For our hearts' sake, and that of our spirits and minds and legs and lungs too, we try, of late, to get to the beach on Sundays. Molly still gets quite excited about going out in the car, but when we get there she doesn't want to walk much, so she has five minutes potter round the edge of the car park and takes in a few smells, then happily hops back in the car and settles down to sleep, while we walk. It works quite well; she has the pleasure of a ride in the car, we get the exercise, and also we hope, perhaps vainly, that we are rather practising and preparing for a time without her.
We could of course go pretty much any day, but we've fallen into a somewhat old-fashioned pattern of the Sunday drive, and I rather like it. If you get out before about three there aren't too many people, but in fact, not being short of peace and quiet in general, I don't mind being among other people busy about their leisure activities. Although yesterday it was kite surfers. I quite like the shape of the coloured kites against the sea and sky, but as with other surfers and many other sporty people I'm afraid, I don't much care for the practitioners' braying gregariousness and crowding physicality, and it seems to me most of them spend more time hanging around on the beach fiddling with their equipment and talking a lot than they do executing interesting moves on the water. Never mind, room enough for everyone, we were quickly able to put space between them and us.
The week before, though, we were out in the morning and the tide was still a way out, and the surfers hadn't surfaced yet, but the pêcheurs à pied had,
and so had the sulky drivers.
I always imagined 'sulky' here must be some borrowing from the Hindi from the days of the Raj or something, but now I learn that it is, literally, about being sulky; since the traps are single seaters and fast moving, they are suited to sulky people who prefer to be alone, an etymology I find quite appealing. These two equipages however, who made several circuits around us over the length of the beach, seemed to give the lie to that idea.
The drivers were very proficient in the way they handled their vehicles and horses, and though they went at a fair clip, they kept close together throughout and maintained a steady flow of relaxed conversation.
Made me think of Black Beauty and Ginger. Poor Ginger. Do little girls still read Black Beauty?
This fellow is much more withdrawn, maintaining a stony silence. You have to catch him at the right moment to notice him at all. I feel he is quite benign though.