Day 47 May 30

There’s a kind of surreal quality to living by the sea today. From my window I watch people wander along the prom: couples, groups, family units in gaudy summer gear; they sit on the beach or stand in the sea cooling off on the Costa del Hastings. Today, Spring has come to full term and given birth to Summer. 

So what’s surreal about it? Apparently we’re in the midst of a pandemic. Not here though. Today Lockdown is out sunning its pasty face. To the South there’s not a mask to be seen. Go North up London Rd and it’s a different day. People in wide berth, some masked, queue up for bread, or fruit and veg. In Boots a perspex-headed guard indicates the one way system with an Elizabethan flourish, doing the same as I leave, like a bit-part actor trying to make his mark.

Down Kings Rd I stop to buy a vegan sausage roll in the deli and avoid engaging with a tongue-tutting woman who wants to rant about the two metre rule. She persists. I tell her firmly: It’s just the way it is and swerve off up the street.

Well, it is the way it is. 

I was enroute to visit an older friend who isn’t feeling well. She loves people. She just needed to see someone; to laugh a bit. On the way I met a yellow rose nodding over a wall and then a tree with brazen yellow hair.

My friend embroiders stories in colourful threads, not only with words but on actual canvas. She is a wizard at weaving whatever is in her life at the time. In the past weeks she has woven the Corona story. As it unfolds she adds to it, looping the panels together in one piece. 

When I leave I cut back through Summerfield woods out into a small meadow, past the quiet law courts and the police station where two police cars idle under the trees; on down Magdalen Rd, pausing by the church courtyard to admire a view of another church; then home down the little alley where a not-so-famous-as-Banksy graffiti artist has done a statement portrait of the Queen circa 1965.

Later, a quick walk through the park where families sit on the grass in perfectly-spaced clumps. The tutting woman would have had something to say!

As I write this it is as though I have been wandering through a vast film set, somewhat like The Truman Show, and at any moment I might turn a corner and bump up against the flats. 

Life is surreal.

“All the world’s a stage and all the men and women merely players…”

William Shakespeare

As You Like It, Act 2, Scene 7