It is Sunday.
The world and its granny out and about. Church bells clanging. Believers streaming out into the light eager to return to their vices. Adults and children with white sticks in mouths – lighting ciggies and sucking lollies. Everyone squinting as the sun burns away at the haze. Four generations in Sunday best.
Across the beach it’s one long close but there is a little bit at the end and that’s where everyone is. A righthander in picturesque settings.
I’m on the promenade above a conveyor of a rip, minding the pushchair containing sleeping infant. Below, surfers are drifting dry-haired into the lineup. Some, unwittingly continue through and past the lineup, only to be flushed by a set to the beach, before repeating the process.
The lineup is about half and half surfers and bodyboarders. Never a great mix in my experience. The bodyboarders surf this wave in ugly conditions when no one else is interested so I suppose they are entitled to it on these pretty days. But it still disappoints when someone strokes into a set only to remain prone. Even seeing them barrelled it is hard to get excited.
Two kayakers drift through my field of vision and position themselves way wide in the rip. They bob there for a while, then paddle off around the coast. What I presume is a learner on a SUP is ruling the inner impact zone. As sets wash through, they practice falling and re-righting ad infinitum. Great for core strength though.
As one might expect there are drop ins aplenty. It is after all, Sunday. Up on the promenade it is WAY more crowded but here the people co-exist without issue, winding and snaking round each other. “See you later,” they say without breaking step.
To enhance the scene and lacking the impetus to approach a stranger for comment, I decided to interview myself. I asked myself what had brought me to this location on this day.
“Excuse me but I don’t speak well,” I politely replied to myself. “I am of English.” I assured myself that it was of no importance and then I launched into a multi-claused question that left my other self with a zero percent chance of answering.
“Yes,” I nodded at me smiling absently, “Yes, yes. But… Yes.”
The noisy tranquility is shattered by the arrival of my wife and her backpack aka our eldest son.
“We’ve been looking for you for ages! Where were you?”
“I was here,” I say.
“You had my phone. We didn’t know where you were.”
“I’m here. We’ve been here the whole time.”
“Daddy, where were you? We’ve been looking for you for ages!” said the backpack.
“I was here.”
“I’m hungry,” said the backpack.