Somewhere on the East Yorkshire Coast is a row of 1950’s candy-coloured beach chalets facing the North Sea. Their painted wooden doors, peeling and rusting in places, open onto a corridor of grainy sand pockmarked by white chalk worn into pebbles. Then it’s the sea, sometimes gently rippling, sometimes roaring and rolling.
Travelling this corridor are herring and common gull, black-backed gull, cormorant, eider duck and heron. I am learning who they are. The odd seal pup beaches.
The chalets became post-Second World War retreats. I imagine scarred bodies, minds and hearts, trying to heal in this sharp, salty air. Of daydreams, memories and unanswered questions as eyes stretched to a horizon that was finally free of the enemy. My parents and grandparents walked the seafront eating chips. They brought me here to learn to swim and not be afraid.
In March 2020 the pandemic hit, stealing so much and giving nothing in return save for time to walk, think, look and worry about what’s lurking next on a different horizon. So I rented one of these chalets and called it Mo’s Place, after my mother. It has yellow doors which open out to lilac, blue or charcoal skies so vast they dwarf my fears and illuminate my daydreams.
It’s the only place that feels normal.
(Using found and iphone images)