Today the St Georges Cross flag hangs from the cheap aluminium flag pole, it displays to others of my thoughts and beliefs, nothing religious, it says exactly who i am, tomorrow it may be my Pride Flag.
Less than forty feet away the water reaches deep into the crevices of the sandstone and limestone cliff that support my home, this victorian villa sits precariously high above the waves, the bedrock fault runs right through the middle of this ancient structure, just as and when the earth will devour this failing abode no one knows, hopefully when it does, i will be asleep.
For over a hundred years the residents and many now departed souls of this property have stared through these wafer thin panes of glass, constantly bearing the beat of sea spray, we watch the sun rise, we watch it set, its views distorted through age and elemental wear, it in itself offers inspiration and displays the wonder that is this beautiful bay, Torbay, my home.
Almost everyday of my near eleven years inhabitance i have watched the trawlers make Port and head toward the Berry Head Mark, further onward to the fishing grounds, losely speaking, heading out into the unknown, each man subjecting themselves to the cruel world that the fishing industry is, each and everyone trusting every other crew member, this is teamwork, this is sheer determination to suceed, this is hell.
Everyday i watch them return,
I have seen the beautiful cottage opposite me engulfed in flames, an old gentleman who watched his entire lifes achievements and contents go up in smoke, never to get his own life together again, from its ashes a diabolical steel and concrete construction rises, it is an enigma, one that is neither similar to a castle or a beached cruise ship, however, such is the wonder of life, nothing changes, but everything else does.
The property above me sits quiet like death, still as it was when the old lady died peacefully in 1955, they, the two doting sons leave this as a shrine to her, it stands just as it was left then by her family, the house creaks and groans as the seasons change, visitors arrive unannounced and for a few days this shrine lives as it used to, visitors trundle precariously over threadbare carpets, water pipes rattle and dripping taps are twisted to the point of almost destruction by uncaring hands, often there is much silence, less often there is laughter, it is a rare occurence, the dust that lies upon the furniture is dismissed, the dark bakelite telephone that sits solitarily in the corner never rings, attempts of making culinary delights fail as they try to cook on appliances that should bear the labels of either “obsolete or unsafe”, the refrigerator shakes and moans, almost as if in itself it is dying.
Hundreds of books adorn the shelves, they themselves each having never been opened for decades, and the heap of National Geographic fanzines, piled high, they lean precariously to one side, old pictures hang of relatives, now them selves turned to ashes, the once guilded picture frames leave many dark shades of years sunlight burning into the distemper on the walls, a single one bar fire awaits to be energised, as and when, the dust burns and permeates the room, they sip sherry by the light of the diminishing daylight and begrudgingly turn a shadeless lamp on, an aged 60 watt lamp burns sadly, even the moths are gone, they too grieve, occasionally a good time once had is remebered, often a bad comment is thrown into the conversation, perhaps these aged walls do have ears, the dead benefactor turns and she sighs.
Every visit, each elder notices how their once familiar faces have changed, trying to recreate old times and walk adventures across the headland toward the South and North Forts, remembering their childhoods and happier events, each quietly wondering who wont be visiting next, it is after all a waiting game.
They tread upon grounds once exercised by Napoleonic armies, it is said that the voices of the troops and the sound of horses can be heard on silent dark starry nights, the breath of the baying horses rise into the cool evening air, the fear of men can be smelt, each one to have wondered about their own future which lay in the balance, each one to be savaged by either war, famine or disease.
The walks meander amongs bushes and often coppulating couples can be seen exercising their animal instincts without concern to those appreciating the woodland beauty, occasional rustling from near display horned beasts, a flock of rare breed sheep and rams beat track amongst the bracken and gorse, they climb down precariously from cliff top, tiptoeing further down toward the cold atlantic channel waters, many giving display to the passing pleasure cruisers passing the coast towards Kingswear and the Royal Port of Dartmouth, a coast line so rugged, yet often peaceful, the sea heaves and rolls its fetch from further shores miles away, rising and falling, rising and falling, tons of untameable brine, some bearing white hats, others covering dark silken depths, the sea smoothes as velvet but offers hard and volatile personalities as a psycopath would, it changes in an instant, without any warning.
I sit quietly and observe.