Remind me why my ‘Seriously Good’ page is a little on the sparse side? No need. All set for the highlight of my week, Tom Cruise and ‘A Few Good Men’ – yes, preceded by the final of The Voice Kids! – we headed for an evening walk on the beach. Quite chilly, by then, it was unusually still as we strode with ease on the firm sand back towards the town. We passed several impressive sandcastles along the way, remnants of a happy day. With almost everybody departed now, we appeared as though solitary specks on a huge expanse of sand chasing the elusive tide in the distance. Meanwhile, I relished the trail of seaweed which imbued the air with its familiar smell, forever comforting in its echo of childhood holidays. It was idyllic as we walked and chatted, stopping only to collect the more unusual shells at our feet, calling cards of distant shores. The passing years have failed to dim my love of shells, the embodiment of wonder. From whence have they come? All so different, how can it be, the beautiful hues which catch the light; the delicate mother-of-pearl which adorns the inner sanctum? The hand of Nature in all its genius. Somehow, though, the magic cannot be captured for, once removed from the beach, these tokens of the sea seem to lose their lustre becoming little more than memories, devoid of soul.
Now, that’s a mood changer. It is true, though. Remove something from its natural habitat and one removes its vitality. Thus it is that wild animals in zoos, confined for life in the name of human entertainment, lose everything. Physically, the elephant in his concrete enclosure may appear unchanged but look into his eyes and the life has gone. In its place? I was going to say ‘sadness’; ‘acceptance’ but, in truth, there is nothing.
That was some walk on the beach! I do a lot of thinking there and, actually, this evening, there was a guy appeared with a rug, flask, foldable chair and book. Through the dunes he went and then, ensconscing himself on his chosen spot on the sand, he looked happy as larry as he dipped into the pages of his book, stopping, only, to admire the magnificence of his surrounds – and, perhaps, sip his gin from the flask! Perfect. It’s fun to let one’s imagination run wild and give strangers back stories … However, that was not the story I set out to tell. I was building up to my greatly anticipated Saturday night with Tom Cruise (and Danny from McFly!). So, lovely walk on the beach and even the lack of manners of some who passed could not spoil it. As paths cross, surely it takes considerably more effort to ignore rather than to smile and say ‘Hello’? Suffice to say, I continue to be amazed by the number of socially inept people frequenting ‘my’ space with no desire to raise the bar. They do say ignorance is bliss. Personally, I say ignorance is multiplying!
As the beach met the town, we were aware of a guy with a rake ‘drawing’ in the sand. When I say ‘drawing’, I mean on a huge scale; a little Rolf Harris-esque (one cannot deny his talent) as, effortlessly, his skill with the rake manifested into a giant wine bottle complete with name and date and the inscription, ‘Happy Birthday!’, below. Yet again, I was amazed that nobody took the time to stop and comment on his artistry – or even just to stop and admire, as they passed. Whatever happened to an enquiring mind or, at the very least, an interest in others? When was the last time, in conversation with a new acquaintance, he/she asked about you?
For my part, I was dying to know what he was doing and he was happy to tell. American and a caddy by trade, he is here while his wife completes her PhD and, in the current clime, he has been inventive in an effort to make money. He takes commissions for drawings in the sand – courtesy of his rake – and then photographs his work, from above, with his drone. Genius – and original, to boot. More to the point, at last, something to write about on my Seriously Good! page! We could have stayed and chatted for ages but this was turning out to be a good evening and we had the rest of it planned … or maybe not! Returning to the car, feeling buoyed by the sea air and our rare find – someone intelligent, talented and with an obvious zest for life (where are these little green men?) – key in ignition, belts on, eyes forward and … nothing! Well, to be fair, there was a clicking sound as though in dying protest. Excellent! No wine, no pizza, no Danny, no Tom. Why? What to do? Laugh! So, we did. Nothing else for it. Not quite so funny when we phoned the AA and the guy told us it could take up to three hours, though …
So, we sat and bemoaned our lives and our luck before, eventually, turning the key one more time, just to try … and, would you know, our very own Herbie started! Had we imagined it all? Who knew a car could lay claim to a sadistic sense of humour? I, for one, should. None of it made any sense but, whatever. We did get home to our wine and pizza. We caught up with Danny and The Voice Kids (should I be admitting that?) and I realised I had the DVD of A Few Good Men – of course, Manny? – so I got my hour and a half of Tom in his naval uniform. More than that, I re-visited one of my favourite films about courage, corruption and good triumphing over bad. It is a superb film. Tom Cruise is superb and the icing on the cake? A good, old-fashioned proper ending! Two little words but, somehow, so important; so poignant – ‘The End’. 1992. Where did the years go?
Now, one could be forgiven for thinking the time it has taken to read this is time one can never get back! A page-filler, drivel? Well, actually, I beg to disagree. A story – granted, a simple one – of anticipation, of how life doesn’t always go to plan; of unexpected encounters which restore one’s faith and fire one’s imagination; of the importance of an enquiring mind and, as ever, the power of humour. The ability to laugh at oneself or one’s misfortunes? The greatest gift.
Today (31st), it is twenty-three years since the death of Princess Diana. Still, sadly missed.
‘Every day, depending on what I’m doing, I wonder what it would be like if she was here, and what she would say, and how she would be making everybody else laugh …’
Making everybody else laugh … See what I mean?
This is Trish, signing off.