Sea, dirt-brown and churning, flotsam strewn along the promenade. Man and dog dodge puddles, seaweed, grey wood, plastic milk bottles, rope, dislodged concrete, carrier bags, and a dead gull. All of marine life, and death, is here.
Grey skies, dotted by airborne leaves, dry and husky. One cat, old and frail, looks at me with large eyes. He knows the mobile cat carrier is out for a reason. He tells me: “Really, I’m fine.”
Early-day shoppers, coats pulled tight around them, heads down, stare at wet and dark pavements. Bright-light frontages, welcoming and warming, tease and offer shelter. Coins are exchanged for items we didn’t know we wanted.
Strong sea forces have begun the long shore drift, moving tons of sand to heaven-knows-where, and exposing bases of rusting metal, rotting wood and crumbling concrete. How will these misshapen and broken objects protect our houses, our possessions, our families? But somehow, they do. The TV shows other areas, where the sea has broken through inadequate defences, and amongst the feel-good stories of pets rescued and Dunkirk spirit, are sad faces, gazing at ruined homes.
Blue skies and sun foster memories of a lazy summer. Bright greetings shouted between neighbours lift grey winter spirits. TV warns of a return to dark and wet days. ’Twas ever thus.
Bringing in the new year
And Atlantic storms.
Daytrippers seeking sea air
Driven back to cars.
A burning bronze sun partially disappears behind sparse cloud coverage; soon, a bright waning gibbous moon lights my way.
Tess’s head lifts from her normal ground-sniffing pose, and her ears sharpen; the inpenetrable darkness for me hides something of interest for my dog.
Two rambling piles, the aroma of freshly-sawn wood, pressure-treatment glistening in the morning sun. My next project has begun.
I am in the city; glitzy mobile phone palaces vie for attention, assaulting my eyes with bright lights and brash colours, but salesmen wander the floors, lonely.