Cathy Watts

My love of the seaside goes back to my childhood with happy beach days spent with my family and grandmother who lived on the south coast of England. Ponds too were a regular feature of my childhood, some of which was spent in Kent where I used to spend most of my free time catching tadpoles, sticklebacks and newts and bringing them home to feed on bits of bacon!

In fact, I have never lived far from water for any length of time and I am still a keen swimmer. I lived in Hove on the south-coast for thirty-five years where I was lucky enough to own a beach hut in which I shared seaside adventures with my son as he was growing up. Together we spent many hours talking about our local coastline: about the treasures thrown up onto the beach such as crab claws, shells, sea glass, mermaids’ purses and hag stones; about all the seaside noises like the seagull cries and the waves scraping over the stones at the water’s edge; about the ever-changing shapes of the coastline as the tides pull in and out; about the feelings of well-being and optimism as we watched the face of the sea reflecting the light from the sky.

I have been a teacher, mainly in Higher Education, for over forty years and am now semi-retired. I have been a frequent visitor to primary schools since 2008 when my first book for children, Sandies in the Beach Huts was published and where I write stories with the children, talk about natural history around us and provide craft events. I have been a regular visitor, for example, to Upper Beeding Primary School in West Sussex for nearly fifteen years from where the children even come to visit my beach hut in Hove as part of their school trips! I have more free time now than previously, which I spend restoring a medieval fishpond, swimming, bird watching, writing books and travelling to Spain and Germany where I also teach.

Mermaids' purses, Hove beach
Mermaids’ purses, Hove beach
Hag stone, Hove beach © B.Gräff, Salzburg
Hag stone, Hove beach © B. Gräff, Salzburg


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