Author Archives: Hilary Moon, writer

About Hilary Moon, writer

Unpublished writer, weekend sailor, pilates enthusiast, proud mother of two beautiful daughters, weight struggler, red wine drinker.

Elevator Pitch

Just had a go at writing an elevator pitch for my novel Walk This Way. Not sure if it works so any feedback will be gratefully received.
‘Walk This Way’ – Elevator Pitch:
Can Maisie learn to overcome her innate selfishness and put the needs of others before her own? Can her younger lover and one-time assailant, Joe, diagnosed as bi-polar, fight his own demons? Joe can be charismatic; can be impulsive and is prone to addiction to drugs and alcohol.
It is 1979; homeless and desperate, Joe randomly mugs Maisie and holds her captive on a building site. Maisie, a psychologist, bubbly, popular and deeply self-centered, is haunted by this experience and, in struggling to understand Joe, becomes obsessed with him. They are drawn into an affair and live as a couple on an old houseboat until differences in age and lifestyle drive them apart. Maisie marries old friend Will but five years later she and Joe meet by chance and rekindle their affair. Following a major psychotic episode, Joe is sectioned and Maisie, pregnant with his child, must make some heart-breaking decisions.

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Summer of ‘66

Summer of ’66 – a journey of experiences

It was bad forgetting a torch. As we stepped off the ferry from Dover, it was already dusk. There was some confusion about the best way out of Ostend and maps were consulted or rather our one and only map. I peered half-heartedly as I’ve never been good with maps and, in any case, we didn’t know where we were going. South to the sun and a free and easy lifestyle was the general idea. When you’re hitching you can’t plan in more detail.
We got a lift that first night to a small, Belgian town called Leuven. Again there was discussion and indecision about where we should sleep. We were 18 and had £50 to last forever. We hadn’t bought a tent, having decided that it was too heavy to carry. As I said, it was bad forgetting a torch. We ended up sleeping under a lorry. I took some convincing that the driver wasn’t suddenly going to materialise and drive over our slumbering bodies. Opposite our lorry was row of small terraced houses. In the middle of the night there was suddenly a commotion. Cars pulled up; people came out of their houses. Unseen, we watched as a small coffin was unloaded, from a large black car, and carried into one of the houses. We later learned that a coach carrying local school children had crashed on its way to Austria. We had witnessed the return of their dead child.
Next morning, we were soon across the German border and found ourselves in Frankfurt. World Cup fever was beginning to get a grip and I snaffled three World Cup Willie beer mats from a bar by way of souvenir. Bed that night was under a bridge near the autobahn and it was cold. Day 3 found us in Munich where we stayed at a youth hostel teeming with every nationality. It was semi-organised chaos and alive with music and laughter.
it was a different story entirely the next night. The Youth Hostel in Salzburg was run on military lines by a large and sweating fraulein, definitely SS in a former life. Still, I suppose Salzburg was quite romantic. That is until we came to leave. We walked to some leafy suburb and began the ritualistic thumb waving. We’d had very little trouble so far, getting lifts quickly Some drivers were chatty and interested, giving me a chance to practise my German; others were silent. However, it was six hours later when we were finally rescued. Did we not know our bemused driver enquired that it was the World Cup final this afternoon? Yes,you know, the day England beat West Germany, Geoff Hurst hat trick and all that. Well, we didn’t.
Scenery wise, our journey became more interesting from that point as the car had to go on a train through a tunnel under the Alps. It was July but there was snow on the mountains at Badgastein and I was becoming pessimistic about our chances of a lift. It was, after all, a tad rural. But, joy of joys, a Yugoslav businessman picked us up. He was going to Riyeka, he told us and took us right down to the Adriatic coast; he even bought us lunch on the way.
Riyeka was beautiful, all faded Italianate glamour. It also felt a bit more foreign and thus scary so we treated ourselves to a night in a small hotel. Then onwards down coast to Split and on to Dubrovnik. Such a beautiful place then before the destruction took place. A local guy let us sleep on his boat in the harbour for a few nights.
Due to the proximity of Albania, we caught a ferry from Dubrovnik to Corfu and for the first time we felt as if we had arrived somewhere. Luckily, Corfu had a youth hostel. It was a breathtaking old manor house in a hamlet and run by the most laid-back Greek. At night, we joined locals in the one little bar to dance and drink ouzo and kumquat. By day, the proprietor would take whoever wanted to go in his minibus to the nearest beach. In the burning sun, we would scramble down from the road and through olive groves, with the heady scent of wild thyme, to join a shifting population of youngsters  sleeping on the beach.
A pattern developed to our days. As soon as it became too hot to remain in our sleeping bags, we would leap into the sea. We swam and talked and lay in the sun. There was one taverna catering mostly for Germans from the small campsite behind the beach. When the day was at its hottest, we sat on the shady terrace, making a salad and bread last the afternoon heat. More often than not, we would finish the leftovers from the Germans’ tables. Observing this, one memorable man ordered chips all round – bless him! After four or five days, the desire for cool sheets and a shower at the youth hostel would draw us back. That was life for five weeks one summer long ago.
From Corfu we hitched to Athens. I left England with one jumper; one sleeveless linen dress – from Selfridges in London, as it happens,; one t-shirt, sandals and a pair of jeans. The zip went on those quite quickly – in Germany, I think. A Greek nicked my jumper from the beach in Igoumenitsa and the scandals broke in Athens. The temperature was agonising, I was forced to leap from shadow to shadow barefooted. At night, the heat on the 4th floor of the Athenian youth hostel was stifling. It did have its compensations though as it overlooked an open-air cinema.
From Athens, we caught the ferry from Pireaus to Brindisi. That was a funny old journey. Loads of youngsters were sleeping on deck and in the middle of the night some bloke who was cycling round Europe jumped over my companion and inadvertently landed in the middle of my stomach.
Italy was a whole different ball game to Greece, or anywhere else we’d been for that matter. Straight away, people were warning us not to sleep rough – telling us of banditos or pistoleri – so we didn’t. Two Italian businessmen picked us up one day in southern Italy. They treated us to a memorable lunch in a restaurant in the middle of nowhere. Sadly, it quickly became necessary to extricate ourselves from the car.
Then Rome. Met a guy in a bar who said we could stay at his flat. In the middle of the night another guy appears in the room with a flick knife – turns out it was his room – we left Rome next day.
I remember some flashy cars. Then ending up in hospital in northern Italy in Lecco not far from Milan. Was it appendicitis? Was it an infection? Nobody knew and nobody spoke English. They drew pictures in Biro on the sheets to explain the operation they intended to perform and took away my passport. Hysteria quickly followed and an English-speaking doctor’s wife was sent for. Three scary days later, I retrieved my passport and we left.
Having left the sun and with very little money remaining we were anxious to be home. Our second longest wait, five hours, was at the Swiss border. This was followed by some scary driving in the mountains. Sleeping in a hut full of hay was an itchy experience. But soon it was back to Germany and boring Belgium to get on the Dover ferry. It was October now. I was tanned, blonde, eight stone something, barefoot and wearing an extremely grubby pale blue Selfridges dress. Those were the days!

