Our office virtually hangs over the sea; well OK there’s the Gun Cliff Walk between us and the crashing waves but we still get covered in sea spray on a stormy day, and we can also observe the many goings-on going on from the comfort of our small and bijoux room that abuts the side of the theatre, and we see some sights I can tell you.

Take this past week for instance, we have had some gloriously bright wintry sunny days but there’s no question, it’s turned pretty chilly, it is after all the end of November and despite me going for a swim in October, there’s not a penguin in the Antarctic’s chance of me going for a dip now. But seems there are some much hardier souls than I and on Tuesday we watched with chilling fascination as a very skinny bare chested elderly man with nothing on other than a pair of light summery blue swimming shorts, strolled into the sea as if it was a summer day and having walked in up to his knees, he simply launched himself into the fizz of the waves.

I can’t be certain but I think he immediately had second thoughts, because as we watched he kind of floundered a bit in the shallow water, a sort of half bob half doggy-paddle thing, then he jumped up and headed back into shore splashing his emerging body with the chilled sea water (pretending it was an exhilarating experience but we weren’t fooled). I just hope he had a foil blanket to wrap around himself.

We also saw a man hanging over the wall (there’s quite a drop on the other side) with his female partner grabbing his lower legs to stop him going over completely, he lay prostrate over the concrete balustrade. Not too sure what he was after but he hung there for just a few minutes before his partner let go and he wriggled back so they could continue their walk.

The waves always put on a performance and we noticed this week there were some unusual patterns. The theatre technician who knows the area well, pointed out that the usual short crests were exceptionally long and continued into shore unbroken. I had also noticed the size or amplitude of the waves as they rose; they seemed to build and build into a high sea wall before collapsing under their own weight. I’m sure there was some sort of oceanic/climatic/astrological link to the whole thing. But we simply enjoyed the spectacle.

There’s also the noise the sea makes. If you have ever stood by the seashore, shut your eyes and just listened, the noise can be hypnotic, it’s the audible version of the old pocket watch trick, remember that…’you are under my power’. But when it’s there all the time it becomes ‘white noise’ and you stop noticing it, except on Wednesday evening when I was alone and it was dark outside so I could no longer see the sea, I suddenly became aware of the sound and realised it is actually quite loud. Perhaps the darkness had the same effect as shutting my eyes, by not seeing it I could hear it.

But by Thursday the wind had whipped up and was blowing everything every which way. As I walked across the road I couldn’t help but notice how much rubbish was being blown around and then I spotted something that looked familiar. Now have you ever stopped to pick up what you thought was a £1 coin or even a 10 pence piece only to discover it’s a metal stud in the pavement or an old button or bit of gum? No? Well I have. Anyway, in amongst the rubbish that was being blown around I thought surely that isn’t and initially I walked past but my backward glance told me it was. So risking life and limb as a car approached, I retraced my steps and stooped to scoop up a £5 note!

Given their springy design that makes it impossible to squash them into your wallet or pocket without boinging straight out and even if you do manage to ram them into place, when you next try to use them they won’t flatten out enough to feed into the Tesco self-service machines.

Say, perhaps that’s why the man was hanging over the wall, maybe his money had bounced out and over the wall. I wonder how many £5 or even £10 are blowing around or maybe bobbing about in the sea. Perhaps that November dip is worth it after all…

The winter swimmer, the crest of the wave and flying money
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