Saturday, 23 July 2016

Hot Beer

There was, at last, a pause in the English monsoon. The sun came out and so we went to Beer. The English are notorious for their warm beer. This Beer was stonking hot. Feel the heat rising off those cobbles.

       Near where the concrete path ends and these cobbles begin, a man was talking to two friends. "She said, 'Now you know what child-birth feels like.' I said, 'I don't want to!' But she held my hand, very kind..."

I've never known the sea to be so mirror-still that the cliffs cast such a reflection.

          A woman said to a girl of about eleven, "What will your Mum and Dad say when they find out what you've been doing with us?"  The girl said, in delighted triumph, "Nothing! I've done nothing!"

Beer competes hard for the village in bloom title. Several doorsteps held enormous scarlet geraniums the size of small bushes. There were window-boxes and hanging baskets and stone pots of marigolds and nasturtiums were part of the street furniture.

The lane leading down to the sea got in on the act too, with valerian, wild carrot, flax, bird's foot trefoil...

People swam, lay on the hot pebbles and watched the little white sail-boats glide past.

          "Is it cold?"   -     "Brass monkeys are diving and weeping, mate."   

We went to Sidmouth for the evening. This sandstone cliff beside the river always catches the evening sun.

Next day, Beer was just as hot, but there was a strong breeze. All the flags were horizontal.

Instead of reflecting the cliff, the sea slapped against it and streaks of orange sand could be seen in the water.

But you could turn your back on it and watch the swallows over the cliff.
       As you can see, it's not a crowded place.

           "Shall we get fish'n'chips and eat them on the beach?"
                                        "Better be ready to fight off the sea gulls."
                                                   "Yeah, well, there's no shortage of stones."

But you always have to go home. So we climbed up the cliff path, back to the car and the motorway - and the heat without a sea breeze.

Hope you enjoyed the British summer! Let's hope it lasts a couple of days more.


Joan Lennon said...


Katherine Roberts said...

Beach weather here, too! I have been doing a lot of paddling and the sea is really warm at the moment. Love those conversations, all good research! And now people chat away on their mobiles walking down the street etc, there is much more opportunity to overhear interesting snippits of conversation (though with phones you have to imagine what the person at the other end is saying, of course...)