This morning, before transporting Simon to hospital, I took the opportunity to revisit the little seaside town of Hornsea on the East Yorkshire coast. It is only six miles from my childhood home and figured significantly in my formative years. Besides, I had not seen the sea in many months.
Clint and I were there by eight o'clock on what was a mild and promising morning. The bitter wind from the east was no longer blowing and as I walked along the beach, I left my coat unbuttoned. That section of the coast is prone to erosion and since the Romans left these shores, numerous villages have been consumed by The North Sea. Their names ring out like funeral bells - Out Newton, Northorpe, Dimlington, Colden Parva, Sand-le-Mere, Ravenser Odd and a dozen others. It is so sad. Every winter more land is lost.
I passed The Floral Hall where I saw several significant musical acts in the late sixties/early seventies including Roxy Music, Tim Hardin, UFO, Mott the Hoople, Wishbone Ash and Van der Graaf Generator. Like those lost village bells, I only had to close my eyes to hear echoes of that music and see once more the faces of old Hornsea friends and acquaintances - when we were so young.
I turned back and headed to a visitors' shop on the seafront near The Marine Hotel. It was open early and sold colourful beach balls, tacky souvenirs, sticks of sugary seaside rock and - thankfully - a bacon sandwich and a regular latte too. I took them to a bench that looked out towards The Netherlands - far beyond that marine horizon.
Just before nine, I kick-started Clint and we motored back inland to pick up Simon who was annoyingly critical of my careful driving even though I was doing him a big favour. Because of his cancer and prognosis, I forced myself not to respond.
At the hospital, we waited in the Ward 14 "day room" for an hour and spent a further hour by his hospital bed in the side room allocated Nothing had happened and I realised that if Simon had been forewarned I could have just driven over from Sheffield this morning. After two and a half hours, I shook his hand and wished him the best of luck.
It was nice not to have a driving examiner in the passenger seat as I steered Clint homeward. I could be as careful and cautious as I wished, obeying all speed limits and other road signs without any harrumphing.