This morning, like every morning, I shut the door behind me and walked through the half-lit park into town. Except this morning, the birds that graced the frost-laden lawn were gulls and mallards, not the chattering jays of Riegrovy. A raven quorked from a bed of crocuses. I took it as an omen.
This morning, like every morning, I crested the hill and caught a castle-clad horizon. Except this morning, crumbling remnants of ancient invasion loomed on a silhouetted cliff, a far cry from the sleeping-beauty spindles, glinting verdigris above the lesser town.
And now from the train, I watch winter sun playing over moon-drawn waters as they lap against round wooden posts. Across the aisle fat sheep blur by, stark white smudges on sea-lashed grass. We pass through the Downs and a kestrel draws level on its languid sojourn from tree to bare-branched tree, bathed in a clouded, unseen light that transforms brown to copper and green to Green.
It’s a strange sort of familiar that follows me down the track on this, the first of countless Monday mornings. “This is: Brighton”, trills a well-spoken recording as I step off the train into a haze of smoke and cornish pasties, the navy scanlines of the sea already visible through a chink in terraced rows. I take a deep breath, placing one Doc-Martened foot firmly in front of the other.
Yes, I think. Yes it is.