i i i

Phil Kay

A van and a blind man on the beach

am on the beach at sundown. which takes as many hours

as the sky requires. on the far north-east shoulder top of

Scotland. There are two men talking about diesel engines and reliability of motors and rust reduction techniques and conforming to some holy grail of cliche: men discussing machinery in the face of natural beauty. somehow preferring to talk about cubic power and to ignore. through the single golden headlight. the imminent arrival of the glorious beautiful reliant reality.

One is from the north of lingland. the other from Minnesota. They are safely relaxing in the beige vibe. I sit and listen. This beach is a massive wide one and l have chosen to sit in earshot. almost directly just down in front of them. on the flattened seat of a pointy boulder.

They move on in a little agreement that becomes their intimacy.

l have to sit here because it is the nearest bit of beach to the van 1 have with sleeping children in and I would like to be in earshot of possible wailing.

Mostly it comes because the littler legs are waking up sleepy sideways in their sack and then trying to get straight and can’t.

(‘auses anguish.

I choose to sit within earshot of the van which has a roof that flips up and sits open like the lid of a piano. helping out the sound.

I allow my enjoyment of the skies in panorama to remain fundamentally unaffected by the possibility of wailing. In fact. 1 favour the possibility of screams as I enjoy this gentle wonder.

I am juxtapositioned.

I cannot fully enjoy this work by the sun without the chance of rue hearing screams.

The van 1 have is parked illegally as it were. though it

would take them court orders and injunctions and months of

court summons and gypsy rights trials to move us. And anyway this crime does pay: the kids can jump out onto the sands in their pyjamas.

summons and barbecue trays and there is the sinful s guilty marinade of the self-lighting.

Do you remember the feel. your honour. of the sand between your toes . . .

I am heading back when I see a blind guy stick. dog. big black wrap-arounds. the works letting his dog run around stretching his neck. Not many dogs with that job get to do this much. I walk towards him and watch intently to see if he will register a first moment of being aware of my crunching footsteps.

I come to him down wooden steps and call hello just after half way in a tone to let him know I am aware of him being aware I am aware of him.

We chat and I tell Jim about pushing out the kids in a dinghy six-metres-and-an-arm-length out to sea and pulling them in and along and casting them adrift. me hearties. back out again. I tell him about leaving the dinghy tied up and returning to see it standing totally up out of the water on its nose

because the tide had come in. All the beach saw it and looked at it for ages

It and at least no one knew it was ours

until it burst free and I had to retrieve it. ()n the beach we meet a kid that doesn't really speak. She is just a

doggy the whole time. on all fours t sniffing and woofing.

Later some folk with a big coolerbox light half a dozen forecourt

I learn that day that I can ride my

to us old bike with a kid on a cushion on the

rear mud guard. one on my left knee

and a fish supper and a bottle of

whisky hanging from each handlebar.

A woman approaches and walks towards us to use our steps to leave the beach and curiously she has one sock firmly up to the bottom of her mountaineer leggings and the other right down in woollen concenina. As she passes I ask Jim if he can hear anything different about the sound of her footsteps. She keeps walking and Jim says no.

STREET ACTS TO LOOK OUT FOR 6*) Some 0F the best entertainment to be, found on the streets is actually laid on by the CITY OF EDINBURGH PARKING CONTROL DEPARTMENT

A}? yer." .11... 1': real

Street meth

The pass/on! Ute drama,

The human conf/Iict.’ The 5;.naaem3'eude,

lle PARK


128 THE LIST I)? Arm; '3 80:, 7,1,?

Calm J'OWV‘, Srif

Put my car down, you

baftafds ..f only left it there for two minutex.’

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