Martello Tower.


Night has finally fallen. I have my back against the Martello Tower and my eyes to Eastbourne. I have the seagulls for company, and the sea rocks gently back and forth. The milky white moon dazzles the water. In the distance out to sea, very faintly, and only twice in quick succession every few minutes, Sovereign Lighthouse twinkles back at me. If I were the Shipping Forecast, I’d be talking about it right now. Shingle is my seat, and I can feel dried out seaweed scratching at my legs. Little wayside shrubs have nestled their way up through the pebbles, poking out only to be battered by the south sound winds. But they’re resilient little things, and the gales do not vex them. All is so sedately quiet.

A resident of the Tower screams it head off in the dark, and suddenly a flock can be heard, congregating together. Not fit for humans now, seagulls are the only ones who can access all areas. The ideal inhabitant for any letting agency. The Lighthouse blinks absently again, and I run down to meet the sea as it washes over the dirty sand. The wind blows through my hair and I do not think to adorn my feet with my flip-flops. I take a place on the bedraggled and tumbled-down break water, who, like the Tower and the Lighthouse, never really change. After many minutes of watching the mesmerising ebb and flow of salty water, the chill begins to set in, and I walk a few paces up the beach to a very special house.

In the morning, we find the vivacious sea has spat many of its pebbles into the garden. That is the only downside of a house upon the beach. My father and I, instead of taking the car, walk the two miles into Pevensey Bay, and return later with kippers and fresh bread for breakfast, and humongous chocolate chip cookies for ‘elevenses’. We eat looking out over the sea in the morning, and to the hills in the evening. Every so often, the sound of train can be heard, and there’s a rush to the North-facing balcony to guess two things – what direction? And how many carriages? In early evening, there’s a walk a few miles in the direction of Bexhill, to find a pub for a summer’s sunset drink. We walk back along the fields, say hello to the sheep, cross the level crossing, and are once again, on the beach. One day we may make it further than a few miles, but it doesn’t really seem necessary.

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