IT’S WINDY in Weymouth. Egged on by the easterly, high tide’s left the beach frothing with weed. Seduced by swirls of cockles, clams and sea snails, I pocket a gritty few.
We climb up to the Pavilion and follow the high wall. The boxy seafront stretches away, turquoise and pink and beige. We head for the building site where the Weymouth Eye is taking shape. A huge pile driver stands over scratched-out foundations. The pier railings are rusty blue and white. The tea rooms are shuttered and blind. A cloud of shrieking gulls hover for fisherman’s scraps.
A family is crabbing, determinedly armed with lines and buckets and wellies. The Weymouth Sailing Club pontoon is mostly empty – all the boats have been hauled out for winter. We pass the long, low roof of the Rowing Club. The Nothe Fort walls grow out of piles of damp leaves.
On the stone pier, a couple of fishermen huddle behind rods. The great grey seething of sea heaves away, flinging salt spray in our faces. A dead-eyed mackerel lies in our path. A cormorant bobs and dives. Portland stands silently at our side.
On the other side, the water’s so low I brave slippery steps down to where drenched black bladderwrack writhes over the long-lost stony shore.
In the shadow of the Nothe, a fearless squirrel scatters and skitters under our feet. We squint as it melts into dusk. Time to go home.