I think it might be the only place I am ever truly at ease. Looking out to sea. Ideally from in the sea. Ideally from in the Pacific Ocean on the east coast of the North Island of New Zealand, but I’ll take any sea I can get.
The sea I’m most getting now is that bit of Thames Estuary that becomes the North Sea at Tankerton, between Whitstable and Herne Bay. A couple of years ago, with the great good fortune of Shelley’s uncle leaving her some money and me getting a book advance at the same time and both of those things coinciding with our friend Amy selling her family’s beach hut, we jumped at it.
Of course no-one ‘needs’ a beach hut, and no NZers, you can’t sleep there (it’s def not a bach), but since we’ve had it we’ve gone to the sea SO MUCH more. Taken time off work (and yes, I do mean when people with proper jobs have weekends and holidays, most writers write most days) to get there. It’s only 75 mins from our house on a good day (Londoners know it can take that long to get to work anyway) and the minute I see the sea I feel better – less anxious if it’s an anxiety time, less depressed if it’s a depressed time, more joyful if it’s a joyful time, and better able to cry if it’s a tearful time. Having swum as far out as possible, it also offers a great opportunity to rage or roar and not worry about being overheard or scaring people.
I can stare at the sea for hours. It is my best friend and my safe place and my joy and I am never happier than when I am being held up by sea water – lakes and rivers are great too, but the line of horizon is where my eyes want to rest.
So thank you Amy, for both suggesting this joy and for letting us buy your beach hut. And yes, we did do a little of #49 as well. Not quite 30 minutes, I’m keeping that one on the list…
Here’s the full list for #55Joys – feel free to do some yourself.