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Sandstorm

May 27, 2012

Last week was a busy one, but most days I managed a quick walk before tea.  With such gorgeous weather, it would have been criminal not to!  I love the Weaver, as you know.  And with the sun declining, the river has an almost ethereal beauty.  Anglers after carp and the occasional lazy passage of a narrowboat serve only to enhance the air of tranquillity.  And yet…and yet…

Talacre!

How I wish we still had our caravan there.  How lovely it was to escape for a weekend or a few days – that sense of freedom!

Talacre is a coastal village in Flintshire, North Wales, with a number of famous features.  The dunes, of course, home to the rare Natterjack toad.  The mudflats skirting the Dee estuary, a rich environment for waders and wildfowl of all sorts.  And the 19th century, long-disused lighthouse on the beach, which some believe haunted by the ghost of a former keeper…

Our van (a 35-footer with three bedrooms) was more than just a holiday home to us; it was our foothold in the Principality, our base for exploration.  And it was here I began to write creatively again after a long break due to work pressures.  I read a lot too, was mesmerized by Robert Barnard’s crime fiction, enchanted by Jo Bell’s poetry collection Navigation and moved by the late-Evan Hunter’s last book, his memoir Let’s Talk: A Story of Cancer and Love.

The following entries from my diary were all written at Talacre during my first full year of freedom from social housing, 2008. 

 

Sunday 01/06/08

10:50 am:  Alone at the van.  A cool, cloudy morning; could be rain later.  Ebb tide sloughing softly, a thin mist out to sea.  Not many people on the beach.  A headless raptor (possibly a buzzard) lying on its back, talons out, wings spread on the sand.  Maybe it misjudged its prey…fatal mistake!

 

Wednesday 10/09/08

Autumn has come to Talacre.  The official start of autumn, the autumnal equinox, isn’t until the 22nd, but there’s been a definite change of season since I was here last, three weeks ago.  Fallen leaves cover the park and there’s that distinctive moist smell in the air.  The rasping whine of a chainsaw somewhere – tree surgeons at work; otherwise a wistful calm prevails, the school hols over.  Talacre without Scouse accents!  The place is hopping with rabbits, of course.

Yesterday morning, after the rain, I took a stroll along the beach with my trousers flapping madly in the wind.  Greeny-grey sea, quite choppy; flurries of blinding sand.  No one about except for a female dog-walker in the hazy distance – or was she a mirage?  The old lighthouse had a forlorn look.  A curious patch of sand covered in footprints with completely smooth sand all around.  A group of three cormorants heading east over the creaming surf.  A hint of the old beach smell remembered from childhood…

 

Thursday 23/10/08

PM:  My God, it’s wild out there today – High Wind In Talacre!  You should hear it roaring through the trees on site and screaming through the marram grass of the dunes.  The beach, which was yesterday quite uneven with bumps and ridges everywhere, and patchy with muddy brown areas amongst the yellow, is today an alien environment with a blinding sandstorm raking across it at furious speed, smoothing the contours, filling hollows, driving tumbling tatters of sea hilly out into the spray of the tide.  Turn into it and the sand flails your face and fills your eyes though they’re screwed up tight, and you find yourself crunching grit behind pressed lips.  Turn your back and open your arms and you virtually have lift-off!  Needless to say I was alone on the beach save for the odd kittiwake tumbling and staggering through the turbulence and a solitary crow that the wind tossed aside like a black binbag.

 

***

I’ll post more Talacre entries another time, if you like…

 

-oOo-

 

© Copyright Paul Beech 2012

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From → Diary

2 Comments
  1. Fantastic view of your world, Paul. To enjoy nature is one of our best gifts. Your writing is eloquent as usual. I miss writing. Lately I’ve been sharing old stories with new friends, when I should be sharing new stories with old friends. But, I must chase that confounded carrot dangling in front of my nose … There must be a better way to live!

    • Thanks, Jackie. Yes, I love nature in all its moods, and the natural world not only as something to observe but as something, in a humble way, to feel a part of. I’m not into mysticism or religion; I find all that a turn-off. But wandering a riverbank or beach at sunset, wandering the village under a starry sky…at moments like these I do feel at one with the world and have a sense of connection with those who’ve gone before me and those who’ll come after.

      Now, carrot or no carrot, get rattling that keyboard!

      Paul

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