JonnyB’s Holiday Snaps – #1 in a series of 3.
As somebody who regards themselves as a profound and thoughtful person, I’d always wanted to visit Lindisfarne. Recently I had found myself questioning a number of my core beliefs, having concluded that Keane were one of the best live acts in the big concert on the radio, and so a bit of spiritual stuff seemed to be in order.
Holy Island, on which the ancient priory is set, lies a mile or so out into the North Sea. The road to the island and the town thereon is accessible twice a day at low tide. Then the sea sweeps in and it’s cut off for five hours or so, the highway – road markings and all – eerily engulfed into the swirling grey water.
I wanted to see the island. But I also wanted to see the high tide. So we made a detour.
“Doesn’t it come in quickly?” I observed profoundly, as I took a step back to avoid getting my feet wet.
The LTLP didn’t reply. She was looking out onto the road.
“I’m sure there’s something out there.”
“Don’t be silly.”
“No. There is.”
I looked and, sure enough, I could see a shape in the distance that appeared to be moving. A local fisherman or bait collector, wading waist-high through the water using their expert knowledge to ply their traditional craft. We watched.
He or she was moving towards us. I couldn’t see their waders or wetsuit or whatnot, but they appeared to be carrying something above the level of the water. A lobster pot, I thought. Or a bucket of sea-things.
It was only when they got much closer that I realised that it was an extremely bedraggled elderly Dutch tourist wheeling a bicycle.
By this point a small crowd had formed. People were pointing. One lady was taking photographs. The chap trudged towards us miserably. In fact, the word ‘trudge’ could have been invented for the situation. At around eight inches of depth, he attempted to mount his bicycle and travel the remaining ten feet to dry land on two wheels, which he did in a wobbly, uncertain fashion.
He dismounted next to me, shaking his head in confusion. Water was pouring off him. He made some cursory attempt to stamp and shake the water from his shoes, unsure whether to attempt to retain any semblance of dignity. I half expected him to reach back behind his head and pull a whole fish from his anorak hood.
“You’re a bit wet,” I pointed out.
“Yes,” he agreed.
Conversation stalled a bit after that.
“I think,” he said, “that I will go back to my caravan now.”
We’d seen his transport stationed yards away in the car park. He remounted his bicycle and pedalled unsteadily away.