Caswell Bay has a bus stop and a car park, which is unusual on the Gower: the usual practice is to make people earn their their access to a beach by walking a mile or so along coastal paths, thus discouraging herd immersion. It’s a small, family-sized beach that favours practising surfing skills with little risk of sufing kills, and the coastal path to Limeslade Bay attracts runners who combine exercise, sea air and ocean views. Cross the bay and take the coastal path West and you’ll be at Three Cliffs Bay in little over an hour by way of Brandy Bay (I picked up my favourite pebble there and inevitably loiter for 10 minutes trying to find it a partner, or at least a pebble with benefits) and Pwll Du bay, a moon surface of a beach..
..and an excellent observation point (from above) before walking the last half mile to the Three Cliffs Coffee shop. I occasionally stopped by there (the coffee shop) about forty years ago, and the boys and girls who run it have done good in the meantime, extending the premises and the goods and services on offer to beyond anything that we might actually deserve.
I need sanctuaries like these to help me preserve my composure now that aliens have taken to contacting me. It all started a few months ago when my radio in the kitchen turned itself on when I was in the next room. Odd, I thought. A few days later it happened again. Again, odd, I thought. And so it continued through the next few weeks until, one day, I realised that the time showing on the digital clock as it turned itself on was 10:13. The 10th and 13th letters in the alphabet are J and M – my initials. So, having cracked the code, I realised that, through inattention, I had missed most of the message. I carefully noted all subsequent times, and even devised an algorithm for when the minute number at the time was bigger than 26 (e.g. 9:56: take away 26, then do so again, and the new code is 9:04). It got complicated when my algorithm made the minute number negative, but I developed another algorithm for that too.
And then the radio stopped turning itself on – the message was complete. The scrap I had managed to decode read ‘Don’t be late’.
I’m guessing there’s going to be a very disgruntled little green man out there somewhere so I take to the coastal paths whenever anxiety begins to overwhelm me. And that anxiety is only going to get worse when Covid is over and I can no longer hide behind a mask and Sainsbury’s no longer proudly declare that my safety is their primary concern – who will protect me then?