Briefly, I have been looking through the seven or eight things I’ve posted here so far. I must apologise if you’ve felt the need to buy a wet-suit to get through them.
So I hereby pledge, dear reader, that there’ll eventually be a better balance between pieces of writing which mention the sea and pieces of writing which do not. I am sure that in the future there will be much more rambling oriented to ‘elsewhere and other stuff’ than at present.
But the thing is, my wife and I do gravitate to the water at the edges of the country during our free time. It’s logical that it should feature here.
We both find it relaxing and rejuvenating.
The wildlife, the air, the scale, the silence.
Whether it be our regular holidays and mini-breaks on the west coast of Scotland. Or our occasional simple visits to the seaside town half-an-hour’s drive away from home for evening fish and chips. Or our complicated all-day days out mooching and gasping and pointing and squinting.
I say ‘complicated’, but when I use that word I am actually referring only to my wife’s tendency to be quite thorough when putting together the packed lunch we take with us. She plans this stuff pretty well. Not meticulously, not obsessively, but with enough serious intent to make me know in my bones that our child will never want for a decent sandwich with matching accessories.
She’s an enigma.
I bought my wife a laptop for Christmas. Not a particularly expensive one, but not inexpensive and it’s quietly elegant. If she could see her way to using it as a laptop I’d be quietly heartened.
As I write, all that trim and neat processing potential is being put to use as a small occasional shelf on top of the radiator in our bedroom. Currently perched on it are a folded towel and a small stack of underwear. This despite her having her own dressing room.
If my wife used the laptop for its intended purpose rather than as a half-way house for her knickers and over-the-shoulder-boulder-holders, she’d probably find all sorts of useful apps on it. And, having found them, I’m certain she’d develop the pleasurable habit of putting together supporting spreadsheets for pack-up prep.
Since we discovered that she is pregnant she has been totally off coffee. This was a great loss to her. So I am the only person able to drink it, and as a consequence it has fallen to me to perform the flask duties when we’re ‘getting things together’ in the kitchen before we go. It’s a responsibility I don’t take lightly. I put in an extra spoonful to demonstrate my commitment to the execution of her planning and to the success of our days out.
Anyway, we were at it again the weekend just gone. A trip to a coastal beauty spot an hour-and-a-half’s drive away. A few hours mooching and gasping and pointing and squinting.
While we were there we took some photographs. My wife is beginning to look, in her own words, “well preg”. Hence the above. Us taking a few pictures was a more modest and more sensibly located exercise than the wannabe social media influencer we saw.
Pouting into the sun, precariously balanced on the narrowest joining ledge between two cliffs more than a hundred feet up. Tits and arse pushed out, head tilted, long hair thrown back, V-for-victory sign. A split-second and literally just a few centimetres from a slip to certain death. V-for-vanished. Selfie-stick a divining rod for stupidity. She had found a steady stream.
My wife got chatting to a man and his son who were walking a smoky scamp of a dog I saw and pointed out to her the two or three times our paths crossed. I really liked the look of it, and it seemed to like the look of us. A cross between a Norfolk Terrier and a Poodle. A Poofolk? A Nordle?
We sat a few feet from a cliff edge and watched a colony of about thirty seals on the rocks below, basking and rolling and splashing into the sea and splashing back out again. I laid on my back and listened to them moo as I drifted into the clouds. Seeing faces. How quickly their shapes changed and they all floated away.
Everything is temporary.
I have been unable to get out of my head for about a week, locked down and locked in a little bit. It happens sometimes, rarely, and then it passes and I unwrap. As if, like an inexpensive laptop processor, I need just a small packet of time and space to catch up with the inside of myself and the outside of myself. I cannot function too well for a few days until that has happened.
We have, actually, both felt rather low and crabby recently. Not exactly burned out but a little fried. The lockdown, though it is easing, provides a curious energy or sap thereof. Neither of us has slept at all well for a couple of weeks. It was beginning to show. It was helpful to get away from home for a few hours and be small in an expanse and have nature recharge the batteries a bit.
We drove home and decided once again that, yes indeed, we would like to live right next to the sea.