I miss it when I don’t manage to write this each day. Not always uplifting, I nevertheless need this blurting out of thoughts. Town is still quiet in the mornings. The revelling is over. All is flat. Grey and flat. Sombre even.
And the sea, too has calmed down. The other day is was lashing over the Prom. It is an uneasy sensation watching it seemingly reclaiming the land; taking over, with its dirty, swirling mass. The shops along Terrace Road had their sand bags jammed up against their doors. It is a messy, murky business. The water is pernicious. It creeps in, seeps under, cold and muddy. We drove down Pier Street in time to catch one of the waves as it smacked hard against the Pier. A triumphant arc of durge capped with white foam, that flung itself high into the air before coming down hard and spilling along the pavement. People were out with their mobile phones held aloft. It is captivating, enthralling, like watching a lion hunt a wildebeest, you want to stop it, stop it happening but you are transfixed by the terrible inevitability of it. It is so much more than we are, thank God.
We’d planned it for days. A little respite. A seminar. A talking through of my proposal. Should we ring to check? No, he said, I’ve looked on their website and there’s nothing there about them being closed. But as we climbed the drive it didn’t look good. There were great lines of muddy tyre marks along the tarmac and part of the front entrance was cordoned off. Sorry for any inconvenience, stated the sign, while we’re building two new luxury self-catering chalets. There’s a note on the door, he said, you stay here. Shut, he said on his return. Shut till January 14. It’s the second time this has happened. Can you blame them? Not really. They want a break. Christmas must be so demanding. But I wanted the comfort of their sofas, their tea in metal pots where the handle gets hot. I wanted the white linen on the tray. I wanted that stultifying silence. I wanted to see which puzzle one of the guests had started and to talk, talk to him about my ideas. We were thrown. Do we just drive straight home? Or find somewhere else? We decided to stay and parked the car in a small car park round the corner from an inn we’d been to before. The last time was terrible. It was almost the end for us. Both at the end of our tether. Grief, uncertainty, I cannot speak on his behalf. I’d come back from Norway empty. His mother was teetering towards death and he was just as lost. We couldn’t talk it through, make any sense of it.
I’m glad we went in. It was empty except for two men sharing tea and scones in the window. We pushed through into the public bar. A small wood fire was trying to burn. The cleaner’s tray was still one of the tables. She had a bob of shining black hair and was singing. You’re singing, he said. Oh, don’t mine me, she said laughing, I’m just the cleaner. We shared tea and water. I put on the tape recorder and we laughed as every possible extraneous noise began to happen. The main telephone rang and the man behind the bar answered it, all very loudly. Then his phone went, it was a woman from Planet Organic ringing about his enquiry for Jason Mouthwash. This took at least five minutes. Ten minutes later another woman from the same firm called back. Just confirming your order, she said. Then our tea arrived. A jingle jangle of pots. Water? Oh, the man replied, it’s just coming. Then he had to reignite the fire. If I can just squeeze by? he said. I was sitting right on top of it. Nevertheless progress was made. You’ll have to make it more coherent than that, he said, looking serious. I have to tell you what I think, be tough. Yes, you do and I love you for it.
I’ll get there. My mind is working on it. I want it. But mostly I want to do myself and ideas justice. That is all I can do, the best I can do. Always.
The pub smelt beautiful. It smelt of wood smoke and wood polish. I’m glad we went. Glad we went back. Thank you. Thank you for everything.