No matter what I say
All that I really love
Is the rain that flattens on the bay
And the eel grass in the cove
E. St Vincent Millais
To me Morecambe Bay is a view. To Tony it’s his tea. I thought I loved and appreciated the Bay as much as anyone until I met Tony. Tony understands the Bay and he’s the only person I’ve met who doesn’t fear it.
The Bay has a fearsome reputation. Its quicksands claim lives every year. These aren’t the quicksands of the movies, which suck the victim under. The sands of Morecambe Bay are much crueller- they suck you up to the knees and hold you there until the tide comes in and drowns you. My youngest daughter, when only four, got stuck in the sands off the beach at Arnside and when I pulled her out of her wellington boots the suction of the sand was so strong that I couldn’t pull her boots out of the sand.
Tony lives in a cottage right on the beach and has grown to know the Bay so well that he thinks nothing of venturing out on his own to cross it. He described to me the enormous beds of mussels which lie in the Bay, acres of them, a natural harvest which is there for the plucking. Which is about as close to Thoreau’s idea of the Slow Life as you can get, I reckon.