In the Summer

In the summer
I stretch out on the shore
And think of you
Had I told the sea
What I felt for you,
It would have left its shores,
Its shells,
Its fish,
And followed me.

Nizar Qabbani
Translation: B. Frangieh And C. Brown


Three Sundays: Back in Time

On foot:
I’ve just walked back from the swimming pool – one at a nearby hotel. It’s been a quiet, unassuming weekend and it was the perfect way to spend a fading Sunday afternoon. A cold drink, a swim, time in the hot tub, a good read – all with a cheesy 80s soundtrack in the background. Added sport included beating SoundHound to naming that tune. I’ve known the town as visitor and resident for many years now, but it wasn’t until last May that I walked into this hotel to meet an old friend who was staying there before she headed to the airport. Since then, I’ve been back, summer and winter. I like it. The place itself has become a friend.

By car:
The previous Sunday saw me on a drive down to the deep south of the island to two places I’ve watched change a great deal over the years, yet which I never tire of revisiting. A friend (of tenacious longstanding) was celebrating her birthday at a beachside restaurant with a group of tourists and residents. The temperature rose, the mercifully-cooling wind blew, we ate, we drank, we chatted, we laughed and we had cake. The beach was full of happy holiday makers, the sea full of determined swimmers. A slow drive back took us to a fishing village in a small bay dominated by a ruined castle on the rocky outcrop above. The birthday cake digested, we stripped off and jumped in the water with the local ducks.

By boat:
Two weeks back now, and my Sunday was spent on as well as in the sea. The friend who’d introduced me to today’s hotel, invited me to meet her on another island at a favourite bay. One catamaran and a speedboat later, there I was and so was she. The crystal blues of the water were clearer and colder than usual – choppy, too, as the wind blew hard. On the boat and at the beach, I met two Dutch women, who talked of heartbreak, survival and fortitude with gusto and good humor. For a while, I walked alone along the shore, I had time for reflection before the return boat journey. I travelled through time at speed, remembering the first time I was there, the lasting value of the friendships made then, moving past all those made since, arriving happily, bumpily, covered in sea spray, back in the main harbour with those made that day.


One of the miracles of love

For this is one of the miracles of love; it gives…a power of seeing through its own enchantments and yet not being disenchanted.

CS Lewis ‘A Grief Observed’


A Feaver

Yet twas of my minde, seising thee,

Though it in thee cannot persever,

For I had rather owner bee,

Of thee one houre,

Than all else ever.

John Donne (1572 – 1631)


She lies in this alien room and aches.

She lies in this alien room and aches. Her mind and body howl. All that she can normally keep tamped down springs into life…It is not that he is ever forgotten, but mostly emotion is dormant; it lies quiet, biding its time. And then every so often something brings it raging forth, and she is back…with the raw new truth of it…

She should not have let herself be made unwary by wine, flattering attention, questions and the temptation to expand on her own achievements.

Penelope Lively, Moon Tiger