On the beach – a submerged red brick wall, about 3ft x 4ft. I kid you not. The brick was really red, almost orange, and the cement in between each lozenge, brilliant white. Like Humpty Dumpty’s wall. But this time it was the wall that fell. Well, I don’t know that really, I mean did it fall, or was it pushed?
People and dogs way in the distance, the vast empty sandbeach transforming the scene into a Lowry painting.
In the company of the receding sea, which booms companionably on my right, I breathe, and I think, I sometimes stop and watch the waves as they too, created by the swell of the sea seem to think and breathe, shall we raise ourselves up and crash down, again, and yet again? And of course they do, and reassured, I watch their gentle mesmerising performance.
It’s inviting, that strip of walkway which reaches like a pointing finger right out to sea. It stretches way beyond the sturdy concrete harbour with its railings and back to back benches – I go there, it will feel as if I’m on a ship, the deep turquoise sea bashing and crashing. I’m at the monument, which bears a humble prayer, which I read. It’s about God and the sea, I can’t remember the words, something about God being mightier. There’s an iron gate which leads to the walkway, it’s rusty and open. I step through it. I take another step, and another. The wooden planks have wide gaps and below the sea churns and thrashes, it unbalances me, that angry sea beneath my feet, it disorientates me and I suddenly feel fear. I clutch the rail and inch my way back. I feel safe only when my feet touch concrete. I scold myself as I walk back, silly woman, I stop and read a memorial on one of the benches: ‘O how I love thee – the ocean’ it said.
And the young woman, pretty in her shorts and suntop, striding/lurching with her dogs and her husband, son as well. Striding/lurching along on the firm sand by the sea, her left hip rolling as she went, her left side and shoulder dipping, and still she strode and lurched and determination shone from her as she swung her arms and held her head high, as she strode/lurched on one shapely leg and one prosthetic leg.
Back along the promenade, part of the Cleveland Way, raging seas crash against jagged boulders sending frothy spray high and the screams as it drenches unsuspecting walkers.
Deckchairs and beach huts, tables with coffee, bottles of wine and egg and cress sandwiches. People spread out, skirts up over knees, bare skin shiny with oil, roasting toasting nicely under the sun. Children dart like lizards here there gone, back, sandy feet scrape icecreams melt seaweed tangles in knots and is thrown over the railings like brown ribbons in the air.
Early one sunny morning, seven yachts follow each other in single file out of the harbour into the sea, sails unfurling as they go.
And the tantalising smell of fish and chips and vinegar……..mmm!