Tuesday, 11 June 2013

The Trip

Hours in, and halfway through Star Trek IV (wherein Spock breaststrokes around a tank of humpback whales), which we’re watching in technicolour on Ciara’s Binatone portable black-and-white, I start to lose all sense of time; what purpose it serves and why. I stare at the fire, where a log is wrapped in flame; then focus on the clock, but I just can’t fathom what the hands are doing, or how the present becomes the past. Ron, our friend from Chepstow, renowned for drinking homebrew after barely the recommended fermentation period, boasts of his ability to work out time, so we up and walk to town via the prom. That’s despite the fact it’s mid-November, when the North Atlantic gusts can lift you off your feet. Tonight, though, all is calm; the tide way out from the West Strand. But as we get as far as the point where, each equinox, the breakers crash right over, there are clumps of people, in primary-coloured puffas, whom I’m sure are Finnish. I hear them warn us to stay well away from the port. Nevertheless we carry on, lured, not for the first time under the influence, by Sportsland’s raucous lights; only to find a line of RUC vans blocking off Kerr Street. Ciara and I turn back, but Ron, whom we’re delighted to see head off, makes for the chip shop and the Harbour Bar. We cast our farthest gaze out to sea, jump onto sand, clamber over rocks and shine a torch into pools. Beneath the moon, whose cup is almost full, there’s a whole blue world of shrimps and snails, the clearest darkness imaginable.

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