A corner will be turned

It has been a couple of weeks since my last blog. The mood has been a tad sombre. Following medical advice I have been making a serious effort to become a marginally healthier lump of flesh and bones. Apart from that, and there has been a bereavement in the family.  The death of a 90+ year old grandparent still has to be coped with as best one can even if it is not an unexpected event. I don’t want to dwell upon the emotional aspect of bereavement; it would be strange if one didn’t feel sad on these occasions, and I guess we all have our own ways of grieving. Quite apart from all that, it occurs to me that such a death causes seismic tremors within the social structure of the family. Death forces change, whether you want it or not, especially when it is the death of a grandparent. Grandchildren find themselves nudged a step further into or towards adulthood; parents become the older generation overnight. Nobody stays the same.

Lately I have been experiencing dark moods and I think this is not unrelated to the things I have just been talking about. I have not been in a bad mood, as in grumpy; it has simply been a case of the blues. Yesterday I met with my good friend Tom for what used to be our date with the full English breakfast. I ordered a couple of poached eggs on dry toast and drank my coffee black. One of the eggs was poorly cooked but I didn’t want to make a fuss and have to wait for another one to be done. This time, the plate of eggs on toast amounted to no more than food – victuals that I merely ate – whereas previously the full English had always been a feast that I looked forward to devouring with considerable relish. That is the stark difference.

Be that as it may, I enjoyed talking with my friend over breakfast. I was telling him about what had been going on in my world and he said that his sister had a good way of looking at these kinds of situation. He said that she would say that a corner would soon be turned. I find that way of looking at things to be very attractive. Change is accepted, even if forced upon you, and eventually embraced enthusiastically.

No way forward

It is perhaps coincidence, but this principle was illustrated to me this morning in a very concrete and almost literal fashion. I had decided to go for a walk along the beach at Seaham. I checked the tides before I left my house. High tide had occured a couple of hours previously and so the tide was going out. I parked on the cliff top, walked down some steep steps to the beach, and headed North. It is not safe to walk north on an incoming tide since you can get cut off by the cliffs. I felt confident that things would work out just fine. However, after several minutes of trudging I noticed that the waves were rolling in right up to one of the headlands. I walked as far as I could without getting my feet wet. Although I could probably have run around it by carefully timing the dash to dodge the rollers, I decided against doing this because I could not see whether there was any exposed beach on the other side of the cliff that was effectively barring my way. I felt rather fed up about this. I had only been walking for about 10 minutes and had been looking forward to going much further along the coast. It was too cold to stand around waiting for the tide to go out another 20 or 20 metres, so with heavy heart I retraced my steps.

Clambering about the rocks

I was about to climb the steps back to the cliff top when I noticed a concrete path running in the opposite direction from which I had come, along the sea defences at the foot of the cliffs (I would hesitate to call it a promenade but the presence of dog-walkers and fishermen indicated that this was its function). I found my way onto it and walked for 10 or 15 minutes until I came to another headland around which I assumed lay  Seaham harbour. I left the path and clambered up over the rocks. I have to say that I found this positively exhilarating. Had the way ahead not been blocked by the sea earlier, I would not have explored this part of the beach. The sun was glinting, the breeze was light, and my body glowed from the exertion of leaping from rock to rock. I was happy. I did not climb out to the tip of the headland. The reason for this was that I did not have my mobile. I was wearing good boots that gripped the rocks just fine and I did not think that I would fall, but if I had done so, it would have been difficult to summon help. I shall return again one fine morning with a fully charged mobile phone in my pocket.

I had the wind on my back as I returned to my starting point; I strode out at an easy pace and let my mind wander. I looked at some of the dogs that were being walked on the beach. Many of them looked nice, but some appeared to be related to vicious breeds, at least to my untutored eye. I have occasionally had dogs bark angrily at me at the beach. Usually, the owners have sorted them out and called them away. I started to think about what you could do to protect yourself from a vicious dog when you go for a walk on the beach. The obvious solution would be to wear a full suit of medieval armour. Of course, this might make walking a tad cumbersome but if the purpose was to get some exercise this could be a point in its favour. In terms of energy expelled, a walk of 1 kilometre in full armour might be equivalent to one of 5 or 10 kilometres wearing jeans and a sweater, for example. I guess that armour entrepreneurs would not be slow to push into this growing market. A system of bite marks could be devised with three bite marks embossed on the shins of the suit indicating that the steel is guaranteed to protect against Rottweilers and Alsatians. Some folks might prefer an altogether lighter suit with the two bite-mark protection against the labrador/retriever class. The single bite mark would be reserved for cheap plastic suits that were effective only against poodles. Life guards patrolling the beaches would have to be trained in armour plate recovery techniques to deal with the poor sods who slip on a bit of seaweed and can’t get up again. The authorities would design beach buggy cranes so the guards could cruise the sand and shingle, winching up the fallen for $100 a pop.

I have to go eat some lunch. I’ll speak to you later, my dear blogophiles.

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