End of the line


Sad on the bus to see an elderly man talking quietly but angrily to himself all the way, while the beautiful downs flowed by on the right and the beautiful beautiful sea passed on the left.

After eating a final archetypal cheese scone (though like all archetypes, they are not quite what they were) it was time to wander past the respectable houses and then the edge of the marshes, glimpsing towards the chalk.

The bay was draughty rather than stormy; even so the spray was flying from the prom, and the lucid (and literal) aquamarine turned ominous as soon as the sun left it.

A lifeboat station shop yielded second-hand books (a rash purchase at this moment) and a sugar fix.  On the bus, the downs flowed on the left and the sea passed on the right.


7 responses »

  1. Ever since reading Watership Down I have strived to understand exactly what a “down” is. Is it a meadow? A pasture? Rolling hillside? Are there “ups” to go with the downs?

    • 🙂 Downs = Chalk hills found in the south of England, not very high, often very steep, rounded, usually covered in a particular kind of thin-soiled dry green turf with low-growing flowers grazed by sheep and rabbits, also gorse/bramble thickets and sometimes a bit of woodland. Famous for enormous fortified pre-Roman “castles” or “camps” (Google Maiden Castle or Old Sarum), burial tumuli often on the crests, and ancient figures cut into the turf so that the white chalk shows up against the green (Google Uffington White Horse and Cerne Abbas Giant for really old ones, or Fovant Badges Wiltshire for modern). Downland always seems special to me, but then I am prejudiced.

  2. I think it would do our politicians good to travel on buses (a lot). Only yesterday my daughter was on a bus heading down to UCH in London with a very elderly and very ill looking gent who was discretely vomiting into a paper bag. Some fellow travellers were pulling faces, but fortunately nobody said anything to him. My daughter thought imagine feeling that poorly and having to travel on the bus to your hospital appointments.

    • I couldn’t agree more. There’s a regular cohort from here travelling to a cancer clinic on a particular day; they do chatty solidarity together, but some look as if they feel absolutely dreadful.

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