On Devil’s Dyke

So I was on my way to the supermarket yesterday lunchtime, marveling slightly at the sudden spot of good weather, when I saw the summer season open-top bus to Devil’s Dyke pull up at the stop just in front of me. Reasoning that I had a drink in my hand, and a sandwich in my bag, I jumped on, and was soon having my head not unpleasantly buffeted by stiff breezes as the bus hurtled up through Seven Dials and out of Brighton for the Downs. Riding on an open top bus is the kind of simple, happy treat my paternal Grandma would have loved, and I thought of her immediately. She would have been grinning as the wind whistled by her, in the way that she used to hoot with pleasure at the sight of simple things like a jam doughnut in a box, a squirrel racing up a tree, or the tiered stacks of twenty pence pieces at end of pier amusement arcade machines.

Once I arrived, I lay on the grass watching cricketers in the village below Devils’ Dyke make muffled appeals to the umpire, and spotted distant motorcycle convoys race down empty roads like flicked, tin beetles. I felt pleased that I could be there to enjoy it, even now that my Nan can’t. If there is any continuity in life, it could be in these moments of remembering someone and knowing not just what they would have said, but feeling how they would have felt too.

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