The sky darkens when the bus gets closer to the coast and the temperature drops for May, reminding me of swooping seagulls and sand blowing about in the wind, the grits getting into my eyes.
A large sign reads: Lyme House, 1 Mile. The driver takes a left, away from the road to the House.
Lyme House, where I first met her. A mile inland, tucked away in a private driveway hidden by trees and hedges. Mostly rich kids attended, but I got there on a scholarship, meals provided. From the start, I couldn’t understand why our hosts had chosen such a dismal town when they’d previously held classes at Lancaster University.
Approaching the High Street. Chain stores and ninety-nine pence shops. The locals looked stressed.
The town’s deteriorated since I was last here, and it was pretty rundown then, especially around the pier. A property developer drew up plans for a new theatre/cinema/sports complex on the promenade, but the plans fell through after the fire.
More shops have closed and everywhere seems dirtier than before. I can already taste and smell the pungent mixture of salt and seaweed, along with something like diesel in the sea. I don’t see many tourists. Mostly kids in hoods hanging around the benches or summersaulting through the air on skateboards.
The bus does a right. I spot an elderly lady on the sand, pulling a terrier along on a long lead, and a trio of young boys, about nine or ten, kicking a can around near the wall that separates the road from the shore. One final twist, and the bus reaches the central roundabout, pulling up outside the Tourist Information Office.