Sunday, April 23, 2006

The Sea

Did you miss me? You probably didn't notice I was away. Bastards. However, I've just arrived back oop North from a week and a half's kind-of-holiday in deepest Hampshire. It was very nice, thanks for asking. It wasn't really a proper holiday because I took my blinking thesis with me, but it was a chance to get away from the routine for a while. I stayed in a secret location somewhere near Fareham and right by the sea. The seaside is something (like Marmite, cider, Girls Aloud or cricket*) that you either love or hate. I've always been a bit of a seaside hater -beaches are smelly, unhygienic, usually scattered with litter, and as far as I'm concerned the sea is full of disgusting slimey creatures which crawl around in their own wee-wee and poo-poo. In my experience most of these foul animals lurk in the shallows, about a metre away from the shore line, waiting to bite you between the toes should you be so fool-hardy as to fancy a little wading amongst the sharp pebbles and unclean marine vegetation. I have distinct memories of being a young child in swimming trunks and inflatable arm-bands at the edge of the water for the first time and being convinced that going into that stuff was a very very bad idea. I knew that, beneath the mats of floating weed and amongst the pebbles, it was full of horrible things - unfriendly things, things watching and waiting, things best left alone. What I like least of all is that beach smell - the stench of rotting sea-weed. It's somewhere between the smell of a fishmongers' waste bin at the end of a very hot day, week-old sweaty socks and a heavily used but unflushed public toilet. I'm not really much of a beach person. In fact, throughout much of my life I have probably loathed the beach more than I have loathed cucumbers - which is really saying something.

However, I have to say that my attitude towards the sea may be changing - I rather enjoyed being beside the seaside this time. I didn't do anything silly like actually going into the sea - but I did walk a dog along the beach a few times and found the experience very pleasant. It helped, of course, that there was a marvellous view across the channel to the Isle of Wight and that the weather, for me, was fantastic - bright, clear and warm without being too hot. I wouldn't have believed it up until last week, but there is something very healthy and invigorating about sea air. I feel ten times better for it. I'm pretty convinced, too, that the light is slightly different near the sea - it felt softer - but I may well be imagining this. I suppose, actually, I may have been confusing geographical location with temporal location - it just happened that better spring time weather emerged while I went away and perhaps being by the sea had nothing to do with that whole different air/light thing. Still it's nice - if, perhaps, slightly unscientific - to think so.

* I am in favour of all those things.

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?