A couple of days ago was one of those days when I wake stupidly early, and just need to move. And as it was already sunny and bright, I decided to jump in the car and go walk on the coast.
I headed for Old Hunstanton - this is maybe just a mile or so along the coast from the more touristy Hunstanton with its funfair and "attractions", and is more of a "local" beach. As it was very early the roads were blissfully clear and open, and I arrived on the beach just at 6am. The tide was on the way out, but still fairly high when I got there. I took off my shoes and headed to the shore line - how good to feel sand between your toes and the sun on your body!
The beach was empty apart from the birds that flocked on the receding water line, and I ventured out to walk just where the waves were still gently lapping against the shore. I needed some shells to complete a small decorative project I'm working on, and soon my pockets were bulging and wet from the wonders I found!! I kept telling myself to stop - but then finding "just one more" perfect specimen, which I simply had to collect.
All this time the water is slowly going further and further out, and I'm soon in areas with seaweed growing. It's really intriguing how, although the sand is basically flat, it's not a uniform flatness. There are rises where the sand has already dried out, and then streams that cut channels through making deep gulleys. It's easy to see how these sands can be dangerous for the unwary - I know from my experience how fast the water comes in at hight tide, and these high areas would soon become sandbanks surrounded by water.
The sun continues to rise over the coast line, and as I walk towards it I am mesmerised by the brightness and the colours. Behind me, I can see the coloured Hunstanton cliff with the bright white lighthouse on top, a truly iconic picture.
After walking for some time, I spot in the distance the first human I've seen on the beach so far - a solitary man walking his dog up on the top of the beach. I wonder what the time is, and am shocked to see it's already almost 7 o'clock - I've been walking for an hour without really noticing!
So I turn and set off back along the beach to where I've left the car. Only then do I really appreciate how far I've actually come! Rather than the slow wading I've been doing, I walk on the firmer sand so that I can pick the pace up a bit. I see more people walking dogs on my way back, and also one family starting their day on the beach early.
It's past 8 when I get back to the car - I'd left it parked in splendid isolation, but now I have builders vehicles close in front and behind me - thanks guys!! But I get out OK, and am soon on the road again, but this time with more traffic heading into town.
I turn the local radio station on, and listen to the morning show - full of weather reports and traffic news - a total contrast to the basic elements of sun and water I've been immersed in for the last 2 hours.
By now I'm feeling really tired, so I'm glad when I get back to my riverside home, and can drop back into bed - sandy and damp, slightly smelling of sea air, but SO contented with my lot in life.
After I washed and dried the shells, I had enough to complete what I'd wanted them for, and some over! They are now used as decorations around the place, and the larger shells I've used as candle holders for night lights - I smile every time I look at them!