I spent a great deal of time watching the sea when we first moved to this house in August 2012. I’d spend an hour or so unpacking boxes and then go and sit on the front steps to gaze at the water. It was an incredibly stressful time – transferring our lives from a neat, ‘finished’ house in London to a ramshackle house/project in a quiet seaside village, finding new schools for the children, a new work commute – and it took us all quite a while before we felt at home here. Throughout this settling-in period, the sea, that massive ever-changing body of water, was a hugely comforting presence for me. I’d always dreamed of living by the sea and now we had a house where I could see the sea from my bed, where I could stand at a window and watch ships pass, weather fronts approach and dark-blue shadows from clouds slowly move over a blue-green expanse. On a moonlit night, the sea looks as though it’s swirling in all directions. It really is mesmerising. And the skies! From the first cracks of bright orange on the horizon at dawn, to the reflected pink in the clouds at sunset, to the blue-black starry skies at night (so many stars), it is all captivating.
On clear days, we can clearly see France and almost imagine how a cross-Channel-swimmer might think it’s a sensible distance to swim (it is in fact 21 miles and a very busy shipping lane). Sometimes, when it’s very rainy, you can’t see where the sea stops and the sky begins; when it’s foggy, they both disappear. From the garden I can hear the waves rolling or crashing onto the pebble beach below and it’s immensely soothing to listen to the sound of the waves through an open window on a summer’s night as I drift off to sleep. It’s not so soothing in a force 8 gale but it is always awe-inspiring.
I have grown accustomed to the view over the past three years and spend less time standing and watching the sea than I did. But whenever I’m feeling off-kilter or need a little boost, I stop, look and soak it all in and I’ll always take a peek when I’m rushing past a window. And this week, thanks to the broken toe, I have plenty of time to stop and stare. I took these photos* throughout the day today (before it went too dark at 4.30pm to take any more) so I could share my view with you.
(* apologies for the mucky lens – school-girl error.)