Chilling

There’s nothing more to be done but wait, and it’s a bank holiday weekend. I’ve taken the pressure off and I’m on the beach.

My feet are pale from an extended winter in walking boots. I’m letting them feel the sand. My white abdomen is on display, a little larger with pie than I’d like it, but proud. My T-shirt is on my head. Fuck it.

There aren’t many people here at St Ouen despite this being one of the first good days where the sky shows no threat of a change to come. A couple of windsurfers. A couple of families watch as the kids dig with spades and wallow in puddles. The misanthropes among you would be happy here right now though compared to how I remember it can get, when you have to pick your way through the litter to stake out a patch still warm from departed bottoms.

Lockdown has been great for Jersey. I’m sitting on a rock where the tide breaks. Cuttlefish bones lie half buried in the thin white sand. Bladderwrack and jumping sand flies, mermaids purses and cockle shells but not a single Macdonalds packet. No Coke cans and beer bottles. It’s sad but I find it almost impossible to believe. The town centre pavements are still a treasure trove of crisp packets and masks, dumped without thought to blow or wash to the sea and kill turtles and birds for us long after our fingers are worms. But here on this white sand I can see no litter – and I’m looking. I’m gonna give it five minutes from now.


Impressive. I had to range widely. I found something decayed that looks like it’s broken from a boat, the blue plastic top of a lotion bottle, and a tiny bit of polystyrene masquerading as cuttlefish. Good work, Jersey. I’m going to lie here, read, and listen to the sea for a while before I cart it off to the nearest bin. It’s probably not hot enough to get sunstroke. Let’s find out.


I’ve moved, but still the constant roar of the sea. I’ve been reading Gerald Durrell on a bench above Corbière Lighthouse. The tide is coming in and the sun is falling. My book is helping me remember to observe the little things – to see rather than just look. I’m watching the seagulls as they head home to their roosts, watching the blackheads squabble and oh look, there’s a small brown kite, playing in the wind. It could almost have just come from France across the sea, and it has found a place facing into the wind where, with minimal flapping it can hold that stationary position, hovering like its namesake, scanning the scrubland. The sun is dipping, taking an orange tinge, timing its descent perfectly today with the rising of the tide to cover the causeway.

For the first time I feel like I’m on holiday, and knowing that I can achieve no more this weekend I’m going to let that feeling wash over me, and wander through the sun barefoot and observant. And for now I’m signing off to catch the change from day to dusk over the rising sea.


And I forgot to schedule it. Getting slack as I relax…

Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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