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needed to make something of this size. It is superbly executed and beautifully done.’ Elisabeth modelled Miranda’s face on her own by looking into a mirror, which could explain how she managed to achieve the reflective pose Heather sought. ‘She got the wistful look on Miranda’s face so well because her father had just died and she must have caught some of that expression when she looked in the mirror,’ Heather said.


Miranda is visible to any seafarer who cares to find her, but she hides a secret. Buried deep inside her hollow, reinforced frame is a time-capsule explaining how she came to be. Approaching from Heather’s winding terraced pathways, it is Miranda’s back and long hair draped over one shoulder that is seen first. ‘She takes one’s breath away, she’s so very life- like,’ Heather said.


With her long swishy tail Miranda is slightly bigger than lifesize and larger than the fairytale little mermaid perched on a rock in the harbour of Denmark’s


capital city. ‘She wasn’t to look like the Copen- hagen mermaid, I didn’t want to mimic that,’ Heather said. I wanted my mer- maid to be what she has actually turned out to be. I wanted her to look wistful.’ Miranda rests leaning slightly back on her arms atop a rock where the river meets the land at the very bottom of Heather’s terraced garden. Much of the time she sits proud of the water but during the spring high tides her fin tail is awash in the salty brine. When the high springs bring stormy weather


I wanted my mermaid to be what she has actually turned out to be. I wanted her to look wistful.’


Miranda is battered by the waves. But Miranda can withstand anything the sea and weather throws at her as she is firmly secured to the rock by a series of three-foot long bronze rods. Miranda was delivered and fitted by local builder Brian Woodgate, Heather said, adding: ‘He brought her in a


boat covered with a tarpaulin, it was most undignified. ‘He arrived during a storm at 8am when I was serving breakfast to my bed and breakfast guests. He used a crane to lift her onto land and came back at a later date to get her in situ.’ Heather threw a party to welcome Miranda to Dartmouth and hopes her mermaid will give pleasure to seafaring people for many years to come. She said: ‘I feel very sad Dartmouth has lost so much since I came to live here. The pottery has closed down as has the wonderful old Gunfield Hotel. I wanted to give something back to the town as a thank you for the happy times my family and I have had here, as well as having a beautiful garden sculpture for myself.’ Heather added: ‘I love living here and I want to live here for as long as possible, although when I come back from holiday I immediately think where am I going to go next. Miranda looks out to the open sea and the unknown…. perhaps I do see a little of myself in her.’•


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