[please click the corner to turn the pages]Picture postcards always frame the seaside in the sun, but I like the dull days too - the grey sky mornings when the gulls are white against the clouds - cut-out shapes that offer a glimpse of the bright beyond.
A seaside town closing down - kiosks boarded, coaches going going gone - children back in the classroom. Empty shelters with no scraps for the opportunistic onlooker - and the only one smiling for a snapshot, a young gull perched high and bemused over a stone clad fruit basket.
She taught me to always ask the birds permission before you take their photo - otherwise they will fly away just as you hit the button. I think its connected to the way that people used to believe that early photographs stole a piece of your soul - and the birds haven’t quite given up on this idea.
A place of shadows and stains and secret corners to hide from the wind - to huddle away with a book and a pen and a bagful of recycled words. I’m at home among the older faces, the creases and the frowns - taking time to gather dust and watch the waves come and go and return again. To catch scraps of conversation as they drift by - talk of ‘gas masks and all that’ as the old man clutches his tobacco pouch to his chest, like a long lost grandchild - and she says how ‘he never had a day of ill health in his whole life’ and you just know this is posthumous praise.
This is where I live - just another seaside town, except that this is my seaside town - not quite where I was born but most likely, hopefully, where I will die, or at least drift away. Good on the bright days but just as much mine on the grey.