We drove to the coast, in morning greyness; the heat of a still new sun barely cutting through cloud; causing goosebumps upon exposed flesh as I gazed a while at restless waves buffeted by unrelenting breezes, clawing at polished pebbles under spume.
The pebble beach, remembered by the soles of my feet, yet different to my eyes; was all but empty, as huddles of thin clad souls took solace in sweaters, and headed to the end of the pier.
So we too trod the boards, worn by feet and time, under the watchful eye of gulls; stepping on shadows of antique fixtures and filigree fence work .
... and suddenly, there they were, in all their painted glory; champing at the bit for a hurly burly ride up and down then round and round; spinning faster and faster..... the wonderful painted horses of childhood.
Close up their colours, still newly bright, vied with the jangling organ music of yesteryear, imploring we, the lookers on, to come and have the ride of our lives!
Two small children, grins as wide as wind burnt cheeks hastily scrambled aboard, waving at the small assembled crowd as the music piped up and the horses began to trot..... and I secretly thought to myself 'yes, that is the very horse I would have picked,' as I turned away to seek amongst strangers a son searching for bigger thrills than those these horses had to offer.
Just then, the sun appeared, chasing past clouds and fragmenting the sea with ever changing hues; beaming down on neon rides, with gaudy flashing lights and the ever present thud of music at full throttle... a siren song for thrill seekers to come and test their nerve..... and there he was, my once small boy, high on mechanical arm, hanging in space, waiting to be flipped and swung..... whilst I, the reluctant onlooker and carrier of bags, quietly wished he were small again and the comforting swoosh of coconut mat on wooden slide still thrill enough for us all.