I wasn't going to blog again before the New Year, but the general post-Christmas ennui has got to me already so I'm occupying myself surfing the net and looking for hotel deals. The title song is one of my favourites by Morrissey, especially when I was younger and desperate to leave the coast for the bright lights of the city, and what an intro, and what a string section. Nowadays I'm not sure I agree that seaside resorts out of season are all that depressing - actually I prefer them, not being a sun worshipper, and my own southern hometown is hardly deserted in winter - but the song captures the desolate essence of what you imagine it should feel like perfectly.
As is Boxing Day tradition, after lunch we headed for the beach and a long family walk with the dog. Just like everybody else for miles around it seems; it was like Crufts. The weather was perfect: not cold, not windy, but damply grey and slightly foggy for the first hour or so of the walk, giving a steely cast to the sea. We trudged slowly along the wet sand for an hour or so, watching the breakers and endlessly throwing the ball - why are dogs and men so enamoured of balls? I found an interesting rock (flint?), bigger than my fist, with a hole worn through from decades or even centuries of water action, black-blue-grey like a falcon. There were plenty of gulls around: black-headed, in their demure winter plumage, waiting for the spring to come so that they can moult into their sexy chocolate-brown caps; lesser black-backs, screaming over food scraps; and paler herring gulls, wheeling and squawking. It threatened to rain.
Eventually we found a packed cafe and miraculously an outside table, so we sat down for hot chocolate lavishly piled with whipped cream, cocoa powder and a flake, and a bowl of hot, fat chips with lots of salt and vinegar. Perfect seaside food. Refreshed, we turned back to head for home, just as the sun unexpectedly made an appearance and the entire beachful of people seemed to cheer up all at once as the sea turned to a deep greeny-turquoise. A huge black cormorant flew low above our heads down the length of the beach, flapping with the air of absolute determination that all cormorants seem to have (that an a complete disregard for how scruffy they look, a kind of "sod you" attitude). Little pied wagtails bounced around the sand happily, ignoring the dogs.
Back home now, warming up with a whisky mac, and having turkey curry for dinner. I'm busy knitting a scarf for a friend's birthday, to be delivered tomorrow, so had better go and get on with it...