This blog is being neglected, not as a result of a conscious decision but simply through lack of time. In part this is due to the ongoing heatwave in the UK; I don’t remember anything like it since 1976. We travelled in the first part of the year but now I am locked into a cycle of golf, golf administration and putting many miles on motorcycles. In short, I am making hay while the sun shines because at some point this must end.
This set of images is from a trip to the coast over the weekend. It is perhaps indicative of a compulsive tendency that the coastal walk should skirt two golf courses, Alnmouth Village and the Foxton. Perhaps I am in need of help 🙂
Getting down to the beach was never easy and the last stretch was always a slight concern with three children in tow. Thirty years later the direct route has been closed off due to erosion and the last 15 feet requires the use of ropes, the gentler drop to the beach having been washed away by the sea. It is worth making the effort.
Padstow, Boscastle, Tintagel and Port Isaac, respectively made famous by food, flood, legend and soap opera, are overwhelmed with day trippers. Strangles is empty.
And yet, some 100 feet above the beach I catch the faint smell of wood burning and, as we drop onto the beach, to the south, there is the cackle of a minor rock fall. I sense we are being watched.
Well, the- The ocean doesn’t want me today But I’ll be back tomorrow to play And the strangles will take me Down deep in their brine The mischievous brain jewels Down into the endless blue wine I’ll open my head and let out all of my time I’d love to go drowning And to stay and to stay But the ocean doesn’t want me today I’ll go in up to here It can’t possibly hurt All they will find is my beer and my shirt A rip tide is ragin’ And the life guard’s away But the ocean doesn’t want me today But the ocean doesn’t want me today The ocean doesn’t want me today
With thanks to gavinclinch on Blip for making the connection between the place, the images and this Tom Waits track.
When I want to go back, I head for the sea. For all our modern advances, our relationship with sand and water is unchanged in my lifetime. These images could have been taken any time in the last sixty years. There is a quality of light in the sky as you approach the sea which is apparent long before you arrive at the coast. It is this I remember from long ago summer holidays, summers when the sands were too hot to walk on barefoot. I am still drawn by that light:
I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied; And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying, And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.
Behind the dunes is the wonderful Alnmouth Village Golf Course, the oldest 9-hole course in England. On this day the fairways were brown and hard meaning the ball would run forever. By comparison, the greens were islands of lush green. I was frustrated not to be playing – in my head, sand sea and golf are inseparable.
My good lady and best friend has been angling to go somewhere warm. These last few years I have taken her to the Arctic Circle in winter (minus 30 in Kirkenes), Lapland, the Inner Hebrides, the Outer Hebrides, the northwest and northeast of Scotland and various narrowboat voyages across middle England, renowned for its equatorial climate 😉 For penance I find myself in northern Spain, Comillas in Cantabria to be precise and very warm it is too.
A short slice of holiday life – a couple of hours after our arrival we walk down the steep track from the gîte to the town centre. Within a few hundred yards Pam finds a plastic driving licence lying on the ground and the strangest of things – it is mine, even though I have never passed this way before! A miracle say I. No says my beloved – that was the ‘angel of found things’ lending a helping hand, it was meant to be.
Of course if my fine lady hadn’t dropped it in the first place (on a wander looking for the gîte) and the ‘angel of careless hands’ hadn’t been asleep on the job, none of this would have been necessary – in the interests of a peaceful and serene existence, all of this goes unsaid. Maybe this explains everything:
From Iglesia de San Cristóbal we walked to the seafront and at the small port peer over the harbour wall to find a raging white water sea. I think I am going to like it here:
In the evening there are still stragglers on the beach, reluctant to let the long day close. “In the reprieve at the end of the day, in the stillness of a summer evening, the world sheds its categories, the insistence of its future, and is suspended solely in the lilt of its desire.”
Barry Lopez, Arctic Dreams.
Following on from the previous post, this is evidence that the beach was not entirely empty. It was a bitter March day with a stiff wind coming in off the sea – not a day for sunbathing but perfect for flying a kite. The beloved is exiting stage right – a Geordie girl, even she has had enough of the north east’s biting cold for one day:
(just experimenting with soundcloud – a tribute to Wilhelm Reich, it has some vague relevance to this day)
Utterly carefree, this young child is oblivious to everything around her. She was playing on the beach at Philpsburg, St Maarten where there is a constant rush of island ferries pulling in and out at the pier – not once did she turn her head to see what was happening outside her own world:
Just a few days ago we were on the Isle of Muck; these two signs say much about the island. The first is unpretentious and needs fixing to its post but what matters is that the food should be good, and it is (the chocolate crunch is recommended). Their dog is obviously proud:
If you look closely at this second sign there is even a tongue in cheek hint at modernity, The Green Shed offering a 24×7 service. How is this achieved – simple, never lock the door and operate an honesty box. It says much that they not only trust their own but also the visitors; it seems unlikely that the crime rate is high on this or any of the other small islands.
Of course I am just using this Photo Challenge as an excuse to post pictures from this wonderful small island that we were privileged to see on the very best of days. I don’t know what I did to deserve this good fortune but it must have been in a previous life; nothing springs to mind from this one:
Perhaps I should not have tried black and white, it was such a technicolor day, but then I started Mucking 🙂 about and came up with these; just remember the sky is deep blue, the sands white and the grass a lush green:
Travel theme: Beaches – between the Mersehead RSPB Reserve and the links at Southerness on the Solway Firth, the wide sands stretch to the far horizon and at low tide the sea all but disappears; this is a never-ending landscape under a never-ending sky. It is only from the beaches that the sheer scale of it all becomes apparent – how small, how fragile we are: