It’s hard to beat an early morning walk on an almost deserted beach, especially when it is the beach where you spent your childhood. The last house on the left just above the beach was where we lived until I was seven years old. Now there’s a caravan park below it covering the field where we grew potatoes. It extends far beyond that now and is a popular site with the more mature caravan resident. The beach has little to attract those with very small children.
Coastal erosion has long since removed the sand on which we played whatever the weather. Today the beach is a mixture of a gritty, coarse ‘sand’, pebbles and rough barnacle covered rocks.
Early whelk gatherers were already busy when Eliot and I arrived just after seven o’clock. That reminded me of the evening we’d gathered some to have for breakfast on the following morning and came down to the tiny back kitchen to find that they’d made a bid to escape and were all over the ceiling and walls! From then on we gathered in the morning for the morning!
There weren’t many limpets inshore and I wasn’t in suitable footwear to go further out onto the False Island. That’s where the unwary can get cut off from the land if a careful eye isn’t kept on the incoming tide. We know – it happened to us once when absorbed in gathering limpets! I suspect that our Dad was considerably more afraid than we children were and it became the stuff of legend.
The Leestone rock itself stands majestically at the end of the headland. It always seemed gigantic when we were children, though it is probably only seven foot high, or thereabouts. The sun behind it in the east made getting a photograph this morning more difficult, but no doubt there’ll be afternoon and evening walks when the light should be better.
I couldn’t help wondering if folk still refer to the beach beyond the Leestone as “Tommy Hanna’s Beach”? Hardly likely – but that’s where, in the late 40s and early 50s, he could be found every day before and after work exercising our dogs “Chum” and “Lassie”. The neighbours named the place after him!
It is possible that there were cold and wet days when we were growing up – but memory has erased them! Maybe there were times when life was hard and people were miserable – but memory has removed that as well. A walk on the Leestone brings back nothing but pleasant thoughts of an idyllic childhood surrounded by family, friends and neighbours who were all looking for a brighter future in the post-war years.
The smell of the vraic, the sound of the sea and the glorious morning sunlight have got today off to a very good start!
The Spirit of the Lord fills the whole world.
The Spirit of the Lord moves over the deep.
The Spirit of the Lord warms our hearts.
The Spirit of the Lord fills all things.
The strength of God guide us.
The power of God preserve us.
The wisdom of God instruct us.
The Spirit of God be within us, this day and evermore.
The Rhythm of Life (Celtic Daily Prayer)