Ice blue is the only way to describe yet another cloudless sky. The wind moves from the north to the east as the Sun tracks around the side of house to the back field. I get out for an evening walk only when our star has turned white and offers little in the way of warmth.
Earlier I saw a pair of house martins flying raggedly in search of their regular nesting site. This evening, a swallow careens around the end of a hedge and swerves past me at head height. Is that the second of the year, or the first I saw six days ago?
Halfway down the field-edge toward the sea I take a left at the footpath that takes me towards the clump of Scots Pines. These provide a break from the buffeting wind and under these trees it is noticeably warmer than out in the field. There is a gap in the gorse above the road that gives a good view of the birds feeding on the marshes.
While I am sheltered here there is the constant sound of the wind in the trees. It is as if someone is sweeping a giant broom across a vast expanse of flagstone floor. However, the pine needles and stiff breeze are only providing the top notes to constant undertones of the raging sea, which have accompanied my walk from the start. In fact the whole day has been full of this low rushing sound since I awoke. The sea is angry.
White horses are visible to the horizon. The waves are curling up into beautiful curves before hitting the beach. The resulting explosion of foam and spume, water and pebbles regularly shower higher than three metres into the air. The collapse of these breakers and their disintegration is visible even from behind the shingle bank. This display inevitably draws me to the shoreline.
The beach is being smashed by every incoming wave. The frequency of the waves is such that there is no respite between the destructive hit of one wave and the arrival of the next. The huge beach extends for more than 12 kilometres to the tip of Blakeney Point and then about six kilometres east to the soft clay cliffs of Sheringham. At every part of the shoreline the power of the sea is witnessed. The sea is unforgiving in this state. All along the shore the air is misted by spray. The sun sets as a heartless, silver disc through this briny veil.
When I take my jacket off at the house, it is as damp as if I had have been walking through light rain, despite the sunlight and clear sky. I lick my lips and savour the taste of sea salt.
I am told the new parents have agreed on a name for their daughter. The new grandmother waits for a decision about when her daughter and grand-daughter will be allowed home.
Sporadic text messages punctuate the late evening before lights out.
n.b. Jimmy Smith, my shipmate during my time working on cross-Channel ferries in 1980, spent some years as a cook on a boat, not unlike the ‘Vital Spark’, travelling from harbour to harbour around the north of Britain.
The cargo changed depending on what needed moving between quays; roads then were more difficult to negotiate, the sea was the main highway.