December 16th: Sea Air and Sunshine
Last night it blew a hoolie. I know because I had to go out in it to collect fish and chips for my guests so that their viewing of Strictly Come Dancing could proceed uninterrupted. I know because the garden was littered with wet, slippery leaves unceremoniously ripped from my plants, clogging drains and gutters. I know because rain water was driven inside though every nook and cranny. And yet we awoke this morning to clear skies and a calm seas, as if nothing had happened.
When I have visitors at The Watch House I go on long walks along the beach. I should do so more often, but I rarely seem to find the time. Something one learns when one lives by the sea is that it’s very easy to take it for granted, whereas when one visits it is a constant source of wonder and distraction. I often have to force myself to get out and appreciate what’s on my doorstep.
Unlike yesterday, when the temperature was almost freezing, today was warm enough to go walking without a coat. It seemed as if the whole town had emerged from their bunkers after the wild night before, glad to see the sun and stretch their legs. On the beach the sand had been blown completely smooth by the wind, except where little pebbles and shards of seashell had created shelter. Here the sand had been swept away from around them, leaving them standing proud. The low sun meant they cast miniature shadows across the beach. I have never seen anything quite like it. Elsewhere sand had blown up and polished the concrete promenade so that it shone like pewter. We spotted little egrets and grey herons feasting at the water’s edge, then four northern fulmars skirting the cliffs before resting just below the cliff edge. I have never seen any of these three birds in Broadstairs before, although perhaps I mistook them all for herring gulls at a distance. I really should pay more attention.
Sleep deprived and with my lungs full of sea air I have struggled to achieve a great deal this afternoon. I am, for once, taking it easy for a hour or so, writing this post propped on the sofa, enjoying the scent of Christmas tree and the twinkle of fairy lights. My guests are gone and the house has fallen silent, for the moment at least. Outside I can hear the wind gathering pace again. TFG.