Flash non-fiction: a tale of surf war

I’ve just found an old bit of writing, it’s a sort of flash non-fiction piece and I thought I may as well share. It’s quite airy-fairy and no jokes, I must have been having a grown-up week. I’m really busy at the moment so finding it hard to blog, there could well be more of these. Feel free to let me know what you think, even if you think it’s crap. I’d also welcome ideas for a slightly catchier title.

Beach, a tale of surf war

west dale

There’s no one on West Dale Beach.

The bay scoops into the land like a bite stolen from a giant biscuit and I’m standing where the gap in the front teeth would be. Rocks crumb into the steely water which stretches back, merging with the autumn sky. All that lingers between is a distant dark island, I don’t know its name. Anna does. She says only puffins and guillemots live there.

Standing on the cliffs, I can see rocks below, pebbles too, sand, sea, but no people. Then Anna comes into view. She’s reached the beach and is clomping across reddy-pink stones, hair flapping, heading for the sea.

“If she could keep going,” Amy, our mentor, tells me, “the next stop would be Venezuela.”

As I watch, Anna reaches the lip of the sand, where the band of loose stones – they’re the colour of watered down Merlot – gives way to a paler and softer sort of beach. She mars the sand’s smooth surface with the first satisfying footprint. I want to shout to her, to tell her to stop and wait for me, but it’s too windy: cold air rushes at my face with force enough to muffle any sound.

Instead, my feet begin to shuffle. I run.

Carefully, I leap gnarled wooden steps, two at a time, down the sandstone cliffs. At the bottom, there’s a clatter as I hit the pebbles, keeping my arms out for balance. Then a dull doof… doof... as I thud over the sand.

Anna’s not far ahead now. If I’m really quick, I think, I might feel the sea wash over my feet before she does. My cumbersome wellies slip off with a wriggle and a flick as I run, lightening the load. I hurry, now with bare feet pummelling the cold wet ground. But she still beats me to the shoreline.

A tall frothing wave crashes, swells and swallows her feet up to the ankles.

I walk the edge of the bay kicking worm castings and water. Anna stays where I left her, flicking her primrose hair and paddling.

A week in Pembrokeshire


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