Tag Archives: beach

2340. Lucky photo

I was so glad I had my phone with me. I was walking quietly along the beach and this woman was letting her toddler paddle in the ripples at the shoreline. Suddenly, just as I passed, an orca (also known as a killer whale) appeared from nowhere, grabbed the toddler and went CHOMP!

The mother went into shock and simply stood there saying “My baby! My baby!”

I was so glad I had my phone with me and was able to take a photo. If I hadn’t had such a presence of mind my mates would never have believed me when I told them the story.

I walked further along the beach hoping to catch another attack. There were a few parents taking their toddlers for a paddle but the orca seemed to have been satisfied with just the one. It might be because orcas are known to attack humans only when they are in captivity. All in all it was a bit disappointing really.

Poem 106: Beach walk

Hello everyone. I thought as a final posting for the year I would post a poem! It has nothing to do with the New or Old Year!

The form of the poem is a Sestina. It is a form used in some French poetry, and I find it quite hard to write. Anyway, I thought I would give it a go!

I battle long and empty beach.
I fight against the wind.
White manes of horses crash
to shore in wild spray.
My thoughts are tangled all adrift
and drown in angry waves.

I cannot hear for noise of waves
the calls of birds on beach.
They fight to fly, are cast adrift
as victims of the wind.
Their wings are torn like salted spray
as on the dunes they crash.

I long for calm as waters crash;
I’ll quiet the seething waves.
The sanded, salted, pitting spray
face-stings my walk on beach.
Christ calmed a storm, Christ calmed the wind;
Why set my mind adrift?

A fisher’s boat was tossed adrift
and pummelled in a crash.
Yet none about, no voice in wind,
no drownings in the waves.
Just one abandoned boat on beach
left to sand and spray.

The storm intensifies its spray,
the boat is freed adrift,
the sand blows mad along the beach,
the skies unleash its crash.
Waves no longer follow waves
but roil in the wind.

At last a blue patch in the wind;
less biting of the spray;
a quietening of deafening waves.
My mind unbound adrift.
My thoughts are stilled, though whitecaps crash,
and peace returns to beach.

My thoughts the wind released adrift.
Thoughts spray as ordered breakers crash.
Peace now waves goodbye to storm on empty beach.

To hear the poem read aloud click HERE.

1975. Beach pebbles

There weren’t that many wave-worn pebbles on the beach. The beach was mainly sand. But there were enough pebbles for Otis to walk the beach and fill his not-so-big cotton bag.

The not-so-big cotton bag was also, in fact, not-so-small. Once it had been filled with pebbles (each between one and two inches big) the bag was considerably heavy. He should have started at the far end of the beach and worked his way back towards the carpark. But now he had to lumber the heavy bag all the way along the beach to reach his car.

“Never mind,” he thought. “I’ll make my way back slowly, without overdoing it, punctuated by many rests!”

Some of the pebbles were rather beautiful, especially when wet. The variation in colour was amazing. Some were clearly marble, worn down and polished. Others were simply grey rock, but they were important because they provided a contrast to the lovelier stones. Not everything ordinary is out of place. In fact, without the ordinary pebbles the multi-coloured pebbles would possibly look gaudy.

By now, Otis must have carried the bag for about half of the return walk. He stopped to rest.

The tide was coming in, and the bag carrying was made more difficult because he had to walk higher up on the beach in the dry and loose sand. Walking and carrying was definitely more challenging. But he had all the time in the world!

It was when Otis was only a stone’s throw from the carpark that the not-so-big, not-so-small cotton bag tore asunder. All his collected pebbles fell out into the sand. He had no other container to put them in.

“Blow it!” he thought. “I shall have to collect the pebbles next time, and next time I shall start at the far end of the beach.”

1868. Liberation

Velma Clout was having a bad morning. It wasn’t twenty-four hours since her boyfriend of eighteen months had left her. And what a relief it was. But the morning saw her with a mighty headache and a massive hangover. She had celebrated the boyfriend’s rejection with a wee bottle of wine or two. Honestly, his leaving was what she herself had wanted to do for a good several months but she was too nice. But now it had happened and there was no going back. If only she had celebrated with more restraint and then she could enjoy his absence without feeling like death warmed up.

Her cell phone rang.

