The beach below our house is confined at one end by a small promontory of barnacle-encrusted rock. It's a shingle beach, with some of the stones ranging up to the size of boulders, but at springs low tides a thin strip of muddy sand is exposed.
At the end of yesterday's cloudless day, in the evening's low sunshine, it was a beautiful place to sit and consider life. The sea was so calm that hardly a ripple marred the surface of the bay, and the silence was broken only by the occasional splash of the waves' breaking and the raucous cry of the gulls persecuting the cormorant.
At the other end of the bay, closed by a more substantial promontory which protects it from the westerlies, a small burn runs down to the beach. When it isn't in spate it sinks into the shingle at the top of the beach....
....to emerge across the sand. We've spent time with the grandchildren here, damming the stream and imagining we were constructing great barriers on the Nile or Euphrates. Yesterday there was no-one else on the beach: the holidays are over and most of the visitors have gone home, leaving this place to drift gently into another winter.