The beach felt huge today, ten times as big as usual. Our coastline is crowded around here; estuaries meet channels and flow into The Solent, the beaches are short and shingled at high tide. Look west and you see the high rise buildings in Portsmouth, look south and you see the hills of the Isle of Wight, and the horizon is always full with container ships, passengers ferries, Naval vessels. It's a busy stretch of water.
But today, the tide was as far out as it could be, it was all sand and sky and the most perfect clouds. The air was warm with just the barest breath of wind, the water clear and quiet. The beach felt full with people, dogs and horses, but there was plenty of space to go around. I enjoyed watching the horses. Horse riding is not something I'm keen on but I could see how freeing it must feel, riding by the sea. There was some kind of convention of labrador owners, about twenty of them, gathered together chatting. Dogs are allowed off their leashes on the beach from October first, so those labradors were all having a great old time, lolloping around, running in and out of the sea. We had our usual conversation about getting a dog - what kind, would it work for us as a family - the same conversation we have at least once a week.
The clouds were building up as we left and the sky whitening. We went home for a lunch of soup and I spent the afternoon ironing and watching the Great British Bake Off with Bella (she's a great companion to watch this with, full of opinions and questions) while John cooked roast beef with Yorkshire pudding and all the trimmings.
A pretty good day.