The melancholic end of the season

There’s something intrinsically melancholic about the grass at the edge of this car park on the Lleyn peninsula. If it were a dog you’d say it had a staring coat, speaking of some inward malady; an infestation. Well, if it’s an infestation of anything it’s time – minute worms if I was going to be a smart arse. The crowds have gone home – just a few Friday weekenders now. Ironically, of course, this is precisely what makes the seaside in autumn and winter so attractive. The empty shops; the pubs that only open at weekends; the absence of any diversions at all – even the occasional fairy lights are disconnected to make sure the last man made enchantment is drained into the sea.

R S Thomas, the poet, would have been pleased to see the back of us all. The voice, if not the mouthpiece of the English ruling class could stop shouting at the blackberry tourists and get back to nagging the butcher about labelling his wares in Welsh.

On the beach today we saw a kestrel hunting along the banks of tussocky grass below the mud cliffs. A pair of oystercatchers busily worked the edge of the waves and were moved on by a heron that perched for a minute and then flew lazily across the bay. To the west a brief band of clear sky illuminated a narrow strip of the tideline like Courbet’s painting of the end of time; and a brilliant turquoise sail jellyfish was silently ending its visit to Wales.

Summer’s gone – time to go home.

Author: Dave Pole

I've spent my life doing a lot of things, all of them interesting and many of them great fun. When most people see my CV they probably think I'm making things up because it includes being a rather bad welder and engineering dogsbody, a potter, a groundsman and bus driver. I taught in a prison and in one of those ghastly old mental institutions as an art therapist and I spent ten years as a community artist. I was one of the founding members of Spike Island, which began life as Artspace Bristol. ! wrote a column for Bristol Evening Post (I got sacked three times, in which I take some pride) and I worked in local and network radio and then finally became an Anglican parish priest for 25 years, retiring at 68 when I realised that the institutional church and me were on different paths. What interests me? It would be easier to list what doesn't, but I love cooking and baking with our home grown ingredients. I'm fascinated by botany and wildlife in general, and botanical illustration. We have a camper van that takes us to the wild places, we love walking, especially in the hills, and we take too many photographs. But what really animates me is the question "what does it mean to be human?". I've spent my life exploring it in every possible way and the answer is ..... well, today it's sitting in the van in the rain and looking across Ramsey Sound towards Ramsey Island. But it might as easily be digging potatoes or making pickle, singing or finding an orchid or just sitting. But it sure as hell doesn't mean getting a promotion, beasting your co-workers or being obsequious to power, which ensured that my rise to greatness in the Church of England flatlined 30 years ago after about 2 days. But I'm still here and still searching for that elusive sweet spot, and I don't have to please anyone any more. Over the last 50 or so years we've had a succession of gardens, some more like wildernesses when we were both working full-time, but now we're back in the game with our two allotments in Bath.

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