A Sense of Place: Gyllyngvase

I’ve already mentioned in a previous post that I spent some time in Cornwall in January. During my visit I stayed with a friend in Falmouth and everyday that I was there I went down to the beach – Gylly Beach. It was quite literally a matter of going down because my friend lives on a hill above the beach. Everyday, without fail, that first glimpse of salt-water filled me with joy and that word would be going over in my head again – home. On one particularly still, sunny morning as I walked down the road to the beach, I could see the sillhouette figures of surfers stood on their boards, not moving on the gentle waves. I could also see a swimmer, her head bobbing on the water. The sea hides nothing.

Everyday that I was there it was sunny and the sea would always look flat and silver as I came down the hill: the sea, which is really a pane of glass; and the beach, a sun-blessed room, each grain of sand a dust mote.

The beach itself is a short stretch of sand with rock pools at one end. It is overlooked by holiday apartments and hotels and there is a cafe on the beach. The horizon is dominated by the improbable bulk of container ships. Improbable because it is hard to think that anything so large can stay afloat. It’s certainly not Cornwall’s most attractive or secluded spot, but for me it was enough just to be by the sea on a daily basis. It was enough to watch the seaweed being digested by the waves and the birds that would flit away everytime the sea rolled over the spot they were stood on. To watch fathers and sons looking in the rock pools for starfish and to feel my shoes fill up with sand. To listen to the sea rolling and roaring away like a drum full of stones.

I would always sit for a while with my back to the seawall, just watching the people around me, listening to the snippets of conversation as they passed by, and thinking away to myself. The sea and I are like friends who do not know how to make the most of their time together and so sit in mutual silence.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.