Next to the Angel Peace Statue at the point where Brighton turns into Hove, there was a huge crane towering over the seafront, looming tall next to Embassy Court. I wondered what it was for, with a metal grill box hanging from it, and I could just about make out the outline of two men. Suddenly a figure of a man jumped from the box and was dangling before my eyes attached by a white rope around his ankle.
I stood and watched as he was lowered back down and another man took his place in the metal grill box, and was lifted back high in the air.
Today the sea front is so alive with such sights, I feel almost airborne. Huge swathes of starlings line every inch of the West Pier, and seagulls float above me, immobile in the wind. Black silhouettes of men in wetsuits bob up and down in the waves around the West Pier, and occasionally, one struggles to his feet on a board momentarily before being swept under the foam and waves once again. In the distance, seven kites curve in the air, dragging more men and perhaps women above and across the surface of the choppy sea.
Even the clouds seem buoyant and adrift, turned orange by the fading sunlight, which casts a sheen over the sea like copper, which mixes with the turquoise of the five o clock sky and makes the rain on the pavement shine.
It feels good to take steps in such a swirl of brightness, like a lifting bird who does not mind if her feathers are ruffled or if it looks like there might be a storm over Shoreham harbour tonight.
Light, light, light. I pass the lawns I have passed so many times, the toes of my shoes turning darker with the wet from underfoot. I have a wind in my soul, clearing through cobwebs and the blackest dust, loosening the stiffened grey cogs of my machinery so that I can move again. I am surfing this moment, my hair, aflap with gulls and a single aeroplane trail. Air is billowing my dress and senses, the wind is sailing me home.