While it’s snowing in unexpected places in Europe, and Warsaw is -15, autumn dawns gloriously in my corner of Australia. Saturday is spectacularly blue and sunny, and even foot-fumbling along the beach at high tide can’t diminish my pleasure. The beach is quite busy, at least for Potato Point. A couple I’ve known for nearly forty years are set up, he fishing for lunch with bucket and line, she comfortable on a chair under a shady black hat reading. Halfway along the beach a table, white-clothed, is set up for a wedding and a man in a satin- backed waistcoat waits with friends, including a guitarist and a crouched photographer, for the bride to appear through the dunes.
The sea is welcoming. High tide may make walking a chore but it makes swimming easy. No struggle to immerse myself: the sea does it for me, a calm serene sea where I can feel myself gently lifted and lowered.
On Sunday, we’ve had a southerly overnight and the sky is cloudy. However the water is still warm and the rise and fall remains gentle. The beach offers unexpected treasures: a scattering of white bones with elegant black patterning. These are the internal shells of cuttlefish, chambered and gas-filled, used to control buoyancy when the cuttlefish is in possession and for a variety of other purposes after its demise: as a polishing powder used by goldsmiths; a toothpaste additive; an antacid; a dietary supplement for caged birds, chinchillas, hermit crabs, reptiles, shrimp and snails.
There is also an unusual smattering of sponges (an interesting synchronicity since I’ve just spent five minutes photographing J’s dried sponge collection from our beachcombing phase) and a translucent shell.
There is one touch of approaching winter (or is it a gardening glove?) abandoned on our towel and hat rack.