This is what came to mind on a pretty bleak, rainy walk along the beach where I live. Written for The Daily Post writing challenge called “Blog Your Block”: http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_writing_challenge/blog-your-block/
The grey pebbles turned and twisted under her sturdy shoes. It wasn’t a pretty beach, she thought. Although there was a kind of pre-historic peace to the place, as if it couldn’t be bothered with day trippers looking to build sandcastles. Only a few fishermen and foolhardy sea gulls clung to the shores of the channel trying to catch a bite for dinner. The coastguard was watching like an ever present guardian angel and a few local inhabitants always had their kitchen windows focussed on the waterfront.
Strange plants grew which had developed around this harsh, salty, barren landscape. Nothing else grew but scrub plants. There were no trees so the wily, quick witted birds had built their nests in the stones and the scrub trying to avoid the footsteps of people and foxes.
When the wind blew people walked at a 45 degree angle and when the sun shone they lay flat out on the uncomfortable stones in bathing suits which were quite inappropriate for the area – more suited to a Caribbean island somewhere.
The rain was penetrating every layer of clothing and she kept her eyes fixed on the pebbles. Occasionally a crushed shell came into view: a strand of mangled seaweed; discarded ropes; broken lobster pots – the plethora of driftwood which came ashore after a storm. The tides changed with every minute bringing a new wave of stones and shingle but the landscape never changed.
I have been looking through some old slides from my grandparents battered old leather suitcase and came across this fantastic picture of my grandmother circa 1958 or 59. The box of slides was entitled “The Broads” where I know my Dad was taken on holiday and they went boating, sailing, fishing – anything to do with being on the water. My grandfather’s passion was sailing and boats which has been passed on to my Dad and Uncle. We also have distant ancestors who were boat builders too…it must be in the blood! But back to the picture…
I love the fact that she wore a rather natty headscarf to keep her hair tidy whilst out on the river. Check out also the provisions lined up neatly inside the boat, with proper cutlery and a tea towel. This was a lady who was prepared and had a family of hungry men to feed! She also obviously didn’t let standards slip outside the home!
But she looked like she enjoyed herself! Here she is with Dad…
Wearing a practical boating outfit – a pleated skirt and cardi. And with a radio on board by the looks of it. It’s like some idyllic scene out of “Swallows and Amazons“, by Arthur Ransome which I would highly recommend reading!
I wonder how much the Broads have changed more than half a century later?