Saturday, 16 February 2008


Restless, I went walking again, northward along the beach. The village was soon left behind and I had the path to myself. Which is anthropocentric if ever a statement was. Curlew, oyster catchers, lapwing, redshank, terns, and gulls populated the strand and the low sandy fields on the other side of the path. Signs of excavation in the fields were evidence of rabbits and the mounds of moles were outnumbered only by the barbaric display of their wind dried corpses swinging from the barbed wire. I could not help but catch a glimpse of the battlefields of France of Belgium.

The waves were soothing. A gentle swell pushing a short distance up the shingle, creaming around the rocks. Beneath the cliffs they broke now and then, surging up a long shallow slope just below the water line, curling over and streaming fine spray. And further north, the swell swirled round rocks just off the shore where seals lay hauled up, watching me for a moment with lazy eyes before giving themselves back to enjoyment of the rare winter sun.

There is a sense of the primeval here. The rocks are ancient, some of the oldest on the planet. It is no wonder, then, that I washed up here; no wonder that so many paths pass through. One even begins here (although it is best avoided). They are not easy to see. Travellers know where they are. Cannier locals notice the places that fish, birds, and animals avoid. I see them with clarity, the sapphire lattice that shimmers. I pull my coat tighter. It will be a while before I return.

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