The beaches of my childhood were in Cleethorpes, looking out into the Humber. On the horizon every day was the distant thin strip of land that bore the Spurn Head lighthouse. The lighthouse, painted in broad horizontal black and white stripes, was accompanied by the small stump of a previous lighthouse called the low light. By day, to a child's eye, the lighthouse represented exotic lands and faraway places. By night its light slowly pulsated reassuringly in the distance as its mirror rotated.
In fact the Spurn lighthouse is about 5.6 miles from the Cleethorpes beaches as the seagull flies, but to a child it represented "abroad."
When I was in my early 40s I did something I had dreamed of doing as a child. I crossed the Humber and drove out to Spurn Point. One could drive it then, but since a tidal surge of 2013 the final stretch is accessible only on foot, and not when a high tide comes. I walked up to the lighthouse and touched it, the distant landmark of my childhood. I looked back across the water.
As a child I had looked out to Spurn, sometimes wondering if anyone out there was looking back at me. There was, of course. A middle-aged man was looking back to the beaches of his childhood with fond memories.