Sunday 22nd January 2017 – was a-get-back to normality day. First on our agenda was Sainsbury’s in Barnstaple to get some pastry-free food. As wholesome as they were on the day – my boys had had their fill of microwaved sausage rolls, pasties and mini-quiches – left-over from Dad’s wake. Sainsbury’s on a Sunday afternoon was predictably busy – so much so – I suddenly thought of Dad – and envied him his peaceful position. I usually venture out on late-night forages – to avoid the daytime throng.
Instead of going directly to the food aisles I strayed into the quieter home department – and immediately thoughts of Dad sprung to mind again – in the shape of two neat rows of faux Houseleeks – or Sempervivums.
Sempervivum literally means always – forever alive – however this was not the case with Dad’s clump. All through my childhood and early adulthood – I remember a small outcrop of Houseleeks growing on our porch roof until our toilet’s overflow misbehaved once too often and completely undermined them. I don’t think Dad’s weekly application of grease to the antiquated ‘Armitage Shanks’ cistern helped either – his twenty-odd year cultivation of Houseleeks finally slipped off – never to be reinstated again!
Of course I had to buy a faux one in his honour.
After shopping – we went to our favourite seaside escape – Crow Point near Braunton – on the North Devon coast. At sunset – the estuary beach was deserted. Just three of us – a thousand or more seabirds – and the remains of a campfire that still had a glimmer of life. With no more ado – my sons set about rekindling the fire while I decided to go in search of treasure…
Instead of walking on the smooth sand – I decided to walk on the difficult bit where all the debris gets washed-up at the stony edge beneath the dunes; here I found a rusty axe. As I held it aloft – I wondered what it could tell – and hoped it was nothing too gruesome – especially as I was taking it home. Wow!I also stumbled upon a stone in the shape of a perfect ear – and immediately started to muse about Dad again – and our severance from one another. It is ridiculous to ever imagine that he can see me and what I’m doing now; besides there are things I wouldn’t want him to see me doing! We are lost from each other’s sight and that’s the way it is now. As I turned the smooth stone over several times in my hand – I got to thinking that maybe the ear-shaped stone was a clue. I’m not able to see him – but it’s plausible that he can still hear me. Hearing is our first and last sense – perhaps it simply carries on. And though it’s a one-way arrangement – that’s alright because he’d have got to hear the curlews too.
Holding that thought – I threw the stone high up into the air and caught it – then carried on walking – to where the sea shimmered in hues of rosy-pink and mauve.
Beautiful, restorative Crow Point beach.