The last couple of months have been quite interesting. After a few weeks of taking it easy it became clear that my eye was deteriorating again – the operation I wrote about in my previous post hadn’t worked. The operation was promptly repeated, this time with success. I can now see with my right eye. It’s not uncommon, apparently, for two operations to be needed and, as before, the care I received was fantastic.
It has been an interesting time. For weeks I’ve not wanted to read for pleasure or use my eyes for anything apart from day to day necessity. I’ve had to fall back on my ears. I have listened to a lot of music I’ve wanted to listen to for a long time, only I was too busy reading and watching. The big discovery was Debussy. Being a musician, I knew some of his pieces but I had never listened to so many before. I should have done. For a start, I didn’t know his Suite Bergamasque for piano. It includes his “big hit”, Claire de Lune. However, the movement I kept going back to was the Minuet (it starts at 6:06):
One night we went to a hotel. Fed up with doing not a lot at home I thought it would be good to go and do not a lot somewhere else. I needed a change of scene. We booked one night at a hotel by the sea in Saltburn. The drive there was a bit of an ordeal. My sight has been good enough for me to be able to drive safely but the journey was a bit too far for comfort. Once there, though, it was great: if one good thing has come out of all this it is that I have learned more about the pleasure of doing nothing.
Not that I did nothing all of the time. We had a great meal in the dining room which overlooked the sea. It didn’t matter that it was dark – you knew it was there and that was enough.Before turning in I got the urge to walk down to the beach. K didn’t fancy it, so I went alone. Saltburn is famous for its pier. Walking along the front I felt the urge to go onto it and walk to the end of it. It was a clear, moonlit night and the view from the end of the pier was bound to be sensational, I thought. My only concern was that a walk on the pier at night sounded such fun that it would be someone’s job, surely, to come out soon after sunset and lock the gate.
My mild paranoia proved unfounded. The gate was open and I was free to walk the full length. Others were there, too – not enough to make their presence felt, though. Now and again I became dimly aware of a voice, a laugh or of wraith-like figures glimpsed in the darkness.
At the end of the pier I stood for a few minutes, taking it all in. The moon was high overhead. Ships lay at anchor, close to the horizon, their lights blazing. Below, I could just make out grey, silent pulses moving across the surface of the sea. The closer each pulse got to the beach the more it looked and sounded like a breaking wave.
Such magical moments come to an end. You think they don’t need to, that by simply staying put you can experience the moment for as long as you like. But it doesn’t work like that. The magic is beyond your control. Before you know it, it’s time to go.