Wednesday, 17 September 2014

... into something rich and strange

Full fathom five thy father lies;
Of his bones are coral made; 
These are pearls that were his eyes:
Nothing of him that doth fade,
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.
 Sung by Ariel in The Tempest. 

Anyone who knows me well will tell you I’m a book-lover with a penchant for expensive shoes and bright nail polish. I hate camping. I’m not a strong swimmer and I get little joy from riding a bike. 
Quite frankly, I’ve never been any kind of a sportsperson. In fact, to be brutally honest, I’m not much of an outdoors anything. I burn easily, rain makes my hair go frizzy and windy weather makes me cranky. But here I am — living on The Rock by the sea, on a few acres of what just a couple of years ago was farmland. 
And when I say 'by the sea', I don't mean a sheltered bay with glowing golden sand and cooling breezes. Nope, we live atop a cliff that faces the waterway between Australia and Antarctica. We're talking winds that Francis Beaufort would have rated at ten accompanied, as he so aptly put it, by the 'tumbling of waves with heavy impact and large amounts of airborne spray to reduce visibility'.
So how did that come about? Well, my husband, Dr Dad, and I had long wondered about … talked about… argued about… the virtues of moving our younger children from the suburbs for their teen years. You see, we are what are politely known as 'older parents'. Foolishly, as one child reached secondary school, we acquired two more children. And as Number One Son became a genuine grown-up and actually left home, those younger children were approaching the rocky shores of adolescence at breakneck speed.  Crunch time. Face the perils of trying to keep up with tech-savvy brand-wearing citified teens, or opt out. Take a chance. Move to a semi-rural community with a small school where surfing is part of the curriculum and rich kids have horses.
Thus, fifteen oh-please-shoot-me-if-I-ever-suggest-building-a-new-house-again months later, we arrived at our new address — our new life on The Rock.
'Oh, you’ve made the sea-change!' people chirp. Yes, I guess we have. 
When Shakespeare created that term— sea-change — he was describing how the magical power of the ocean can transform something ordinary, the parts of a human being, into objects of beauty and wonder… 'Into something rich and strange'.   
 Sounds good to me. Do your best, Rock. Transform this cynical high-heeled city-dweller...


  1. You'll never look back - the sea view, the ever-changing weather and the salt air are transforming!

    1. The elements will ruin your hair.....but the space to really take a breath could be the very tingling your toes need to feel the earth beneath you.