Saturday, 4 January 2014

The Doll on the Beach

Another high tide - 10.1m yesterday, due again today - brought more wreck onto the shore road between us and the farm. Although the tide was higher than December's surge, the wind strength was less and, perhaps more crucially, had more south in it, so gusted parallel to the shore rather than bringing great hammering waves onto it.

What it also didn't bring was the plastic crap of before. The salt marsh and sand was piled with seaweed this morning, it was also strewn up the seawall and, further round the shallow bay, higher up on the road. Except, in the middle of all these greybrowns bladders, a bright mop of purple tangles attached to two yellow mounds caught my attention amongst the shale and weed. It was a doll, face down, undressed but for knickers and the yellow sock boots; arms and legs spread out and, obviously, quite motionless. The sight of her knickers and sprawled limbs was pitiful. A little more seaweed and she would have been invisible. But she wasn't. She was a point of day-glo cuteness, her purple curls still bouncing about her head. When I turned her over, as if to check a pulse, her overly large eyes were both still in place, although one cheek was torn, her mouth was there, small and straight. A foot was hanging off with a strange plastic spring coiling out from her leg, like some mangled bone.

I couldn't leave her there, and tucked her into a plastic box I'd freed from the fence and brought her back home. Back in the environment of cars, wellies, water butts and bins, she became a soggy discarded toy. One I didn't want either, so I threw her, without much more thought, into the wheelie bin.      

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