whole new insight into what the resort has to offer, passing beautiful scenery along the way.
When we arrived at the more rural setting of Felixstowe Ferry, I couldn't resist dropping in at The Caravan Gallery, which is a travelling photographic exhibition, all neatly packed into .... a caravan...! It's most definitely a portrait of Great Britain with a difference, totally perceptive and thoroughly entertaining and was well worth the walk.
However, after a three mile stretch that took as almost as many hours at a childlike pace, we couldn't face the walk back so hopped on the free shuttle bus back into town, where we dropped off an item of beach rubbish into Fran's evolving exhibition.
The piece of "rubbish"we found is the multi-coloured item that you see us holding in the photo, a peculiar looking thing that possibly resembles a lost dog-toy, which was made out of an old juggling ball and old pieces of fabric.
Somehow, I think Fran might have a good use for it instead of it floating out to sea when the tide comes in.
The Felixstroll was a real fun event, which continues over the weekend. If you're in the vicinity tomorrow, it's well worth popping into the resort for a stroll along the promenade with a difference. Just remember to say hello to Fran. For now, I'll leave you with some of the other sights we spotted today.
For more information about Fran's excellent work, which can't help but get you thinking about human impact on the environment, visit www.flyintheface.com.
Updated with extra photos 4/7/09