Thursday, 31 December 2015

The Sea, The Sea


I need the sea. It has a voice for every one of my million emotions. Sometimes, nothing calms me as the sea.

Opening lines for a book I wrote twenty years ago. The sentiment holds true, despite the intervening double decade, proving that you can know yourself Quite Well at twenty or so.

I'm not an on-the-sea or an in-the-sea person, but I feel an intense call coming from it every now and then. The need to be near it, to walk beside it, to feel its spray on my face and to be buffeted by its powerful winds comes every few months and then there is nothing to be done but to go to it and be near it and spend time with it. I get the same feeling about the Stones at Avebury, a place I've been going to for the same twenty-year period. Often I work out later why I needed to go at that precise time, and the same can be said of the sea.

Sometimes, the sea has enough power to give me migraines; sometimes it sucks away grief and anxiety, worry and pain, those things we are all, from time to time, besieged by. Sometimes it can erode all the negative thoughts and emotions in a way nothing else gets close to. Sometimes it energises me and leaves me feeling like I could fly round the world, up to the stars and beyond into the midnight blue unknown, and back again, safely. But most often what it brings is a sense of calm, peace and restoration; a washing clean of grit and hardship.

Today, the wind was whipping and white dollops of foam flew a goodly distance from the swirling white-stallion topped waves that were crashing and rolling, splitting and surging onto the shore. Children played games of dare with it, shrieking and running back up the shingle beach as the waves raced after them. The road was breached and sea-water agitated the tyres of the few cars that remained parked there. 

Pop took one look and made up her mind to avoid it at all costs, displaying perhaps for the first time something approaching a mature sense of assessing her surroundings. Ted was buffeted about and yet walked patiently with us, trusting us to make the right and safe decisions for him, while all the time his fur was blown in all directions and his coat  dampened by the spray. He was glad when we were ready to return to the warmth, protection and stillness of the car. 

I often wonder what would we do without Teddy's steadiness. I suspect he was sent to anchor us all. He came from a rescue centre, did you know that? He was a tiny wee 10 week old Puppy and I was looking for an older dog and hadn't intended to get another Pup. We tell people we rescued him, but in reality I sometimes think it is the other way round. When I am sad, Teddy is there: quiet, unassuming, steady, sitting quietly by my feet watching me in that careful, knowing way he has. When L needs a buddy to confide in he turns to Ted. When M returns from work at night Teddy appears from no-where and sits gazing steadily at him until M gets down on the carpet and the two of them rough and tumble together, putting the cares of the day away where they should be. Goodness knows what we'd have done without him over the last six years. He's been the catalyst for so much good in our lives and yet he is the least demanding of all of us. Teddy reminds me that to be happy in life requires a handful of simple, yet important things: love, warmth, kindness, protection and understanding, with a healthy dollop of fun and the odd wet, whiskery kiss thrown in for good measure. 

So that is what I am wishing for all of you for 2016.

My thanks for keeping pace with life here at Countryside Tales this year. All the best to you and yours.



  1. Ah, I had a wee tear in my eye as I read on about dear Teddy. As a dear friend said to me once 'they are truely the Gods of small things'. Thanks for your lovely blog CT, wishing you and yours a very joyful 2016! :)

  2. So glad I have Basil too - he's been brilliant through this difficult year. Wishing you a great 2016.

  3. Well done Teddy for being such a wonderful doggy! Happy New Year! Here's to a good 2016! xx

  4. What a wonderful post today.
    Teddy is such a Gud Dug.
    My Watson was like that an old soul in a Scotty.
    He was my zen.
    I used to live by the sea and I miss it everyday. But I am now back in the desert and I love. Different but the same.
    One of the best things that happened to me was finding your blog this year. Wonderful.

    Happy New Year
    cheers, gayle and thehamish

  5. Lovely lovely post! I know exactly what you mean about the sea and about Ted rescuing you rather than the other way around. My Tom was a great teacher and I miss him now he is no longer here, and there have been others who have given me far more than I have given them with their trusting ways and their wisdom about life and how it should be lived. Best wishes for 2016.