It was her boyfriend of eighteen months. Did she want to get back together? He was upset. He had made a mistake. He knew only too well that Velma wouldn’t have the heart to say “No!”

“Yes!” said Velma. “I’ll see you here for lunch.”

Oh why did she do that? Why why why? Why was she so stupid? So silly? So weak? Why why why? Why couldn’t she take a stand?

Suddenly, grabbing a bag of stuff and her purse, Velma got in her car and headed for a day’s outing at the beach. It was for her the first independent thing she had done in ages. She was now the one doing the breaking up; not him. Oh the freedom that went with that! Velma wound down the car window and sang her heart out fortissimo. It was 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover all the way to the seaside.

1864. An unsolved murder

The murder of Octavius Snickenbough was in all the papers. It was in all the papers not because it was a murder (goodness knows, murders are so common these days they could hardly be considered newsworthy) but because of who Octavius Snickenbough was.

Octavius Snickenbough was the local vicar who, despite having being married to a lovely wife for many a year, had singlehandedly fathered three children on the one night, all born in the same local maternity hospital on the same day, and all registered by different mothers with the information on the father recorded as “Octavius Snickenbough, Vicar”.

It had turned Octavius overnight, on the one hand, into a folk hero, and on the other hand, into a fiend. And now, several weeks after the births his body was discovered lying murdered in the sands of the local beach. The beach was in a sheltered bay and most popular over the summer months. The sand was a mass of hundreds of footprints going in all directions, so the murderer’s footprints going to and from the body were indecipherable.

Clearly, Octavius Snickenbough had been chopped to death by a tomahawk. In fact, it was patently obvious because a tomahawk, the kind used to split firewood kindling, was still protruding from the crown of his head.

Naturally, the three mothers of the three new-borns were questioned by the police, as indeed was Octavius’s wife. None could offer any information that caste the slightest light on the situation.

This all happened several months ago, and the police are no closer to solving the mystery and making an arrest. The closed beach has subsequently reopened, and parishioners seem to rejoice in the appointment of the new vicar whose homilies are considerably shorter than those once offered by the late Reverend Octavius Snickenbough. Rather fortuitously, the new vicar has his own house, so Mrs. Snickenbough is more than welcome to continue to live in the old vicarage. After all, why should it remain empty when it is warm and welcoming, and suitable enough for a lone widow to live comfortably? The potbellied stove in the kitchen is a little old-fashioned but Mrs. Snickenbough doesn’t mind that – once she gets a new tomahawk to split the kindling.

1626. Wrecked

Today’s story is simply a transcript of a newspaper report. I thought it was interesting, especially since “back in those days” ship wrecks were relatively common.

Christchurch Star – 16 August 1876

STEALING FROM A WRECK. – Joseph Kilpin, an elderly man, residing near the beach at New Brighton, was brought up on remand, charged with having stolen a quantity of timber forming part of the wreck of the ketch Jupiter. The ketch belonged to Major Hornbrook, and was in charge of Captain Robert Day. On August 3, she was wrecked while crossing the Sumner bar, and drifted onto the beach on the New Brighton side.

Being insured in the South British Company, the vessel was abandoned to them on August 4. The hull was sold on that day, but the cheque given in payment for it being dishonoured, the hull reverted again to the Company, whose property it had since been.

The hull broke up, and was strewn along the beach, and prisoner took a portion of it home to burn. When arrested timber to the value of several shillings was found on the prisoner’s premises, and he admitted having taken it from the wreck. In reply to prisoner, Mr Macpherson, agent for the South British Insurance Company, said he did not know there was any mark or notice on the wreck cautioning persons from removing any portions of it. He also informed the Bench that he had no desire to press the case severely against the prisoner, his sole desire being to caution people that they had no right to take away timber from wrecks. Prisoner, in defence, said he was entirely ignorant of doing wrong when he took the timber, and would never have touched it had there been any notice against its removal, or had he known that he would be acting illegally by taking it.

Three witnesses came forward voluntarily and gave prisoner a very high character for honesty and general conduct. One of them had known him eleven years, one five years, and the other three years, and they had always found him a hard working, steady, honest, and respectable man. Dr Foster said he might also inform the Bench that the habit of taking timber found on the sea beach was a very common occurrence, and he did not think it was generally known this was an offence against the law.

