Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Sunny Folkstone

Still from July....

“It was one of those hot clear days that Folkstone sees so much of...”. 

This was written by HG Wells and displayed somewhere on the walk that took us along the promenade, down steps and onto the Leas, paths –  sometimes wooded – that skirt the beach. We walked along a paved path beside the pebble beach, as far as a house painted turquoise blue and sporting a plaque saying that HG Wells lived here in 1898.


The Victorian bandstand erected in 1899 drew protests from the townspeople of Folkstone – they complained it would spoil the sea view.

The yellow rose beneath the olive tree, with a deeper more pungent scent than even the orange roses in the King's North Park. (The bright pink ones had no scent at all).
The gentle thump and rush of waves, below the olive and the pine tree, and the rose.

Walking down the zig-zag path, with its cave – it's funny the way they've made it to look as if natural, natural-artificial says C. This makes me think of a cave, a natural cave, called the Cyclops Cave, off the south coast of Cyprus. It was deep, but with a low roof, too low I thought, to house Odysseus, his crew, the Cyclops and all his sheep.

And further down, still looking down over the sea, an area where seagulls dropped down, wheeled around, spun, flapped decelerating wings, sometimes landed, most often flew back up to have another go. Like skiers on a slope, swooping and turning, an exhilaration of the seagulls, shrieking their delight.


A crumpled package sits across from me, on the other side of the path. It stirs slightly, unravels, a silhouette of black, a hunched magpie.

The clouds have thinned, into pale patches of lazy foam, adhering to the cup of sky. Maraschino morning becomes a cappuccino afternoon. Strong coffee, with a whiff of bitter chocolate on the white foam, indenting it like a rough track, a worn place, marking the only way across a desert.

A black bird shape perches in a nearby tree. Its back is to me, it faces out to sea. The lacy seams of the sea sleeve, la Manche, the silken garment that rests between this island and the continent we both love and turn our back on, we long for, and try too, to forget, the foam of this silk lies between us, a blue flag, stitched with a herringbone of white.

The beach and sea walk was fiercely lit by sun, a cloudless sky. The sea and beach were empty, near-desolate, but with this independence of the light, as if it came from it, was wedded to it, sea and ball of flaming light, they were the same source, springing from a cauldron of the cosmos so enormous and so empty, we can hardly contemplate it. The stony beach kept all away – swimmers, picnic-ers, day-trippers, locals. The sea burned in its solitary glory. Waves hissed and clattered up the stones, receded with a throaty, gargling sigh.

Then a silent moment, a pause, sea and sun caught in a memory of vast, empty and glorious expanse, beyond the net of human vision.

On the far side of the path, the beach huts are brightly painted – purple, blue, yellow pink and green. As if someone has resurrected colour – boxes of brightness, looking out on an empty pebble shore.


Yes, that was the best day, when the sun leaned out from its sky tower, allowed us to see the foamy ragged threads streaming from the seams of the Sea Sleeve, that outstretched arm of water between France and the chalky English shore.


Forest Dream Weaver said...

Love the gulls, waiting for a meal no doubt! Weather looks amazing and memorable......beautiful blue sea!

dritanje said...

These gulls reminded me of JOnathon Livingston Seagull, they were clearly enjoying the aerobatics as well as the sea view. And we are having such wonderful sunny weather now, like summer which has arrived a little late. I'm so enjoying working in the garden, and happy to be here.