‘The Communists’

The Communists is a contemporary novel set in a commune of over sixties who have all met through internet dating. It is Dorset’s take on ‘The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’ but with more sex.
They each have loneliness in common and come to live together at Combe House, a nine-bedroom, Victorian rectory in the small village of Steeplecombe. Theirs is the world of online dating, late night texts and saucy emails.
The book explores the shifting relationships between current and ex-lovers and ultimately the triumph of hope over adversity as old age approaches.
Central to the foundation and survival of the commune are friends with benefits, Mel, a retired university lecturer and James, an enigmatic and highly promiscuous former logistics manager and would-be blues singer. He lights on the idea of a commune set-up and persuades Mel to join him in this new venture. She readily agrees as this is a step on the road to achieving her goal of being in a monogamous relationship with him.
They are soon joined by Jessica, a friend and ex-lover of James; Ken ex-army, borderline alcoholic and borderline bigot and by Richard, a highly amenable and multi-skilled photographer. Both men are Mel’s long-term friends and one-time lovers.
The gang of five happily settle into their various roles but, to make their community viable, they need to attract more likeminded people. Hence the arrival of Petra, a serious academic and plain-speaking friend of Mel’s, who terrifies most of the men. Frictions arise between her and Ken upsetting the status quo. When the flighty and exotic Susie becomes part of the household this proves pivotal to Mel’s relationship with James. As his harem increases so does the jealousy she tries to keep hidden. Then Alice, another of ex of James, arrives and Mel, who can be intolerant of others’ shortcomings, finds herself increasingly irritated by Alice’s simpering dependency on the men. The final communist recruit is Terry, a dogmatic high flier whose overbearing nature causes tension in the group.
As new housemates join, the group dynamic shifts amongst an array of personalities. There are conflicting attitudes towards promiscuity and drugs but, fuelled by the notion of growing old disgracefully, they thrive on the companionship, clandestine sex sessions and sheer fun they have together. They invent their own entertainment with ‘Would I lie to you’ type evenings, cocktail making competitions and enjoy celebrating birthdays and Christmases together. Tasked with running the tiny village hall in the grounds of Combe House, they must work as a team to organise such delights as quizzes, music nights and a teddy bears picnic for neighbours in the village.
For Mel, the commune is a bitter sweet experience. She loves living with James but struggles to contain her resentment of some of the women and finds living so closely with others exacerbates her lack of tolerance and innate bossiness. She chooses to ignore James’ jealousy of her growing closeness with Richard yet is mortified when he finds out that she has had sex with him on the pretext of supporting him through a difficult time. Then a knee injury leaves her feeling old and undesirable. She becomes aware of her own mortality and feels time is running out for her and James. Troubled as the other communists begin to leave, Mel frets about her own future and copies James by throwing herself back into internet dating again.

