"There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion" Francis Bacon 1561-1626

Monday, 20 September 2010

Landing and a Pause for Sea Air

We have washed up on the South Coast of England,  landed on a shingle beach not 100 yards from where Julius Caesar had his first encounter with some very hostile natives. 
It’s a temporary return to a small seaside town which seems to have been frozen in suspended animation for the last 7 years. We are here to attend to family matters,  a necessary pause in “the trip”.

And I have been transported back to a caricature England. An Enid Blyton, Arthur Ransom, England. It’s a breezy sunny Sunday on the beach. A bandbox smart brass band is playing a Sousa march on the bandstand, its audience huddled on plastic chairs wearing warm jumpers. I am sitting outside a cafe on the Green. It’s three o’clock, about the same time that Caesar landed. A mere 2,065 years separates our individual observations. There are striped deckchairs and  big dog called Alfie who is attaching himself to anyone who will throw him a ball. Two rosy cheeked little girls are asking to share a rock bun while their Mother and her friend have arrived, looking forward to “a nice cup of tea”
We have strolled the beach path between two castles where the same little fishing boats, the huts, the winding gear and the lobster pots are anchored on the pebbly shore. Halyards are still clinking against aluminum masts, dark marker pennants still flap as the wind quickens and, beyond and below the boats, the grey green Channel lies like a slab of cold marble.  

In the town seagulls as big as Rottweiler's walk the streets and slight, weasel faced men, surely from old smuggling stock, men with hunched shoulders and nervous eyes, scurry through narrow streets where the jumble of old houses lean and totter, holding each other up like good old friends and where now, wealthy London makes its weekend home.

We are not sure how long this pause will be. There has been a visit to a yellowing Dickensian lawyer’s office, where Jarndyce and Jarndyce might be considered a rushed case. .. so who knows how long…

beach

Caesar’s landing,  and mine… Sunday 19th Sept. The South Coast

6 comments:

The Giraffe Head Tree said...

My heavens but this sounds like the beginning of a grand novel. Love the ominous photo as well.

urbanextension said...

Welcome back... it's funny when you travel away from England. Nothing has really changed when you get back. Jane x

Jill said...

Wonderful description

Carol said...

Your words have transported me to this England township. Certainly your observations were less chilling than those of Caesar's. Wonderful timeless photos and text!

greenman said...

Well that's what I like about England! Enid Blyton's England was perfect, except for the bad characters, and you have so much of that fortunatly.
I understand your point of view, though.

Let me just say that you write as well as you paint.
A new post in your blog, written or painted, is always great art!!

sharp green pencil said...

Many thanks to you all, and to the people who emailed me to. It's been a strange time, coming back, I have to say unwillingly, to a place I left 6 years ago.

GHT: ..Gosh! Thank you I wonder if there is a great novel lurking about ...it better be quick and manifest itself soon!

Jane: I have been amazed at how little has changed..somtimes its good sometimes its bad :)

Jill: Thank you. you are very kind

Carole: I don't think Caesar was made very welcome but we have to thank him for some wonderfully straight roads here.

Hi there Jose: I am wondering if you read Enid Blyton in Portugese or in Engish! I wondered how it would travel to Portugal?
..and thank you for your kind words ..hope to see you soon.