Tuesday, 27 October 2020


It's getting late earlier now the clocks have gone back.  There's a-packing-up-for-winter feel as leaves come off the trees and blackbirds and fieldfares strip haw berries from the bushes.

Last week I went for a walk at Morfa Nefyn, along the shore to Porth Dinllaen and back across the golf course.  Grey clouds, grey sea, a few spots of rain in the breeze.  I was the only person on the beach.  This is the kind of walk which clears and refreshes the mind. 

A few oyster-catchers were poking around on the edge of the water.  The storm earlier in the month had shifted more of the sand so that I was walking on small pebbles of myriads of different colours - the remains of rocks deposited as glacial moraine thousands of years ago.  A robin flew up from a clump of brambles sounding its repetitive metallic-sounding tic tic tic alarm call.  It seemed to strange to hear this characteristic garden bird so near to the sea.

The cliff is very unstable along this length of the coast and large clumps of earth have landed on the beach.  As I neared the point before Porth Dinllaen there was a strong smell of seaweed that had been washed up in the recent storm and the clumps of earth looked like strange hairy creatures, (a family of mammoths perhaps, snoozing on the shore). 

Beyond the point the beach was beautifully sandy - so that's where all the sand has gone.  A careful stack of crab pots had been put above high water for the winter.  A tractor was parked at the edge of the sea, its rear trailor wheels gently lapped by the waves.  A man was going out in a dinghy to one of the four remaining boats in the bay.  In the summer this sheltered anchorage is busy with fishing boats and sailing boats.  The well-known Ty Coch pub on the beach was shut up - 'Closed until further notice because of Covid'.  

I came back along the golf course as the light was starting to fade.  A pair of magpies were strutting the sward.  The club house was in darkness.  August's bucket and spade weather was only a memory.

Next day I walked along the lane from my house and caught sight of tiny bright flowers in the grass - violets!  A little foretaste of spring flowers.

The title of this post is stolen and adapted from John Burnside's 'It gets late earlier out here' ('Travelling South, Scotland, August 2012' in his collection All One Breath).

Sheenagh Pugh's poem 'Afternoons go nowhere' perfectly captures this time of year - you can read it at serenbooks.wordpress.com/2020/08/21/friday-poem-afternoons-go-nowhere-by-sheenagh-pugh/

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