Mel and James are the last two to move out of Combe House. James returns to his old flat leaving Mel feeling like a lost soul. Friends and even James’ daughter are telling her that she and James should be together but she is no closer to understanding why they are not.
Will their promise to be friends forever and the delights of their shared entwining win the day and enable Mel to leave an uncertain future behind?

Growing up in the boarding house

Any aging former Portsmouth Grammar School boys may remember the school’s boarding house fondly nicknamed ‘The Shack’. Dad, who was classics master at the school, took over the running of the boarding house in 1951 when I was 18 months old.
‘The Shack’ was a large and somewhat dilapidated villa on the seafront in Southsea and during term-time it was home to 50 boys from the age of 11-18. In those days many naval officers wanted to keep their sons at the school while they were posted abroad.
Dad, in overall charge as well as still teaching at the school, was assisted by two bachelor masters. Mum ran the domestic side of things helped by matron and cook. Matron looked after me in the mornings when sometimes a treat would be to go into the big kitchen and make jam tarts. After lunch mum would take over and we would listen to listen with mother followed by an outing to meet up with other mums and toddlers at the Ladies Mile.
In term time it was largely an institutionalised life. The boys or boarders all had a cooked lunch at school so after school they had high tea which consisted of beans or spaghetti on toast or macaroni cheese and large urns of tea with thick slices of white bread and marg. The dining room was in the basement where I sat in my high chair. The only treats were when one of the boys had his birthday when mum would bake a sponge cake and we would have jelly and blancmange. I still shudder at the thought of the blancmange skin in my mouth. The boys all had tuck boxes at the start of each term with a stash of chocolate. I never saw any of that but sometimes on their birthday their mum would send treats to be shared.
I lived at The Shack with my two older sisters until I was five so my memories are scanty. There was a posh-for-Pompey restaurant opposite complete with doorman in a red with gold braid uniform. More than once the boys got in trouble for throwing bread rolls at the poor chap. Getting in trouble in those days meant the cane from dad – funny that as he was the kindest, mildest of men. Fire drills were a major highlight as evacuation involved climbing out of a top window onto the fire escape – elf and safety nowhere to be seen. One firework night a few of the older boys decided to make their own fireworks – clearly no one died but that’s as far as my memory goes.
When I was five the school decided the big old house was no longer viable so we moved with one of the masters to a smaller place with just twenty boarders. I remember the boys’ rec room with a record player and a library of Jennings, Arthur Ransom and Billy Bunter. I often joined them in the prep room and swapped stamps from my growing collection. I also acquired a number of older girls as friends who took to doing handstands on the lawn outside the prep room. Girls just didn’t wear trousers in the 1950s. One boarder – now famous started his first group in the garage with a double bass made out of a tea-chest, a washboard and thimbles and bog paper and comb. He went on to become a fine singer and harmonica player

 

