The sun was still low in the sky. Looking towards its lazy light, I saw how it coloured the river and the shining mud of the river’s banks a pale golden yellow, leaving only textures to discriminate between the infused water and the shore. Liquid gold flowing past rough nuggets. Turning the other way the bright colours of the yachts tied up along the pontoons were like national flags against the sky-blue water. Bright red. White. Dark blue. Small amounts of yellow.

Seabirds flew across the screen with the same frequency of as easy computer game. One now, flying horizantally from east to west. Another, later, swooping to land on the water, then taking off again. Now a pair of smaller sea birds. Then a heavy oil-black cormorant, like a sooty full stop, becomes long points suspendus as it heaves its heavy body up, its wings batting the surface of the water and punctuating the smoothness.

A small procession of yachts, only a lone man at the helm of each, take advantage of the ebbing tide to carry them out to the mouth of the estuary, letting the pull of the vanished moon multiply the impulsion of their engine, using the free water between the rows of moored boats.  A small red fibreglass tender is launched from the wooden ramp and floats away. A man in the boat, facing forwards, pulls on a cord to start the outboard engine clamped to the stern. Nothing happens. He pulls again, and again, and again, as the boat drift further from the shore. I start to watch with more interest, wondering if he has a paddle as well as the motor. The man turns to face the stern and tilts the engine out of the water. He examines it, perhaps regulating the choke, checking that the fuel is turned on, then he lowers the propellor in the water once more.  He jerks the cord. Again the engine stays silent. He pulls several more times, then stands up and gives the cord one more almighty pull with all the force of his upright body. The put-put engine jumps into life and the boat makes a more determined progression into the sun.

My dog jumps from tussock to tussock. Vertical takeoff and bouncing on landing. He mis-judges a gap and gets his feet wet and then takes off in a frenzy of excitement, his tail bent oddly at right angles, his hind legs strangely under his body, running round in endless circles until he collapses on the rough sea grass and rubs himself dry. Then, frog-like, he waits to see if I move. I stay still, taking in the glass-like blue beauty of the river and the sky, feeling my cheeks lift with a smile that reaches to my eyes and relaxes my body, slowing me down.

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