Monday, 26 December 2016

The Berrow Tradition

Whenever the weather is brilliantly sunny on Boxing Day, we go to Berrow Beach. It's become something of a tradition. 

Except that until today, we'd only done it once. The semi-hallowed feeling comes from the astounding brilliance of that first visit, and the fact that I was lucky enough to come home with a poem in my pocket.

It can be hard to summon up the courage to repeat dazzling days. It was 12 years before I could bring myself to revisit Kelmscott Manor, William Morris's dream manor on the banks of the Thames in Oxfordshire, because, of course, subsequent visits can never live up to memory of those huge, juicy, 
black cherries in our picnic basket and that surreptitious and forbidden brush against my hero's coat, hanging on the back of the north hall door. 

As a matter of fact, today's visit to Berrow was not in such glorious technicolour. In fact, looking along the coast towards Burnham it was positively monochrome. 

Ted didn't mind, however. 

Unusually for this part of the coast, there was a very loud roary sound coming from the sea which suggested that it was quite stormy. Not so unusually, the tide was so far out we could barely see it. 

I also had trouble deciphering the flock of smallish, whitish birds running over the mud flats as if blown by the wind. Sanderpiper-y types, I suspect. (I'm rubbish at birds; even worse at remembering to bring binoculars on jaunts.)  I did spot a few oystercatchers, however, and the water-wobble call of  a curlew was easily recognisable. 

What was different about this visit (and something always is) was that the wreck of the SS Nornen was much easier to access than usual. Normally it lies exactly on the mudline, pointing towards the shore, so that you can reach the prow of it but go no further. This time sand had piled up around it so it was easier to have a really close look at it, and even walk into what would once have been its hold. 

The non canines amongst us had to be careful, however, as what looked like sand seemed on occasion to be doubling as mud. 

By now the tide had come in so far that it was just about visible on the horizon. It was time to head for home. 
Back at the Church someone had tied a piece of red fabric to one of the trees (just visible above the wall) which looked quite festive ... 
... and a flock of starlings were carousing in a thicket. Blessings of this season. 

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