Posted by: smithdavid | September 9, 2012

In Spirit

It’s my first day back and already the longing has begun. The fact that all those things about work that I pushed to the back of my mind while I was away have ambushed me does not help. I’m walking around site, I’m busy with something that’s urgent for someone else. I’m on the third or fifth floor – they all look the same. I rush, mind on menial task.

Then something pulls my attention. It’s not the accent – you’ve as good a chance of coming across a Paddy on a building site in London as you have of coming across anyone else. It’s the enthusiasm. And the key words that protrude from the conversation from time to time – wave, swell, break.

‘Unbelievable place,’ he’s saying as I step closer, ‘unbelievable…’

‘You a surfer?’ I ask.

‘Yeah man – just back from Cadiz. Had a great time…’

‘I’m just back from the West – Rossnowlagh…’

‘Yeah, I know Rossnowlagh – I’m from Strandhill…’

where we are in body

And so the urgency of whatever mission I was on fades. There are better things to talk about now. Fergal is a body boarder and he tells me about the places he’s surfed in Europe. Eventually I have to pull myself back to work.

‘I’ll bring my Stormrider and call down one evening before I go home – I’ll show you all the good spots in Europe and the UK,’ Fergal says when I finally go.

A few days go by. I wonder if he’s forgotten. I wonder how I’m going to get out as frequently as I did before I left Ireland. I have no car here – I can’t just fold the seat down, throw the board and a few things in and point the nose to the coast.

Also, now that I’m back in London it feels like I’m way out back in some undefined part of the ocean. The difficulties at work are a current pulling me one way; all the things associated with her and her engagement are a different current, also pulling me. Both lead further out to sea, away from the steadiness of land.

where we are in spirit

It’s Friday evening. The site is empty and I’m in my office, finishing off the last few things. Fergal walks in grinning – he puts his Stormrider Guide in front of me and it’s open and he’s showing this strip of coast on the west coast of France that goes on for hundreds of miles or that wave in Morocco that you just have to surf.

We look at the west coast of England – Croyde, Putburough, Woolacombe.

‘If the swell’s right I’ll drive down on a Saturday morning – get Saturday and Sunday in,’ say Fergal.

We talk of getting away from the madness of London and finding somewhere near a good break and some sun to live.

A few hours have passed when we finally leave – the sun is low in the sky. But it’s bright and still a little warm and I feel like even though I’m adrift there is no need to paddle wildly, I will be carried to where I need to be.


  1. Yes….

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