Facebook Rant

And the purpose of Facebook is ….. to brag, big yourself up, make arrogant assumptions that everyone is of your own political persuasion, bombard with hundreds of photos, and/or divulge personal stuff that just shouldn’t be in the public domain.
Yes, I do use Facebook. It’s good to catch up with what friends are up to – the holidays they’ve enjoyed (sometimes far too many to be civilised), additional grandchildren and sadly deaths. Here Facebook has replaced the traditional death announcement in the local paper. I was sad to learn recently that an old colleague’s elderly father had recently died – thank heaven for the new sad face button as there was no way one could really click like. I’ve also heard that it’s quite hard to have a Facebook page removed should a loved one sadly die – that feels uncomfortable.
With Facebook’s new buttons as well as like and sad one can also express love, anger, amusement and amazement – all useful in their own way. However, when it comes to those shared political posts, sometimes I want to say that I disagree with the content of the post itself. If I click like it looks as though I agree with the friend posting, if I click angry or sad it implies I’m sad about the political statement which often I actually agree with at some level – it’s complicated. I could of course bypass the buttons and straightforwardly make a comment but politics is a funny old thing. I’m ok having a face to face discussion amongst friends with differing viewpoints but heavens I might get trolled if I put my political views online for all to see. So even though I may not actually be brave enough to comment or even to physically press a symbol, I do like to be in a position to do so mentally.
I do wonder if people who brag on Facebook do so because their lives are actually not that exciting or if they just don’t realise it comes across as boasting.
I’ve been to parties where a few hours later there are the photos of everyone having such a good time (I’m not usually in those) and comments such as ‘best night ever’ etc. Um! well I did enjoy the party but it wasn’t that good.
Talking of photos as I say I like reading about where friends have been on holiday etc. and seeing a few selected photos but my heart sinks when I see 201 new photos – 201!! Why not share those with just close family or use a photo sharing app and pick out a few favourites for the rest of us.
The same goes for shared funnies and videos – I love to chuckle over some of those but go easy guys – not five in a row.
For research purposes you understand, I noted post on my Facebook newsfeed for the last 24 hours. You will learn from this that I don’t have many
Facebook friends. Due to rejection issues I have only ever responded when people have asked to be my friend (how playground it all sounds in writing). I have boldly ignored some friend requests from people I wasn’t interested in years ago – they are just being nosey but I know all about that.
• Somebody shared a memory from 3 years ago – I don’t care I wasn’t part of it so why not just share it with those who were involved.
• There were happy birthday messages for a close friend, how her husband is planning to celebrate and lamenting her swollen knee – all acceptable.
• An ‘I love my job, awesome session’ brag post
• A shared fitness video
• Local music and gig guide posts x2
• Photos of coypu swimming in a French canal – mercifully only 4 (photos not coypu that is)
• A friend’s Top 11 photos of the year with 108 likes – brag post
• A ‘Do You Remember in Portsmouth’ post
• Information sharing for clients of a personal trainer friend – why not share with group – the rest of us don’t need to know the time of their session.
• An RNLI charity appeal
• A friend having an angry rant about his car breaking down
• Photos of swans feeding from the hand of someone’s mother in Majorca
• A video entitled ‘A stork love story’ – haven’t looked at that yet
• An unexplained photo of people at an unnamed football match
• A photo of a flower called ‘hanging naked men’ – mildly amusing
• A photo of an unnamed street at night – and your point is?
• And last but not least Rob and Chris’ holiday – 3 photos!!

Some people seem compelled to share how wonderful they, their spouse or their offspring are. I don’t really want to know how spoiled you feel when your adoring hubby presents you with an extravagant bouquet for Valentine’s Day or what your children did for Mother’s Day. Let’s face it most of us probably get a card and a bunch of flowers and for those who don’t it does rub it in a bit. Then there’s the photos of new and old grandchildren. I’m fine for your friends to say how adorable they are but it doesn’t sit well if you say so.
What about the stuff in life that goes wrong? This is often far more interesting. My own warped mind is much more inclined to post when things go pear-shaped or those gritted teeth moments usually involving cyclists in my case.
I could tell my Facebook friends about our 12-hour journey back from France to Gosport recently. My husband is not a patient traveller and it was truly like travelling with a 6 yr. old including toilet issues, but as he is not on Facebook this would seem unfair and a tad disloyal. Likewise, I don’t share the amusing happenings such as when he first got his hearing aids or when he forgets to put his front teeth in – yes I realise that I am sharing them here – oh the irony!
I think personal things should only be shared with the explicit consent of others involved.
So I’ll still trawl Facebook in my stalker-like and Schadenfreude way but am increasingly reluctant to actually post anything for fear of being thought boastful, arrogant or worse inappropriate and disloyal.

