Spending time in a house beside the sea. Sanctuary for the soul.
October 2013. I’ve not been to Hayling Island for 18 months, not since having a Horror Weekend away with the Yellow Dawn crew. A lot has happened in that time. Completion of Yellow Dawn 2.5; The Black Lake and most recently The Social Club, plus a handful of short stories and 1/3rd of the new novel Oakfield – done. A week in Malta. A week in a remote cottage by a lighthouse. Sicily. New York. The Arctic. Got rid of The Rocket replaced by The Flea. Newcastle turned into a freaking nightmare – a lot of horror – the love and support of friends. 6 months struggling to sleep. Yeah – interesting time that has elapsed since I was in Hayling Island before.
The first time I started going to Hayling was January 2010. Couple months after my mum died. Pete’s dad died at the same time. So we’ve both shared that weird state of mind when the final parent goes. Hayling Island, retreat, withdrawal, sanctuary. Back in 2010 that first time I drove there in my new Rocket with the roof down. Crazy drive.
This time, October 2013, I’m with Oj and in her Beetle as my Flea has acquired damage in a recent crash. The drive is meaningful. We listen to 80s classic: JOURNEY. We arrive and there’s Pete to welcome us with a big hug. The sun isn’t shining but that doesn’t matter. We drop our stuff and after a short while head out for a walk. Except… there’s repairs going on for the sea defences. Halliday’s Point is out-of-bounds. Bummer! Not to worry. We’re still able to accumulate a couple of miles then head back via The Lifeboat pub. 2 pints of Doombar and we’re sailing. :o)
Back to the house. Pete made an awesome meal this night. Brocoli oven roasted with olive oil and chicken stock; Scallops; Salmon; roasted potatoes. I licked my plate – and then fell asleep – KO on the sofa. Exhausted.
First morning: The House is situated on the edge of the sea. Open the large glass doors at the back and you’re…. there.
As usual I was the first up. I padded downstairs in the early morning light – grey that was evolving slowly into something close to blue. The horizon was lost in a mist that glowed with whatever light was emerging beyond the horizon. I brewed coffee and sat there, listening to my “new” Vangelis album: Beauborg. From 1978. Pure experimental electronic. Discordant notes and jumbled sounds with no logic. It suited my mood. I sat there in the complex evolving light, supping coffee and listening. Halfway through my cup I clambered down from the stool, pushed open the heavy doors and walked out onto the beach. This is what greeted me.
The mist burned away to reveal an incredible day. It was like Summer had returned in full. The usual walk was closed off so I headed right and kept walking. Insane distance. Snapped this pic of horses galloping through the shallows of the sea. Beautiful.
I must have walked something like 6 or 7 miles. Felt good when I got back. Headed to local shops and bought in supplies as tonight it was my turn to cook dinner: Maple Braised Pork Chops with Chilli – served with rice and mushrooms and finely chopped cherry tomatoes drizzled in olive oil, salt and lemon juice. I got dinner prepped and on the hob – slow cooked meat for 3 hours – so Pete and I nipped down to the Lifeboat for a pint of the good stuff. The Lifeboat is a real spit and sawdust place. I recounted stories of walking in here with the game guys when they all came down November 2011 and early 2012. Good times. Happy memories.
Coming out of the pub we were struck by these beams of fire and gold. The sky was ablaze. Incredible. People were stopping to stare and enjoy.
Such a good bloke to spend time with. This trip was all about that. Brotherly camaraderie. We’ve both been through some really shit times in recent years. Solid character to have on your side. I guess he’d say the same.
Credit: all photos are copyright David J Rodger, with exception for hero feature image which is an artistic concept– source unknown (please advise and I will credit).
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