I have three favourite south coast places I visit, to escape London - Littlehampton, Ramsgate and Shoreham on Sea. Since I grew up on the south coast of Wales and spent all my teenage years in summers on the beach, I have to escape London regularly, especially in summer, to breathe some ozone and hear the seagulls crying.
Catching the breeze
Standing by the harbour,
the summer wind blows through
the cobwebs in my brain,
scouring Indra’s net strand by strand,
shaking it down, scrubbing off
the dust of life and London.
I breathe in a blast of ozone
and the net sparkles with colours,
reds, greens and amethyst blues,
I’m waking up to this moment,
watching a pure white seagull,
wings outstretched, surfing the wind.
He swoops low over the water then
whips up over the harbour wall,
high above my head.
It’s a game he’s playing
a game of nothing but what it is –
riding the wind.
This poem was blown up and displayed in the window of the Dugdale Centre, Enfield, 2019. It will be the title poem of my next collection, out soon.
Back to Ramsgate where I went last week for a few nights - an expensive time of year to stay at the Ramsgate Harbour Travelodge, but hey I wasn't paying - the insurance company overseeing the building works for subsidence in my flat were.
I've been a nomad for 3 weeks - staying here and there and finally at the Travelodge. So carrying belongings with me, clothes and toiletries and trying to get used to other people's dietary habits, bathrooms, kitchens and rules for living. How kind and generous they all were. So grateful.
Now I'm back in my own place - still dealing with residual builders, building problems etc for another week, but so nice to have my own kitchen, bathroom and bedroom back: my own food in the fridge, my own cooking etc. What a joy! Still dealing with boxes all over the kitchen and bedroom but it's MY space at last.
My Travelodge room overlooked the 'Royal' Harbour
and the weather was hot - had to have the fan on all the time, day and night.
Evenings were spent with daughter and partner and stepson (17) who cooked for us one night - time spent walking round the harbour, along the beach to Broadstairs eating chips and ice cream, another visiting a vast antique's emporium, catching up with all their news.
In my room, I could relax too, in my own space, unshared with anyone.
Now I'm back in London in my flat and the weather has cooled somewhat from the 30"C it was down to 20- 24C in the daytime and 16C-18C at night. Lovely.
Have I been writing? No not at all - emotional upheavals and nomadic moving around have thrown me from my centre of gravity. I need peace and calm to get back into writing mode. Now I have a funeral to go to - my wonderful aunt Beryl has died aged 96 in West Wales - so off again on my travels to the funeral.
When I return, there's a few more days of building upheaval and then hopefully my life will calm down again. But whoever knows what the universe will throw at us next. Peace and laughter is the plan ...
Old adverts from a hundred years ago
Gargoyles near the entrance to Chatham School
The war follows us everywhere
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