Elf

I could see lights down by the harbour when I walked towards it. A strong white glare was coming from a collection of torches and what looked like car headlamps. Cones had been placed by the side of the Lifeboat shed. The misly mist made it all seem a little other-wordly. Voices could be heard but they were muted. I turned round and took the steps up to the higher path. Walking along the Pergyl I twisted my head to see the Lifeboat lit up in the shed entrance. It had returned. Had it been an exercise? Men in high vis jackets hung around it chatting, some on the pavement above, their arms hanging over the railing. Cars began to drive away. It changed the atmosphere, my usual reverie of walk interrupted by action, energy, male-adventure. None of those snug in the mass of mobile homes parked up seemed to have been disturbed. My walk felt different after that, less pensive. Cars kept passing by me as I walked the Prom, their headlights spilling into the fog.

The students are returning. Most of the shared kitchen lights had been left on in Alexandra Hall. I saw a huge santa’s elf toy in one of them, splayed out on a chair.

I’m fifty-eight today.

Do you feel it? he asked, when I went in to wake him.

We are off on a trip. A small one to our favourite sleepy hotel to drink tea in silver teapots in their garden. Will the sun come out?