  6. Ah CT it's like you wrote the words for me regarding the sea. When I'm in the trees it's your posts I get a little edgy and ever so uncomfortable in the photos, which is what I'm like in the woods. Whilst I love the nature and the whispering that a forest will bring, the inner yearning for the horizon and the coast always wins out! I'm too, like a magnet drawn to its edge.
    I love that Ted rescued himself away to you!
    Here's hoping to a great 2016. Or at least a same old same old no shocker one!!

  7. The seas must have been crazy in the gales yesterday

  8. I'm with you in the love of the sea, even though I live very far away from one. There is just something very primal about it and the breezes and light... Someday perhaps.

  9. Ahh lovely sweet Ted, I firmly believe that just as some humans are sent to be with us so are animals. Never wanting to be a 'tied to a dog' family something quite magical happened to us when Rocky arrived. I was musing with friends the other day that none of us go out or have people over for New Years Eve now - not because of young children but our doggies we need to care for. All the best for 2016 xx

  10. What a lovely post. I feel very much the same about the sea, it is something I need in my life from time to time. Whenever I'm at the coast I feel as if it's doing me good, mentally. Some sort of magic healing power. Teddy is a good dog indeed, and what a lovely story about how he came to you. A good dog and the sea, everyone should have that. I'm wishing you and yours a very happy 2016. CJ xx

  11. The way you describe your relationship with the sea is how I see it too! I live so close and I love to go there for all the reasons you mentioned! Scotland has the same pull for me too!

    I must go down to the sea again, to the lonely sea and the sky...

    This is the opening line of Sea Fever by John Masefield - I think you would love the rest!

    Dear Ted what a gorgeous boy... Rescue dogs are so loving and thankful! We have two!
    Felt quite teary reading your words!
    Start of a New Year - may it be healthy and happy!
    Happy blogging! Xx

  12. A beautifully written post CT. Happy New Year to you and your family and pets.

  13. Oh my, I'm writing this with tears in my eyes...I feel exactly the same about my Alphamale. He has stood by my side for nine years and protected and comforted me against everything that has scared me in the last decade. It feels as if he is in my life to stay with me until I have found my footing in life; I'm just scared that will never happen and that one day I'll be completely lost and devastated without him...! My precious precious best friend!!!
    All the best to your family and furbabies!

  14. Wishing you all a Happy New Year :)

  15. Yes, there is nothing quite like the faithfulness, love, steadiness and understanding of a good and faithful dog, is there. And all given freely for a good bowl of food and a couple of good walks a day. One of the best things in life. Happy 2016 to you all.

  16. I too find solace in the sea. A wonderful tribute to Teddy, we felt the same about Daisy. Tavi is like Poppy more inquisitive and always on the go, maybe some of the virtues of Westies improves with age! Sarah x

  17. Hey CT,
    We are all for wet whiskery kisses here too! I often wonder what kind of state I'd be in if I didn't have Honey by my side. She was a spur of the moment decision, made without Marc's knowledge. He was so mad when he came home from work to find this teeny tiny puppy having accidents all over the place. He referred to her as 'that dog' for the first six months. But she has enriched our lives in so many ways. Now when he gets home on a Friday evening, Honey is the first to get kisses and cuddles. Which is just as it should be.
    What happened to the book?
    Leanne x

  18. What a lovely post. I wish I had a little dog..... But I have the sea right by me all the time here in Hastings...but it would be better with a dog to share it with. Happy New Year!

  19. Looks like we all feel the same tug of the sea.
    I am drawn by its restlessness and the sound of the waves that never ends and stops bad thoughts from entering your head.
    Lovely post - and have a great 2016 :)


Thank you for leaving a comment. I always enjoy reading them and will try my best to reply to every one. CT x