Monica Sommereux chose Charles Trenet’s La Mer to start her choice of music at last week’s U3AC Music Club. He sings of how the ‘dancing’ sea ‘shimmers with silver’, of the sky as an ‘infinite azure shepherdess’, of the ‘big wet reeds’ and ‘white birds’. Finally, how ‘….with a love song/The sea/Has rocked my heart for life.’ In verse two there is a line that sheds a happy light on national differences in metaphors: he sings of ‘ses blancs moutons’, for us they are white horses.
There were no white horses at Margate when we visited, though the sea shimmered and white birds fed in the pools left by receding tides. The allure of the sea was still there: the freshness of the air and salt on the lips; the smell of the shore and the gentle susurrus of the wavelets; the endlessly varied ripples in the sand crossed by paw, foot and hoof print; chalky whelk shells and green-brown drifts of seaweed harbouring strange liminal life; and the distant horizon beyond the ships waiting, mysteriously anonymous off shore. Look, small, touch and taste – a beach is never boring.
Photos: Margate beach, October 2018