If I had made any New Year’s Resolutions, one of them would have been to spend more time appreciating where I live. Folk dream of living by the seaside, but once the dream becomes reality it is all too easy to take the beauty and benefits for granted. I let my regular weekend walks lapse last summer when gardening started to consume every daylight hour, only going down to the beach when I was entertaining visitors. As Christmas approached I had other excuses, but now that the festivities are over I am rediscovering the joys of sand, sea and occasional sunshine in the town sometimes referred to as Stella Maris, Star of the Sea.
It was my Birthday on Friday. Although efforts were made to make it a decent day, I chose to celebrate instead on Saturday, with a small group of friends. We had a wonderful meal at a local restaurant called Stark, which is so brilliant I have to pinch myself to remind me how lucky I am to have such a gastronomic delight on my doorstep. There was Bollinger before we left the house, pornstar martinis at Houdini’s Magic Bar and after-dinner drinks at Boswells. Then we cracked open a few more bottles before retiring to bed at 3.30am.
I am not going to say that I am getting a bit old for this kind of shenanigans, but I woke up feeling as inebriated as I did when I went to bed, and my head has been punishing me all day. I had a friend at university who would go on a gruelling run following a heavy night on the town. He swore that it was the best cure for a hangover. I didn’t believe it then, I don’t believe it now, and I have no intention of proving otherwise. However, I do endorse a dose of bracing sea air to clear a sore head.
Having set foot tentatively outdoors after lunch my first task was to let some fresh air into the greenhouse, which was warm after a morning of pleasant sunshine. I tidied up my clematis, had a cursory sweep and checked whether any of the plants growing in pots were getting too dry. Then, with my brain straining against my skull, I ventured down to the seafront, where the entire world appeared to be having an afternoon constitutional. What’s more, for every human being there appeared to be at least three dogs.
Dropping down to the beach to make the most of the sinking sun, I entered a world of golden light and glassy reflections. The sea has stripped away a lot of the sand, exposing rough plinths of white chalk rock. The tide was going out and the waves were small and gentle. On the beach it’s hard to tell what season it is, the air temperature providing the only clue. Walking on my own was a welcome opportunity to take in the timeless scene and re-engage with where I live. Just for a moment, bathed in soft, yellow light, my hangover was forgotten. TFG.