The one that didn’t get away

I suppose I've never really got the idea of a holiday by the sea. The coast is where you go to travel somewhere else so a holiday at a seaside town is the vacation equivalent of spending a week in a flghtless airport terminal or silent and rusting disused railway siding. There isn’t anything very much to do or look at and in fact the sea is the opposite of a view; it is, as the permanent neighbour of our temporary residence put it, a blank canvas. There is sound of course, smell; salt, seaweed and seagull shit, and the touch of shingle on bare toes but it’s still a kind of sensory deprivation. For someone who has, as have many, experienced that non-specific feeling of having missed the boat, or several boats, or if truth be told more like a whole f****g navy, a source of great regret for someone who counts on the sparse positive side of a list of personal strengths and weaknesses a complete imperviousness to any form of motion sickness, in fact it’s standing still for too long on dry land which doesn’t feel right to my wrong-way-around constitution, this is not the ideal environment for rest and recuperation. The sensation of having been left behind is only heightened by the twinkling lights of the cross channel ferries heading for the horizon by night and the tide rising over then uncovering the Mulberry caisson which never made it to Normandy back in 1944 by day. At the seaside you can sleep of course but I’m not the world’s greatest at that, you can read but I read a book once and didn't really enjoy it, and you can think but thinking without any problem or purpose is like riding a bike indoors on rollers, to add a tenous cycling reference to what is supposed after all to be a bike blog, which is to say an ultimately unsatisfying affair which misses the point of doing it completely and can only end by falling off and bruising your psyche against the metaphysical kitchen cupboard with all the sharp and pointy stuff of the sunbconcious in it. I get dry land, I get the sea, it’s just the bit in between the appeal of which somehow, like so much else, passes me by. Still, as Nelson, whose flagship lies just up the road, announced to his crews, and I’m paraphrasing here, everyone is expected to do their duty and holidays are about what other people want, not you, so shut up, smile and think of home.



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