It is a water-mist day. Colours are saturated, seafront hills wet and vanishing into the sky. The tide is high and loud. Anglers by the pier dash between rods, casting lines into broth waves heaving and crashing at the walls then scouring back the roaring space-dust shingle.

ConstitutionI don’t want to watch the Hobbit, so I meet Chloe. She takes me on her walk to Constitution Hill across muddy fields and furtive wires into woods which feel as if they should be full of boys with dens and stones and lighters, but there are no tree swings. There is moss and early garlic, ivy ropes and a glory bank of snowdrops.

At the bay we separate – she returns through the darkly woods and I along the coast path enjoying the water-mist cheek salt kiss. Sunday light is fading so the red hill bleeds water-colour into the purple slate and a pair of eiders I think, fly swiftly overhead before turning expressly inland. All the way back, small flocks of starlings rush past me, I can hear their wing beats even over the waves and the wind, heading for the pier.

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