Saturday, 29 April 2017

New Moon at Shaldon

I'm in South Devon for the long weekend with the parents.  It feels a bit funny to be staying down here, now the Biscuit Tin by the Sea is consigned to history. I noticed last year that I see everything differently now my bolt hole is gone and I no longer take what's before my eyes for granted, and this phenomenon seems to be continuing.

Last night, after I'd driven the car to the car park, I walked back to the cottage where we're staying and noticed that I could see further along the coast than I'd ever managed before - past Golden Cap and all the way to Portland Bill. 

And the incoming tide was certainly one of the fastest I've seen in years. Due in part, I'm sure, to the new moon.  

This is the notorious Shaldon eddy, which forms a couple of hours before high tide. 

A little later, while the parents watched sports stuff on telly, I nipped outside the cottage onto the jetty to watch the tide turn. 

If anything can be sudden yet stately, it's a ship leaving port on the tide. They remind me of snails, with lit cities on their backs. 

Then I spotted the pilot boat on its way out through the estuary. Another ship on the move. This was the height of excitement for seven-year-old me, waiting for the wash to rush up the river beach. Nearly fifty years later, I still feel a thrill. 

For a while the two ships seemed to circle each other, as if they were about to engage in a sword fight or a somewhat predatory tango. 
Then, one after the other they peeled off and headed south, leaving the harbour empty.


  1. My parents lived in Shaldon & both are buried there. I stayed there in the summer vacation as a student, taking the ferry over to Teignmouth to work as a chambermaid and kitchen 'help' at the Beach Hotel. My sons first summer holidays were all spent on Shaldon beach or Smugglers beach...Very evocative blog. x

    1. I think a bit of my heart will always be stuck there.