His Worship said he did not know whether it was generally understood that the offence complained of in this case was indictable, and persons who were guilty of it rendered themselves liable to two years’ imprisonment with hard labour. The law very properly regarded the matter as very serious, because it was an offence against a person who might have lost his all by the wreck. Supposing the owner of the vessel had not been insured, the loss would have been heavy, and the law ought to protect persons in cases of this kind from losing what little might be saved from the wreck.

A very high character had been given to prisoner, and as he might have acted in ignorance of the law, he would be discharged, but must be more careful in future. Both he and others in the habit of picking up timber from wrecks must remember by doing so that they rendered themselves liable to two years’ imprisonment with hard labour. The case would be dismissed. (Applause).

1595. Weather report

The jolly internet has gone down. It sometimes does that during a storm. Apparently there’s a raging wind outside so I’m not surprised that things have got a bit shaky. The trouble is I’ve got a deadline to get an article to a local paper within the next two hours, which is why I got out of bed so early to write it. The Tourist Bureau puts out a free newspaper every week. I had better get the article ready in preparation to send the minute the internet connection comes back. I said I would report on the weather and surf conditions at the beach at Whangamata, which is fifty miles away. It’s the summer season, and people will want to check things before coming to the beach.

Early this morning I took a stroll along the beach at Whangamata. People, even at this early hour, were taking their dogs for a walk, throwing sticks and Frisbees. A couple of runners were enjoying the early morning to get in their exercise for the day. The sunrise was magnificent. It transformed the sea and its gentle waves into summer gold! Already several groups of people were setting up where clearly they were going to spend the day, swimming and lying in the brilliant sunshine. I expected the beach to get fairly crowded as the day progressed, and indeed I was right. As I returned from my walk a lot of sun-worshippers had descended on the beach with hampers loaded with picnic lunches. It was to be a typical day at the lovely Whangamata beach.

I asked one gentleman with a fishing rod where the best places to fish were, and he said anywhere beyond the swimming flags placed there by the surf life-savers. I also asked if he ever caught anything, and he said he got the occasional snapper and also gurnard, especially when the weather was brilliant like it is today. With his electric Kontiki longline fishing line the baited fishhooks could be taken way out to sea in such calm weather. The snapper and gurnard come a bit closer to shore in the spring and return to the depths in the autumn, so hooking them in summer is within the Kontiki’s range.

So come on down, visitors to the region! It’s safe! It’s sunny! Grab a towel and head for the beach! It’s always summer at Whangmata!

I see the internet is now back up, so I’ll send this article to the editor before this frightful weather outside causes an electric blackout.

1508: Beach nudity

Look at that female strutting on the beach with no clothes on – down to the water’s edge and back – like she owns the world. This is not a nudist beach. I don’t know what the world is coming to.

There she is now sitting down in the sand with not a care and eating a sandwich. The people with her are eating sandwiches too like they don’t give a hoot. It’s as if they haven’t noticed. It’s disgusting. Parading around on the beach naked is one thing; not for those she’s with to notice or object is another thing altogether. Their ignorance and callousness is hard to believe. How can the modern generation condone such a thing?

There she goes now. Lunch is clearly finished. She’s tossing a beach ball. Everyone is laughing. Oh for goodness sake. This is preposterous. Naked and flouncing around with a beach ball. Shame! Shame! Outrageous!

Put some clothes on! Either cover up or go to some nudist beach where immoral behaviour is tolerated. No wonder modern-day toddlers like this little girl grow up with no morals.

1217. About my photo

Hi! Look, I’m just back from the dentist and while I was waiting I was reading your magazine and an article about sexy lifesavers. And there slap bang in the middle of the article was a picture of me. I was taken aback.

I wish to complain. First of all I’m not even a surfer although I might look like one, so I have no idea how that picture of me got into the article. Nor had I given my permission to have my photo plastered all over an article about sexy lifesavers. It seems to be typical these days with selfies and stuff that people think they can do what they like. That photo was taken for my ex-girlfriend when I was at the beach so she could drool over me when I’m not about.

So I would like an apology in the next edition, and this time I’d like my picture to have my phone number. Ok?

Music 125: A visit to the beach

So much to do, see, and smell!

Listen to the music HERE!

(Footnote: At last! At last! The time has come to move house! I shall be in and out of blogging erratically and periodically during the next week or so. Daily postings have been scheduled, but I’m going to be in and out of both time and internet reception!)