Seaside memories

September, some say, is the best month for holidays. The sea is still warm for swimming and often the weather is perfect for countryside walks. Elevate artist David Davies shares words and images from this time of year.

I like the tranquility and timelessness that local artist James Thompson has captured in his watercolour entitled ‘3 Hills Bay, Swansea’, as well as its simplicity – these things seem to go with our memories and feelings of September. Most of all, I, smell the clear salty air, can hear the sea and maybe even the voices of the surfers in the distance.

painting of beach with 3 hills in background and surfers approaching the sea

Image: James Thompson

I wrote this piece called ‘The Visitor Book’, which I thought goes alongside James’s painting, a kind of response to the painting with a poem.


The Visitor Book

Our summer, crammed with haze and expectation,
now has a shyness, is hesitant with fragments of birdsong,
is slipping back with a gentleness
like the hour when we are born.

I noticed you wrote last year in the visitor book:
‘So tiny, like chess pieces
A string of surfers reflected in the September tide.
The water smooths back our plans –
The clear air touches the edges of possibility.’


Seaside memories

Here are some seaside memories that I have collected when working with patients on the wards:

“I was seven and my Mum, Dad, Nan, my cousins and Auntie Betty
went to the beach in Dover. Auntie Betty had made sandwiches and cake
– a lovely Victoria sponge.
We paddled and Aunty Peggy wore a floral swimsuit.”

“My mother and I used to cycle to Perranporth for the day. Wartime was the golden years for us in an odd way – no-one around, just me and mother, just ourselves to get there. My mother would make pasties and we’d take a flask. Our bikes had three gears and were black. The sea was wonderful – nothing like it, the salt air and roar of the waves.”

“There’s me and Gwen at the beach in 1957. We are in our late teens, sitting at the end of summer in our mid-season dresses with our legs in the clear, quiet water. I’m looking straight at the camera smiling and Gwen has a more reserved look. Our reflections in the water are clear and whoever took the picture, probably Dad, must’ve been standing knee deep.”


More from David and the Elevate artists

Download ‘Elevate your mood’ September 2020 edition (pdf)

Send us your contribution

We love to include some of your own reflections in future posts and in our print edition ‘Elevate your mood’. Why not write a few lines, try a poem or send us picture on the general theme of September into autumn? Email to ArtCare or send to ArtCare, Block 29, Salisbury District Hospital, Salisbury SP2 8BJ.