Thursday, June 07, 2007

The best seaside town

What's your favourite seaside town? asks Teh Graun.

I won't be entering but I do have one.

Mine is Hayle, my home town when I was a child. It is not the prettiest, not the most charming (there are many charming villages in Cornwall, with streets sloping to the sea and beautiful old houses fronting the sea, but Hayle is rather workaday, once a busy industrial port, now a tourist centre solely because of its beach), in no way outstanding or wonderful, except for one. I love it more than I think I will ever love another place.

Why do I love it? I love it because it had places to explore, because the beach was long and flat, because the people were friendly and kept an eye out for little boys up to no good. It was safe and warm.

I love it because it is the place where I was happiest, running with my sisters and my friends along the dune tops, rolling down the dunes to the beach, cycling the lanes, swimming in icy water, playing in the barge that was beached by Harvey's dock. Man, the games we played. I still have vivid dreams in which I am a secret agent, a soldier, a man of action, content to do and not to think too much.

I love it because I never felt I wanted there. I had everything. How could you want more when you had a loving family, a beach within walking distance, a field to play in over the back fence? I learned to smoke there, to talk tough, to kiss girls and to drink with abandon. I learned to love indie music and I learned how painful it is to lose something you love when we moved away.

I remember sitting with H. in a cafe off Causewayhead in Penzance. She is crying because I have told her I am leaving. I want to kiss her, but I don't. We are not boyfriend and girlfriend, although we're close. I wonder whether she remembers me. I don't suppose she does. She had been an outsider, and I had welcomed her and befriended her. I had lived in Hayle long enough to become a local, long enough for it to become my home. For her, it was a long way from home (she had been brought up in Kenya). I wish I had reached out and touched her face, and I wonder how much of my life has been about wishing I could be sitting there once more, able to find a way to defy my father and stay there (at 15, a big ask, but when you dream, you can dream as big as you like, the bigger the better).

Clocks run only forwards though. A ton of shit has been piled into that innocent heart, but it still beats, still resonates with the sound of the surf, still yearns for a not so charming, rough and ready, safe and warm seaside town -- still the place that "home" means for me.

3 Comments:

At 8:24 pm, Blogger P.Dub said...

Hmm. Neat postage inspiration.

 
At 9:56 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Clocks run only forwards though. A ton of shit has been piled into that innocent heart, but it still beats, still resonates with the sound of the surf, still yearns for a not so charming, rough and ready, safe and warm seaside town -- still the place that "home" means for me.

boots sez:

Clocks be damned.

To find heaven walk away from hell, and when you find yourself alone in the middle of an endless field, sit down and wait.

We are taught to base our lives on the probable, not the possible; by doing so we consign ourselves to mediocrity and assure our own failure and doom.

I have found things that are desirable to me and, although insanely improbable, possible; and then I have staked my life on them and found that the world is less unforgiving than Man.

Clearly your mileage may vary, but if you lack the balls to find out, you'll simply think me insane until finally the world crushes you. Well I am bloody insane, because looking around me I've found that the only alternative that isn't mad. Long live fucking normalcy.

 
At 6:10 am, Anonymous Kev said...

I haven't lived in Cornwall since 1968 but I still call it " Home ". Sometimes it's easier to seek refuge in the happy memories of a long lost time rather than face the uncertainties of a harsh today and an unfeeling here.

Kev

 

Post a Comment

<< Home