One cold November morning a girl said goodbye to her Husband and ventured forth for a day by the seaside. It took her several hours to get there and involved a complicated route of two tubes, one train, a coach load of OAPs making a racket and a small bus.
She read a newspaper, and the Economist, on the train, wondering what had happened to the world when 20 something girls found 80 something old ladies irritating, with their mints and their laughter and their day trip anoraks. But when she got on the bus, she found her nose pressed to the window.
The fields, the light, the colours of the leaves on the trees, they were all so beautiful. Beautiful in a soothing of the soul, calming way, that London just did not have. The sun even shone, as they wound their way round the country villages, lanes and fields.
When she finally arrived at her destination, and the reason for her visit was over*, she headed straight for the sea. Realising she was becoming more like her dear old Dad than ever, she ignored the cold and the fact that she could barely stand up in the strongest gusts and started to walk in the twilight along the sea front, pausing by the sea wall to watch dogs being walked along the sand.
In the gathering dusk she walked along the beach, right to the darling little harbour at the far end, where fishing boast sat on their keels in the sand, protected from the wind by the protective arms of the harbour wall, and where tiny whitewashed fishing cottages hugged the cliff, their windows shining light like beacons into the deepening twilight.
She stood for a long time by the lifeboat station watching the white horses coursing in the channel and the lights appearing on the channel markers, their reassuring red and green twinkles providing assistance to any one who might be out there. And somewhere, over the sea, for it really was only a channel, she could see more lights. And she thought she could see, in the distant distance, the light that was her sister (until she remembered that her sister was, in fact, in Morocco).
And so, reluctantly, she turned and walked back to the town, where she paused to have some supper. And was seated at a table next to a group of women who ranged in age from mid twenties to mid fifties, who were all dressed in teal & brown. A local teachers meeting, it transpired. The french departments of all the local secondary schools, having tea and cakes, and from the sound of it, a good old moan. But pretty soon they had all left, because it was late. Only it wasn't really, it was only 5.30pm. And so she drank gingernut latte and realised that really there were very few *commodities* that you can't get in the countryside. Even Jimmy Choos can be ordered online.
All too soon it was time to get the bus, and the train and the two tubes. Back to London. Back to Husband. Back to real life.
*If it turns out it was worth the trip, I will share...