Sunday, 3 April 2011

Up on the clifftop

I tentatively eased myself into Fiona for a very first post-op drive only last weekend. Yesterday I tried a drive down to Seaford, a town on the coast in the Eastbourne direction - not far short of thirty miles for the round trip. It went better than I thought it would, and I ended up risking a cliff walk in a high wind.

Two things must be making driving easier: first, my swellings really must be getting less; and second, the switch to panty liners means that I'm not sitting on a big fat towel - which when driving feels something like a very blunt knife - and that is a difference to be savoured! Wearing only panty liners also makes walking much more comfortable, and almost natural - of which more anon - and it means there is nothing much to bulk out one's knickers and spoil the smooth line of one's body-hugging leggings. Incidentally I'm now a confirmed leggings fan. I will be wearing lightweight blue or white cropped jeans when its gets warmer, but I can't see myself going back to ordinary jeans except in exceptional circumstances, because they are a pain. And besides they have too many associations with blokey days of yore. I even think that they suggest 'man' from a distance, and that's something you want to avoid if your figure and your face are less than nymph-like.

Anyway, it was almost pleasant to drive along. And I wasn't cheating with a rubber donut or comfy cushion to sit on either. It was just me and the leather seat, albeit finely adjusted:


And by the time I reached Seaford, and had pulled up on the seafront to watch the waves, I was still moderately happy to be sitting:


Sundry bods passed, mostly dressed in winter togs, many of them with cameras out, heading in the direction of the breakwater at Splash Point a couple of hundred yards away at the foot of the cliff. The sea surged in and out in a soothing way, but contained only one yacht, and it wasn't interesting unless you liked staring at blank horizons. The passing bods gave me a glance, but then that could mean anything, such as what was a scruffy girl like me doing in a classy car like that - or indeed why was a girl like me dressed so scantily, when it was absolutely freezing in the cold breeze? But such was the effectiveness of Fiona's seals and insulation (all that sound-deadening and airbags everywhere, I suppose) that I knew not the polar conditions without.

My curiosity aroused, and wanting to stretch my legs anyway, I got coat and handbag together and opened the door. Then the blast hit me. Aaaargh. Undaunted, I donned the coat and let myself be blown along the esplanade towards Splash Point, pausing to shoot some fishing boats on the way. My flaxen hair went everywhere: I was a straw-headed scarecrow in an instant.

Reaching the Point, I saw what the fuss was about: the kitiwakes - a type of small gull - were nesting. The chalk cliff here is one of their favourite spots, and a thousand pairs must have been darting to and fro.

Hmmm. I'd actually walked this far without chafing or some other problem! I looked up at the cliff. It was one of those that increase in height gradually, so that although very high, you could walk up an easy slope parallel to the edge, and get to the top that way. I reckoned I could manage to get halfway up, where the slope levelled off for a space, and where you could sidle next to the edge and see the view. So up I went. The wind got more fierce, but the view just got better and better. I wasn't primarily interested in the kitiwakes, but in the effects of light on the sea and the cliff face. But two girls had daringly climbed past a fence and were snapping away at them:


I walked on, and got some decent shots, such as these:



The wind was tricky - I didn't want to end a brilliant new career as a  leading lady by being blown over the edge - but I survived. Actually the light wasn't that great, and the photos not that wonderful, but I didn't care: I'd got up there without rupturing all my sutures. But I couldn't achieve the sophisticated look I'd hoped for:


I'll be extending my range bit by bit over the coming weeks. I need to be able to get up to central London by 26 April, for my first post-op consultation with Dr Richard Curtis. That'll be an endurance test, and no mistake. I won't be lingering there. I'll be lucky to get home without feeling completely exhausted.

1 comment:

  1. What a wonderful post. We in the still frozen (thawing slowwwwly) parts of Canada can appreciate the advantages of witnessing nature from the safety of the cockpit; warm and dry and un-disheveled, but the raw power you managed to capture in the photos was just what was needed to lure you out into the elements.

    Good luck on the longer drives leading up to London. Hopefully more fabulous reminders of British scenic splendour will be coming our way as a result. :)

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