by Mantz Yorke
A saunter along the riverside path, for once free from the carer’s leash. No organising her daily needs, no cooking, no washing, no calls to bring a drink upstairs, no interrupted thought, no hurry – a day to delight in colours: common blues flittering round ragwort heads; mauve sloes half-hidden in the hedge; blackberries’ tight-clenched maroon; hawthorn berries’ arterial red; heath browns on knapweed; lichen yellowing sapless trees. And then a simple pleasure, eating sandwiches in the August sun, looking at the heritage view – the cottages slanting across the foreground; beyond, the Seven Sisters’ baleen-like white. A timeless scene, you’d imagine. Yet without defences, the cottages’ cliff would, in three years, yield a metre – more if severe storms hit. Below, concrete is holding against the sea, but all around there are reminders of the sea’s relentlessness – dilapidated groynes angling into the stony beach; shingle scooped away where waves have burrowed under a wooden palisade; steel piling rusted to a vivid orange and pierced by sky.
Photo by Mantz Yorke