Tuesday, December 16, 2008


You know, for someone who has lived in London so long, I do still miss the sea. I miss that extraordinary tarty-salty ozone BLAST you get when it's rough, cold, blustery, sharp - winter: when I used to walk a lot down there by the shore in dark, dark Devon - lonely and dreaming of other places and this girl I might meet and when my life might.....begin.

I’ve been down to North Marine Drive
A road curling round by your sea

A sea that matches all of your moods

A place where we always agree.

And I’ve been down to North Marine Drive

Where I have scratched our names in the sand
And watched the sea take them away
Two names scratched in every spray.

And I’ve been on a desolate cliff
Where once a great castle had been
And stood, with the wind in my mouth
On a wall so the sea could be seen
And here a chapel once stood
But now, just a handful of stones.

But we, we are building it up
Ours as we stand here alone.

Ben Watt - 'North Marine Drive' (1983)


  1. I have similar memories of wandering by the sea in Scotland. Quite looking forward to doing that again when i'm back there over the holiday period. I did cycle down the coast in Devon last weekend and it was lovely to see and smell the sea :)

  2. I live 2 minutes walk from the sea and it is nice, I have to say. I used to travel from Asia to Europe every day via boat and I really miss it.

  3. I still leave by the sea (Sarfend)but there's not much romance about the Canvey refineries to the west, Kent's cement towers opposite and the MOD development in the east - but Old Leigh about 10 mins away is secret gem.

    I really must do the ol' grockle run again.. Croyde Bay was always a fave..

    Lovely tune by the way - what a joy that nylon string sound is

  4. But your sea-needs change with age don't they. Back then for me it was all about lonely headlands and windswept desolation; now I think that's all very well, but can we get a nice cup of tea somewhere?

    Oh yes, the Ben's a gem.

    First comment prize to Alistair, by the way.

  5. Never lived near the sea, but the wife's family has a caravan at Ardnarmurchan, the most westerly point on the uk mainland. It's pretty bleak up there but when sitting on the beach and staring out to sea a sort of calmness descends (christ, I sound like some tree hugging hippy)and all is well with the world for a wee while, can't beat that feeling.

    Entrailicus - "I used to travel from Asia to Europe every day via boat" - how cool does that sound.

  6. Oh and i forgot after the all is well with the world bit . . . And then some smart fucker in a Tornado decides to scare the shit out of you by flying past at about 250 miles an hour, 50 feet above your head and the spell is broken.


  7. Ha! Mind you, just saying 'Ardnarmurchan' evokes salt spray and malt whisky.

  8. no matter how much i adore this beautiful city there are days i can see myself with a beach to walk a dog on every morning. what is it about the sea huh? the desert does it too. i just can't tear myself away. maybe it's the sand not the sea. but i don't think so


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