The sea is there, all right, but there was a low mist concealing the skyline.
We moved to the west side of Edinburgh nearly 22 years ago for the sake of the children's schooling but we still drive down to Joppa most Sundays to go to church. However, I haven't really walked around the district much since then. (22 years slips away very quickly; how can it be that long?) Here I am standing in the Quarry Park, which used to be at the end of the street we lived in when the children were small. Well, the park and the street are still there, but to my surprise there's no longer a path through. Houses have been built in the place where there were garages and a gap in the wall.
So I walked up to the main road and down and round into "our" street. I'd looked along it often enough while driving past it over the years but I don't think I've ever walked along it since moving - it's a short cul-de-sac. Today I wandered along it, remembering all the people who lived in it when we were there. Quite a few of them are dead, sadly: Miss Mackenzie and Miss Oliver and Miss Kerr as well as Sandra, who was younger than me. And other neighbours have moved away. I don't think anyone is left whom we knew.
I stood in front of "our" house and noticed the front path. When we arrived, it consisted of rather cracked concrete and we spent quite a lot of money (at least, it seemed a lot to us, in our rather impecunious state at that time) getting it neatly paved. The paving slabs were alternately pink (or was it green?) and cream. When I looked at them now, I was amazed to see that they were dirty grey and no longer flat: roots must have lifted them over the years. They looked as if they'd been there for centuries. Yet to me it seems no time since we left. I couldn't believe that this could have happened. I felt like - I'd like to say Sleeping Beauty but maybe Rip Van Winkle would be more appropriate. Some evil fairy seemed to have come and done horrid things overnight to our tidy path.
She's not really improved me either... .
Looking round the street, I felt it was just the same and yet totally different: a very weird sensation, as if I could blink and the wrong colours of the doors (ours is now black), the easy-to-maintain landscaping of Miss Oliver's garden and the smart railings on Darrell and Bill's wall would all disappear.
When I walked back down to the beach I took a photo of the sturdy lady: still doggedly running along the beach - in the opposite direction - an hour after I'd seen her before.
(Grr, Blogger's done for the paragraph spacings again. And I can't comment on Fran's or Rachel's blogs. Come on, Blogger, stop mucking about.)