Last morning, summer at the beach house


Before summer officially ends in the Antipodes, I’m sneaking in some photos of a beach side garden.


It was the end of Christmas at the holiday beach house. All week, we were waking up to the morning sun coming through our window. On our last morning, I went into the garden and took photos of the flowers before the day began in earnest.


It was a strange, beautiful half hour. The other house occupants were still asleep. So I padded around in oversized flip flops, feeling the dew on my feet, the sun getting warmer and brighter. A (rare) sense of being absolutely alone.


Despite the early hour, the sun was almost too bright to look at. It cast a golden morning glow. Reflected on the water, it turned dark blue into streaks of yellow. Trees and other plants became silhouettes. Starkly black against the sky and ocean.


The leaves, buds, branches, flowers, looked more fragile, more colourful, in this light. I remember – incoherently – thinking of Tess (of the D’Urbervilles) in the early morning, then aubades, then Under Mulga Wood (a native recast of Dylan’s Under Milk Wood, using the magic of spoken words to bring the outback to larger-than-life).

The morning breeze, straight from the ocean, over the flower beds and straight into our window. It gives a faded patina to the wooden furniture and leaves a fresh saltiness in my hair.


And the sound of the ocean! As I sit here and type, it’s coming back to me. The waves endlessly breaking against the rocks and the sand. Again, again, and again. A sound that comes from somewhere deep down, like barrel chested laughs, tropical thunderstorms, a standing ovation at the end of something earnest (the Ring Cycle? King Lear? Any Chinese opera??).


The sound is much louder on the beach. I’ve sat on the sand for whole hours, pretending to read a book but really just watching the waves come and go.

From the cliff top, the sound was further away, like a piece of music that gets under your skin, and you start to miss it when it’s gone.


We don’t know if we’ll come back to this place next year – the best laid plans of mice and men, etc etc – but we’ll have these memories.


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30 thoughts on “Last morning, summer at the beach house

  1. missfaith2013 19 February 2014 at 1:26 am Reply

    Wow, wonderful pictures, I wish I could be there right now!

    • saucygander 20 February 2014 at 1:19 am Reply

      Thank you so much! So do I! 😀

  2. lapetitecasserole 19 February 2014 at 6:12 am Reply

    Beautiful and intese pictures!

  3. Laura Weymouth 19 February 2014 at 7:05 am Reply

    Absolutely lovely. We’ve had pretty much non-stop blizzards since November–I normally love the cold and this is the first winter I can remember actually waiting for spring. Send your summer my way! 😉

    • saucygander 20 February 2014 at 1:21 am Reply

      Haha, done! Will pack some of our summer figs and mangoes figure you too!

      • Laura Weymouth 20 February 2014 at 7:34 am

        Good, because we don’t get those even in summer. Although we do get a little thing called Ice Wine 😉

      • saucygander 20 February 2014 at 9:50 pm

        We, on the other hand, don’t get ice wine even in winter… 🙂

    • saucygander 20 February 2014 at 1:21 am Reply

      oops, *for* you. Darn phone keyboard!

  4. Experienced Tutors 19 February 2014 at 10:04 am Reply

    Lovely photos. I love that production of Tess that you referred to.

    Summer? What’s that? We’ve just had two months of storms, with conditions not seen for 250 years here in the UK. 😦

    • saucygander 20 February 2014 at 1:27 am Reply

      We’ve seen news coverage about the snow and storms here! Though a friend was in London over Christmas, and still saw squirrels in Kensington Gardens, so there were signs of life despite the storms. (We both became slightly obsessed with squirrels with their fluffy tails)

  5. The Novice Gardener 19 February 2014 at 10:59 am Reply

    Beautiful, Saucy! Photos and words both, like reading a poem. I wanna pretend reading a book on the beach, too. 🙂

    • saucygander 20 February 2014 at 1:30 am Reply

      Wish I could go back to that beach too and pretend to read a book – mid-week daydreaming!

  6. Food and Forage Hebrides 19 February 2014 at 11:21 am Reply

    How I yearn for that warmth, given our perpetually wet, dull and cold winter here. Thanks for the uplifting post 🙂

    • saucygander 20 February 2014 at 1:33 am Reply

      I’m glad you liked it. I was looking at the photos from your last post, and wanting to go back to the Hebrides again! Maybe in spring or summer though..

  7. Liz 19 February 2014 at 2:11 pm Reply

    pretty. Nice to see some flowers 🙂

    • saucygander 20 February 2014 at 9:53 pm Reply

      Thanks! It was escapism for me too.

  8. Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella 19 February 2014 at 3:01 pm Reply

    What a beautiful escape-for you and for us too! Just reading this post relaxed me 😀

    • saucygander 20 February 2014 at 9:53 pm Reply

      Good! Just what we like to hear! 😀

  9. lapetitepaniere 19 February 2014 at 3:47 pm Reply

    Beautiful pictures and the fuchsia bougainvillea is so bright, one of my favorite color 🙂

    • saucygander 20 February 2014 at 9:55 pm Reply

      Isn’t the color beautiful? I can’t take credit for the wonderful garden, but am so, so glad the house owners take the trouble during the year.

  10. lovinghomemade 19 February 2014 at 7:59 pm Reply

    Absolutely beautiful!

  11. chef mimi 20 February 2014 at 1:26 am Reply

    Beautiful photos. These warm my spirit!

    • saucygander 20 February 2014 at 9:56 pm Reply

      I’m so glad to hear, writing this post was a bit of mid-week escapism for me too.

  12. Michelle 20 February 2014 at 12:54 pm Reply

    Oh, beautiful summer.

  13. Johnny Hepburn 20 February 2014 at 2:41 pm Reply

    Can’t quite believe your summer’s almost over, and our winter hasn’t begun! Not proper. We’ve just had 5 or 6 months of autumn instead.
    The sound of those waves. Never, ever tire of it. Even though I can’t hear them from my windows, only traffic. But when I’m heading home after food shopping there’s usually very little traffic and the waves are there, softly crashing on the shore in the near distance.
    And I never sit on the beach!

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