Something old, something new

The waves made for a keen listener.

It was a small port town, located on the South East coast of England. It took pride in the small shops selling common bits and bobs that you would find in such a town; a fish a chip shop, a decaying cafe, a fancy new nail parlour and a typical Ye Olde Sweet Shoppe, lined with rows upon rows of hardened candy and liquorice. A stone’s throw away was the winding path that would lead you down to the beach which was half pebbled and half a sand beach, pleasing both types of visitors.

After a week or so of intense sunshine, the weather had tired and decided to return to its dismal grey. The sea had taken a murky shade of green, as was to be expected from British beaches when they had given up on its visitors. Every few hundred metres were rows of boulders in many a shape and size. The colours varied from a dark grey to an almost fluorescent green, caked with moss and seaweed. I couldn’t quite figure out if they were conveniently placed there by God or if the first inhabitants of the town had strategically lined them up.

It was relatively late but considering it was still the weekend, quite a few people were talking a walk on the beach but the numbers were decreasing steadily, or perhaps I had been there for too long. I was no longer sure, but the rare moment of solitude comforted me. Unabashed, I spoke to the waves, and in their gentle lapping, I knew I had a keen listener.

As the skies continued to darken, I knew it was time to start making my way back and so I took the route through the cleaner side of the beach, leading to the impressive houses lined up. The construction was evidently recent and it didn’t seem as though they were inhabited by anyone just yet. The uniform perfection of each roof and balcony suggested that they would be pretty hot on the property market soon, despite the signs that promised cheap accommodation.

Each five sections of houses were lined with almost luminous grass and adorned with recently plotted plants, paving the way to a tarmac pavement and a semi-circle of benches which surprisingly faced away from the sea. I could imagine how beautiful it could be to wake up and watch the sunrise from the uppermost balcony every morning — coffee in hand, eyes adoring the creation of the Almighty.

Despite this, it felt too artificial. The modern housing clashed heavily with the antiquity of the beach huts just behind the wall which divided the beach and the rest of the town. I wondered how the housing had been approved by the proud locals — surely they must have put up a fight? How many people had been evicted or given the promise of better housing if they vacated the land?

A million questions filled my mind, so I wrapped my coat around me, as I tried to wrap my mind around the answers. I walked past the shops, the peeling paint, and the old lamps, sturdy and dependable for those who needed to be guided back home.