On the beach

Photograph of Dungeness Beach below Derek Jarmans house

Finally got back to Dungeness last weekend. It is a place from my childhood. At least, I have memories of paddling in an unusually warm sea (there or somewhere) near a nuclear power station. As you do.

Dungeness is a cultural destination for Derek Jarman fans. 
 His wooden abode there has been well documented. But I was as much if not more excited to see the sea. Although one is a good excuse for the other. And his garden demonstrates an unlikely bloody-minded beauty in that bleak landscape.

It was a wonderfully windy day. The sort where you expect the wind to push you off up into the sky – like a rather large version of the Red Balloon.

The deserted beach was littered with flotsam, large and small. The large: old husks of dry boat, dark creosoted huts with their backs to the wind, rusting iron remnants of a past gravel industry. The small: discarded but rather smart plimsolls, skeletons of fishy things, string, rope, iron chain, crisp packets. I photographed some of those.

And so many – too many – pebbles to choose from. I wanted to bring back the lot. The colours of the stones – huge undulating waves of them going down toward the beach – were just so good to look at. Set against a backdrop of a luminous grey and heaving sea – it would be hard to find a better way to spend an hour.

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