Thoughts on Whitstable Beach May 1st 2013
I see the Dickens boy, cap askew, shoulder sticking out of the ripped seam of the battered jacket, walking into the wind. Shivering against the cold, rain drenched, eyes shining in his mission. Brave and honest, he makes for the pub that throws watery light out on the dreary mud. Inside, huddled by the fire, his fate awaits him - the man who holds the secret but will not speak out.
I am the 50s boy. Shivering too, woollen bathing trunks sagging, legs chapped by the salt, waiting and waiting. Inside the pub is the father, his voice of bonhomie booms out as he tells a filthy joke, buys a round. And the boy waits. He is always waiting.
I see the 80s boy, romping in his trunks. Spade in hand he digs and makes, he laughs and moves. He moves and moves and moves. He is always moving.
Inside the pub today I am the 50s boy grown up. I see the shadow of the Dickens man in the corner. He is grown old before his time. Ruddy cheeked, full of goodness but weary with the tragedy of his tale. I sit and feel my aching knees and ankles, I am getting old too. And here comes 80s boy, my son, with two foaming pints in hand. “Remember, Dad” he begins. I do remember, son, I do remember.