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On a Clear Day to Kent

kent palm trees

I thought that I had hardly ever seen the old Thames estuary look as blue and green as it did this afternoon.

Sometimes I go down to the front here at Southend-on-Sea and you’d not even know we aren’t on the edge of the earth, so it’s quite nice when the Garden of England across the water puts in an appearance.

Apologies for the double negative but I kinda liked writing it.

Gift from the Sea (an extract) by Anne Morrow Lindbergh

When you love someone, you do not love them all the time, in exactly the same way, from moment to moment. It is an impossibility. It is even a lie to pretend to. And yet this is exactly what most of us demand. We have so little faith in the ebb and flow of life, of love, of relationships. We leap at the flow of the tide and resist in terror its ebb. We are afraid it will never return. We insist on permanency, on duration, on continuity; when the only continuity possible, in life as in love, is in growth, in fluidity –in freedom, in the sense that the dancers are free, barely touching as they pass, but partners in the same pattern.

The only real security is not in owning or possessing, not in demanding or expecting, not in hoping, even. Security in a relationship lies neither in looking back to what was in nostalgia, nor forward to what it might be in dread or anticipation, but living in the present relationship and accepting it as it is now. For relationships, too, must be like islands. One must accept them for what they are here and now, within their limits – islands, surrounded and interrupted by the sea, and continually visited and abandoned by the tides. One must accept the security of the winged life, of ebb and flow, of intermittency.


From Southend to Tilbury


On the promenade
Palm fronds, cling on
In the wind,
Whilst car doors
And waves slam
In my ears.
Tide’s up
Shuttered down
The moon and sun
Shine bemusement
Women leave the casino
At dusk
Tapping their watches…
And the men walk dogs
Over the cliffs
Off lead.
One ketch argues with itself
On a wet mooring
Tearing its heart out.
My unblind mind’s eye
Conjures up dolphins
And seals in the rush hour
Of a stirred-up estuary
As I try to keep pace
With some cruise ship
Heading to the docks
For winter.

Pier at Sundown Today

pier sunset 2

Tuesday’s Post: in which I cannot think of a title for the life of me

I seem to have come through my gate period now.  It may return, but I will try to hold it in.

The problem with being an introvert (or an INFP apparently) is that you can get so immersed in what you are doing, that you forget you have children, who are on summer holidays who need feeding and, to some degree, interacting with.  I find, to do that, I need to go out.  In the house just doesn’t really work for me these days – there are just too many distractions in here.  Also, too much damn mess.  I need a skip.  I keep saying I will do a boot sale, but I am not sure I could face coming back home with the same crap other people rejected.

Here’s someone we saw when we were out roaming the streets at the weekend – he turned up with an extra groovy sound system, after the lorry full of zombies.   It was bloody windy, well done fella for managing to stay upright.

Now, if you saw this in a boot sale…



More Pier

And why not.

On a side note: today was 2000 Guineas day. I had a bet for the first time since… I can’t remember when.

I lost.

On the upside it was a free bet and I did not chase it.

So yes, some things stay the same, as much as they change…

These are some kind of aerials, or radio masts on the pierhead. I imagine they are used by the RNLI for communications, but I don’t know. There is a tall ship coming to the pierhead at the end of the month. I am going to visit. I like ships; less sure about the actual sailing. Fortunately, that won’t be necessary to go aboard Atlantis. Thoughtfully they are holding something called ‘Open Ship’ as well as doing actual sailings. I am calling the expedition: research.


I also did the annual grass sowing in the garden. I am sure the neighbours were laughing at me, or heavily sighing. But, I will have grass come June.

Vive l’herbe!

Capoeira on the Pier

It’s a long sunny afternoon on our Pier
All one mile and a third of it
Although one woman sounds disappointed
On the outward leg
To hear
It’s not further
Into the Thames Delta
Where the bleached boardwalk
Opens out like a piazza
For fishermen
And the Lifeboats
Where there’s enough room to twirl
With your arms outstretched
Until you were dizzy and had to lie
On the silvered planks
Amongst the No Smoking signs
And look at the sky


You don’t
Because your kids
Would hate you

So you walk in bursts of fast
And idle
Stuck between walkers:
Behind the woman
With one, squeaking, shoe
And you just know
That she’s somebody’s mother
Right there, halfway out to
Knob Creek
& The Shivering Sands
because if she were not,
He would
Tell her.

And you don’t
Because your kids
Would hate you

The whirling
Swirling dancers,
Scissor snapping
Legs in the air
Wearing white
Dancing Afro-Brazilian beats
‘Til we clap and sway
Wanting to join


But we don’t
Because our kids
Would hate us

The dreadlock MC
Takes the mike
Singing Reggae-on-Sea
And, we, nearly can’t help ourselves
Joining in
Under our


And now the kids
Really hate you
And want to leave

But now I am all
‘Get up
Stand up
Stand up
For your rights
Get up
Stand up
Don’t give up the fight’
And I don’t.
Until I do
When they complain
They are hungry
or cold
And it’s true
The east wind is whipping
Up the estuary

And now the kids
Really hate you
And want to leave

We pile on the train
As the man with an empty pushchair
Plants his feet astride
The longest pier in the world
And Orthodox Jewish girls,
Who have it all ahead of them,
Arrive at the pierhead
On foot
In sensible skirts

Without any kids
To hate them

Our carriage
Is full of drummers
But we see the guitar playing
In the next,
Wondering where the trumpet’s gone.
And all we know
As the train rumbles away
Is the sound of the drums:
And the beat goes on
The baby smiles.

As yet
Too young
To hate them


No words


January Sea Front


I climb the cliff with
The strong smell of frying
Above under the arches
As Dayglo lycra skeins by and
Seagulls captain small boats
Going nowhere
And white down
Swirls up
On the eddy of air
From the fresh squish
Of pigeon breast

Tide Out, Reflection In

What I like about this, apart from the partial reflections, is that where everything seems at first glance to be still, there is a  lot going on, off out there where you can’t quite see.

As I get older, my vision seems to be changing.  It’s much worse at distances, and not brilliant close-up either, but my peripheral vision seems more perceptive.  I glimpse things in the corner of my eye.  Sometimes I think it’s ghosts, but no.

For this reason I often don’t feel connected to where I am.  The camera is a way of embedding myself in the landscape momentarily, rather than drifting through in a self-absorbed, myopic haze.