To bask in the warmth of the afternoon sun. The lightest of breezes to raise the soft, downy hairs on your bleached white, sun shy body. To the south-west, three lazily turning, windmill-like, wind towers assaulting the periphery of their extended reach, in order to harness the energy of Gods nature.
Turning, turning, ceaselessly turning, to the minds eye at the same unequivocal pace, but to each, its own independent rhythm.
The strand, stone and shale, burdened through millenia by the elements of time and erosion. Though not enough, yet, to turn larger shale to sand, accommodating enough to allow tentative wary steps towards the incoming, inevitable rising tide. An exalted mood prevails.
The only darkness, a towering chimney stack to the near west, a reminder of bygone days and a bath-house where de-lousing of emigrating passengers took place.
On its leeward side, within view, are two oldy worldy designed lamps made to resemble gas lamps of old and an iron railing, surrounding the relatively new complex of flats and rental housing that heralded a once prosperous Celtic-Tiger era.
A paradox of wordiness, identifying the noughties as the naughties in some God-like scolding, from a higher power, ending in the suffering of a chastised Irish populace.
Looking eastward, towards the Camber, memories of childhood days prevail. Where once a busy strand housed a myriad of multi-coloured sheds.
Offshore the lolling punts and yachts on their steadfast moorings adorned the southward shoreline. Today the shoreline battles the overgrowing bush and brush for dominance over the No-Mans land between the relentless, rising tide.
One wonders at the nature of a rapidly declining world and its cultural change of a small town, such as Cobh, and the anger and distrust in the younger generation of today. When to build a shed to
house a boat, or be closer to the extremes of nature means destruction of that property by gangs of alcohol-fuelled teenagers.
The other extent of the same periphery is the knowledge that it is now illegal to build a shed or housing without permission or consent from our authoritative council. One wonders of the liberties taken from indigenous peoples by so-called civilized societies, in the name of profit, or societal acceptance. A reverse Robin Hood philosophy springs to mind, as fishing rights and a way of life are seldom considered in the wake of change administered by prevailing authorities.
I remember and recall, with fondness, the cleaning of herring nets in the bay. The biting cold of Autumn, shriveling all but the will to complete the laborious task at hand. The retrieval and boxing of herring caught in the harbour.
Childhood days spent helping to reinforce the break-water walls, battered and broken from countless wind and tidal thrashings. The Camber and the hundreds and thousands of tiger-striped, bullet-like mackerel as they festooned the harbour and chopped the waters like hungry piranha, east and west as far as the eye could see. Children kicking the over zealous fish, lost in a feeding frenzy, upon the shore and claiming prizes, like Olympic medals. Oft’ times with string passed through their gills as a means of getting their bounty home.
My prize, though not a speedy mackerel or bait-fish, never-the-less as coveted a prize as any Olympic medal, is my partner-in-crime, my better half, my soul-mate. Sat beside me wrapped in towels, cap, sunglasses, tracky suit and wooly scarf, as I sunbathe in Cobhs Paradise.
The Bench strand stands as a reminder of how good, great and wonderful life can be. Homeward bound amidst taunts from the semi-inebriated, senior citizens gathered at the communal table, overlooking the harbour.
“Would you like another scarf, love?” resounding behind us, as we strolled our lazy way, spent from the days glory.
A day at the strand, what a shame not to jot it down…couldn’t miss the opportunity…