As it all rushes by

Sitting on the concrete promenade

At Thorpe Bay

The sun setting to my right

Casting a glow over the seafront buildings

And the large new ferris wheel

In the distance

The weather is ok

A rarity

Spring seems shy after a brutal winter

This weird place I’ve called home

For the last year

Is fast coming to an end

Everything changes all the time

But with me

Maybe it’s a little too constant

I’m alone

As I usually am out here 

In this place

But I look down along the beach

And see an old paddling boat

Filled with sand and shells

The same one my daughter played in

Two weeks before in this spot

And I think if how

I’ll probably never bring her out here again

Why am I nostalgic?

I don’t know

It’s funny how us humans can make anything home

When I first came here I sort of hated this place

It was the middle of summer

Lobster people crawled out of the woodwork

Traffic mess

The constant smell of ice cream and fish and chips

Screams from the amusement park rides

Seemed to carry for miles

An image sticks in my head

A few hundred yards from where I sit now

The height of summer

A rugged looking old man stood on the concrete promenade

And played some equally rugged notes

From a saxophone

While a woman sat on the edge

Legs wide open

Revealing whatever you wanted to see

And swayed, beer in hand, to the music

In the background an old yacht had fallen on its side

And lay prone in the water

That’s Southend for you

There’s charm, but you have to be creative about it

There was always this sense 

Right from the beginning

That’s I’m not at home in this town

Or city


And I never was

But familiarity has its charm

Certainly to me

But that’s my problem

I hate goodbyes

And here I am

Another goodbye to another place

This one a solitary journey

That precious few saw precious little of

I look down the seafront

I think I can almost make out the shape

Of the Royal Hotel

I can afford to take a few minutes more here

No one’s waiting for me

And here I am

Taking it slow

As it all rushes by

May solitude

We got horribly drunk the night before

A couple of drinks after work

Turned into something considerably different.

A brandy promotion

Or something

I couldn’t remember driving home

But back then it was ok

Waking up with that confused guilty sensation

With a pounding head and a face that felt swollen

Meeting them back at work

We laughed as people do when knowing they’re equally in pain

I needed to be in the town of George later that afternoon

A four hour drive on my own down the coast

I left at midday.

Driving slowly

Nothing but a hotel reservation in front of me

My hangover slowly faded

Into that not unpleasant state of sweet melancholia

It was May

My favourite month in South Africa

The afternoon sun reflected off the still waters of the Knysna lagoon

In the windless cool stillness of May

The patches of mist

Clung to the earth in the valleys and on the water

And I felt ok

I was ok

There’s nothing quite like arriving at a hotel room

After a drive

Especially in the tiredness of an afternoon following a hangover.

A properly made bed

New sheets, your own space . . . . and silence

Glorious silence and solitude

My room overlooked the Outeniqua mountains

I sipped a glass of wine as I looked out at the sun going down to my left

It’s the crazy nights that sometimes make us feel alive

And the beautiful moments of solitude

Remain so hard to explain

Mizzle on the A127

Driving through the mizzle

On the A127

Trying to understand all of this

And the train of time 

Rolls on relentlessly 

As I struggle to keep up

Closing my eyes

Through this darkest part

Recognising the long night

I’ve been in

Confronting the imposter