 

Tobacco, mints and perfect pitch – that’s my dad.

Stanley Frederick, now there’s a good old Edwardian name. An only child who spent a lot of time with his grandfather, he could play chess and read ‘The Times’ at the age of five. These early experiences obviously ‘maketh the man’ for he gained a place at Lincoln College, Oxford where he read Latin, Greek and philosophy or Greats as it’s apparently known
He was sporty too – although enthusiastic rather than talented and, forever the eccentric, he kept shedding big toe nails whilst playing rugger and took to tying them on with string.
His huge calves came from long distance cycling and, having met and fallen in love with mum, he cycled most weekends from Oxford back to Portsmouth to see her.
He became classics master at his old school, Portsmouth Grammar where he earned the nickname of Elfie on account of his large ears. Over the years, inevitably, Elfie became corrupted to Alfie and he used to get letters from parents addressed to Mr A. MacGregor. But to colleagues and family he was simply known as Mac.
Daughters came along and with them Dad’s opportunity to be eccentric. When my sister’s goldfish was ailing, he broke half an aspirin into the water, whereupon it swam round like a maniac for a few minutes before passing to the great goldfish bowl in the sky. He sat up all night when my other sister brought day old chicks home from the market, trying to keep them alive in the airing cupboard. Sadly, they didn’t survive either.
As a father, he gave us huge amounts of freedom and we were certain of his unconditional love. But if he asked you to do something he expected that it would be done. If you took your shoes off without undoing the laces he simply cut them off. If you neglected to turn lights out he simply removed the bulbs.
He was known to cut the small lawn in the back garden with a razor blade or nail scissors as the mood took him. As a child,I had pigtails and once when mum was away he couldn’t plait my hair so took me to the hairdressers and paid the girl 6d to do it for him.
It was great fun having him as a dad. He taught us to make owl hoots with our hands and say the alphabet backwards – this has actually proved to be quite a useful tool in later life and not a bad party trick.
He set us fun challenges such as promising to pay us £5 if we could still spread our toes when we were 21. That was a lot of money back then.
Of course, he often drove mum mad. She was a small woman and I remember the sight of her drumming her fists into his chest in frustration for he could be infuriating. He had huge hands with clumsy, sausage fingers – if he tried to mend something he inevitably broke it and was constantly dropping things but would catch them again before they hit the ground and declare cheerfully – ‘It’s alright I’m not hurt.’ One memorable Christmas, he managed to push a tray laden with the best crockery and glasses straight through the hatch. Amidst the shattering sounds from the stone-flagged kitchen floor we could hear ‘It’s alright I’m not hurt.’
Another Christmas, he brought home a huge 18lb turkey which inevitably wouldn’t fit into the oven. Whereupon he attempted to suspend said bird from strings inside the oven. Failure and repercussions were to follow.
Despite the clumsiness and sausage fingers, Dad was a talented pianist with what I think is known as perfect pitch. If you played a record or sang a tune he’d not heard before he could instantly play it on the piano.
When I came along, in the later 1940s, things were difficult financially so dad, along with two other masters, took on managing the school’s boarding house. In an old crumbling villa on Southsea seafront, where Fastnet House now stands, Dad was in charge of fifty boarders and later in a smaller establishment with twenty boys. One of these masters had a tragic cricketing accident and went totally blind. Dad helped Ted to manage his teaching job by reading to him every week, whether it be the newspapers or the boys history essays, and patiently helped him to master Braille.
Dad was a deeply kind and self-effacing man. Yet, he was also incredibly self-conscious and exasperated mum when he found it necessary to talk in a loud voice in public, addressing remarks to nearby strangers.
He sometimes made deliberately provocative decisions. When, at the age of fifty, mum decided to learn to drive and bought a car, Dad’s answer was to buy a scooter. It was lilac in colour and called a ‘Triumph Tina’. I’ll leave it to your imagination mum’s reaction to this development. There were no crash helmets in those days so dad bought a trilby hat which he wore when riding it. He was a well-built man with a large head and he looked nothing short of ridiculous on his new machine – a bit like Biffo the bear riding around a circus ring.
He did eventually learn to drive himself and passed his test after three attempts. But it wasn’t a happy experience to be in the car with him. Although he had a good understanding of road sense from all his cycling, he struggled with the mechanics of driving and if something went wrong his response would be to simply turn off the engine whilst underway.
He was also a man of ritual. He smoked a pipe all his adult life favouring Three Nuns Empire – what’s that name all about I wonder? I swear there’s more ritual in pipe-smoking than having a fix – all that tamping down of the pungent smelling tobacco, placing the box of Swan Vestas across the bowl and sucking deeply. His tweed jackets always smelt of tobacco and extra strong mints and the pockets were never without a clean handkerchief.
When his beloved Kay died, dad coped by immersing himself in his favourite dusty, Greek tomes. In her honour, he kept the house going just as she had – always a tin of rock cakes ready for visitors and he could produce a mean Sunday roast.
He still cycled, of course, and would appear at my house, red faced and eyes watering but always with a lovely bunch of flowers or some fruit in his saddlebag.
He never judged when we made mistakes and taught me ‘don’t let the bigots get to you’ – which has been a valuable lifelong lesson.
I’m well-proud to say that he was my dad.

