I decided to go to the beach. The Good Fella thinks that going to the beach in winter is bizarre and bourgeois. I am bizarre and bourgeois so I pack up a thermos of tea and the tartan rug and go.
It takes about half an hour to get to Southerndown, driving along the M4 with Queen on the CD player. I come down the hill to the beach with the final chords of Find Me Somebody to Love resounding in the car.
Southerndown has a pebbly rocky shore and flat rocks with rock pools. The tidal drop here is huge, when the sea is right out a sandy beach as big as a cricket pitch opens up for families to picnic and fly kites on. It's Spring and near the top of the tide, a bright sunny day with a strong wind blowing. The sea is slate-brown with white-cresting waves. I scramble about the pebbly tops, looking at the fossils.
|This fossil looks like a large|
|One of these has come out|
heart-shaped in the picture.
What looks like a lump of elephant dung reminds me of London days. I used to hear about a weirdo selling lumps of elephant dung in Brick Lane market. Some years later I went and saw the beautiful Blaxploitation pictures of Chris Offili in the Serpentine Gallery - resting on lumps of elephant dung, and read about how he used to pretend to sell the lumps in the market as a performance art piece. I went, too, to his amazing exhibition The Upper Room when it was first on show, such a glorious satirical pastiche of religious art. (The elephant dung also makes me think of a writer on one of the discussion boards I go on, who used to have a picture of an elephant in a room with a white sheet over it as his profile pic, and that makes me laugh.)
Sitting in the shelter of the car, watching the crashing waves; the seagulls rising and dipping, being sent skimming backwards by the strong winds; a woman walking on the pebble tops with an intent frown on her face; the tiny white walls of Porthcawl gleaming across the bay in the sunshine.
A cup of tea and a slice of cake in the car before I go home (listening to the Rolling Stones). I've got the A from 'PARTY' off my cake - for my first name (that's "Anthropological"!).