Thursday, 25 May 2023


Everywhere you look you're reminded of the passage of time. Everything from the way the pebbles that make up the shingle have worn smooth and the evolution of the plants that grow among them (the sea cabbage especially) to the sheds people have built, then abandoned. One, on a rise just behind the shingle, barely hangs together, its rotten planks burst apart by the wind exposing tea, salt and pepper still sat on a shelf, a rusty bicycle. Another, its door come away, is full to what is left of its rafters with brambles, the leaves pressing their eager faces up against the window.

There are few buildings. Most of those there are are strung out along the top of the rise behind the shingle. A few yards inland, there is a small cluster of bungalows, built in what once must've been a 'cheap and cheerful' style but which now haunt us with visions of a world for which we can find no modern equivalent. Mod cons – principally, the internet – have had to be grafted on.

There is a road down to the sea that ends in a car park. People come here to walk their dogs, entertain their children or just sit and look. The tracks down to the shingle are lined with pebbles people have painted and left there. This is a pebble painter's paradise.

Sometimes, from here, you can see the Isle of Man on the horizon. When you can, it's a mirage: if the conditions are just right, the atmosphere refracts the light, making the distant island (which lies way beyond the visible horizon) appear surprisingly close. You can see its principal hills spread out from left to right. I've never caught it in the act of appearing or vanishing, though, although, the other evening, conditions were such that you could only see the tops of its hills poking above the milky obscurity. One can see how myths arose of magic islands that appear and vanish and, scanning the horizon to see if you can see Man from Silecroft, it's easy to start doubting the science that tells you that what you're witnessing is no more than an atmospheric effect.

1 comment:

  1. Enjoyed this and your photographs enhanced the script perfectly. This morning I have had a Lifeboat magazine from my friends on IOM - their son is a Lifeboatman at Port St Mary- one article tells of a dramatic rescue off IOM in which their son was awarded the RNLI Bronze medal for 'superb boathandling, seamanship and coura


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