SUZANNE

Her hand closes over his. She laughs – it’s a deep and throaty laugh. Her hand closes over his – it’s a strong hand, a brown hand; ornate silver rings glint on every finger.
He allows himself to be led along the mossy brick path. The morning’s rain drips from the shiny beech trees which loom resentfully around the small cottage. She pushes at the door. Swollen with damp, it resists her for an instant. He gazes into her clouds of hair. It is so blond that he wonders if it is white – white, candyfloss hair. Child-like, she has attempted to restrain the frothy strands with strips of tatty, coloured cotton, twisted randomly.
He knows what will happen, what always happens. He should be at college this afternoon, facing the turgid delights of ‘A’ level geography. He knows he will spend the night beside her. His throat tightens in remembrance of their nights of exploration, each knowing the other so completely within their separateness.
They step into the room. Familiar smells greet him – incense and oranges – glossy, swelling oranges piled into her much loved blue and white bowl. They were ever-present those oranges – unchanging. Did she not eat them? Did they never rot?
She gathers the sleek black cat in her arms, plucked reluctantly from the lumpy armchair, and turns to face him. The low autumn sun, a honey gold, slides between the soggy towering beech trees and thrusts dustily into the room. It shines on her smiling face. He blinks, slowly and deliberately. He is reluctant to turn away from her gaze; reluctant to face the truth of that sun so cruelly illuminating the lines on her face.

‘Tea?’ she asks and, stepping towards him, the brown hand strokes his face.
They sip the scalding pale liquid, each savouring the delay. Damp fungal air sweeps through the open sash windows. Beyond the low garden wall, lush grass slopes towards the river – glistening where the sun strikes, yet blackly mysterious in shadow. She lifts her head in recognition as a fishing boat pushes upstream towards Totness – chunk, chunk, chunk, chunk.
He looks into her eyes, those crazy-lady eyes, beech leaf brown in their wisdom. She has unlocked for him the beauty of the river – the joy of discovery of the blackest beetle wandering amongst the leaves or the dusty, gossamer wings of an insect in momentary stillness. She sees things in him too that others, his ever-distant parents or those inaccessible, unfathomable girls of his own age, all fail to notice.
He lies beside her in the dark quiet and she makes his heart soar. Not with love, not for her, but for the validity she offers him. She has held up her mirror, enabling him to glimpse who he is and who he might become.
His hands travel over the contours of her hip; his fingers trace her small breasts. Brown eyes on his, smiling, childlike, they draw close. Body to body, their minds melt together until the daybreak. Yet each day break he spends with her is harder. He is pulling away from her. He fights it; his body and his mind want to stay with her in this place by the river but his rational eighteen-year old brain intrudes with the coming of the light. She is a traveller lady at rest; their paths have crossed. He longs to travel with her, to share her longings, share her every moment but he must make his own journey.
The faded, floral curtains move gently in the early breeze. From the bedroom window, he watches the empty tripper boats making their way from the overnight moorings back to the quay at Dartmouth; the dark waters of the Dart are churned in expectation of the new day. He loves this river, her river, her chosen place. As a youngster, he’d never given it much thought. It was just a place to swim in summer and mess about in a dinghy with his mates. He knows now its magic and its menace. He sees how it echoes his mood – placid at slack water on a July day as he lies in her arms or tide -running, in full flood, turbulent in its insistence to move on.
Eyes fix on his, their fingers entwine.
‘Time to go,’ she smiles.
He moves towards her; his eyes cloud into a frown. She smiles and nods.
‘Trust me; it’s time for you to go.’