Calling the night down.



The last two weeks in November I spent alone on the shores of Northumberland opposite Holy Island (Lindisfarne). I’d hoped for wild weather so that I could press on with writing a sequel to my novel ‘Tom Fleck’. I certainly had days when gales hammered at the windows and rain fell in sheets but, as you’ll see, I had the most wonderful days of sunlit distraction.

The Flats

The Flats

Between my refuge and Lindisfarne is this shallow bay. Miles of mudflats and sand bars that are covered at high water.

The Lookout 095The rising tide brings in wildfowl that feed on the sea grass. Here is a company of wintering Pale Fronted Brent Geese; family groups of migrants from Spitzbergen.

The Lookout 030

And this is why I came away with a mere 7,500 words of the sequel to ‘Tom Fleck’. As the weather swept through, I spent hours gazing instead of writing.

The Lookout 045Gazing at footprints on the shore.

The Lookout 048

Wondering at stranded sea-dragons.

The Lookout 052And frost on stranded kelp.

The Lookout 078And pagan totems so near to the cells of St Cuthbert and St Oswald.

The Lookout 085And lonely sea-marks.

The Lookout 035Bright, cold dawns.The Lookout 066Sunsets that made me linger outdoors in the chilled air.

Lookout solitary 060The whispering of the mud as the tide ebbed. The tiny twitterings and tickings of the mud as the falling waterย  exposed the burrowings of billions of creatures. And the light across the mud flats. And the sight of birds, and the sound of birds – the cries and the beat of wings. Eider, Shelduck, Greenshank, Sandpiper, Wigeon, Peewit, Smew, Whooper Swanย  – and finally, calling the night down . . . the Curlew.

About Harry Nicholson

I once bred Beveren rabbits in all colours. Today, I'm an enameller who works with a kiln, fusing pictures in glass onto copper. On Amazon is my novel, 'Tom Fleck', set in the North of England of 1513 - the year of Flodden. A sequel to 'Tom Fleck' is 'The Black Caravel' published in 2016. My anthology of poems came out in 2015: 'Wandering About.' Recently I published memoirs of my time in the Merchant Navy: 'The Best of Days' and 'You'll See Wonders" I've a blog of poems, stories and art at:
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21 Responses to Calling the night down.

  1. Great photos! Particularly love the rainbow.

  2. Lovely photos, Harry.

    I passed by Lindisfarne a couple of months ago when I was working up there. I got to see it from afar but one day I hope to actually visit the place too.

    Great to hear you’re working on a sequel to ‘Tom’.

    Best Wishes for the New Year.


  3. todadwithlove says:

    Harry, I have nominated you for a Very Inspiring Blogger Award. I hope you will accept the nomination.

    • Thank you, Vera. I’ll be glad to accept. It’s lovely of you to do that; it brings a flush of encouragement to me on a dull, cold day. I was lifted already; just minutes ago a huge skein of wild geese passed overhead, going south.

  4. Simply Beautiful! And what makes it so simply beautiful (among other poetic, fascinating and Informative features) are what I find so Perfectly Balanced in Nature, namely: Simplicity and Perfect Beauty. ๐ŸŒโ™ปโ˜ฏ๐Ÿ™

  5. Ina says:

    Lovely Harry! ๐Ÿ™‚ So much to be found on that beach! I remember in Whitby, beautiful as the place is, there was absolutely nothing to be found on the beach for some reaso: no kelp, no wood, no shells! ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. fryupress says:

    Thanks for showing your photos, Harry. Lovely to see them after listening to your diary!

  7. Beautiful piece and beautiful peace too, looking at your fabulous pictures.

    It certainly is a very special place. I have only visited once.


  8. ChrisJ says:

    Oh dear, homesick for Flamborough — same coastline , same North sea, same sounds, smells and coastline.. Yes, I even miss the gales roaring round the houses.

    • Yes, Chris – California will not be the same. But, with this cold wind battering my window with rain that is just at melting point, you can enjoy your orange groves and vinyards and think of me cringing below the moor. We’ve been to the shops – there is a missing cabbage, and I must go out to the car in this for it might be in the boot . . . Heavy coat and hat needed.

  9. Why yes, hunny! Please do. And thank you – it has been a while since I stirred the blog.
    The Northumbrian? Well now, there’s a thought.

  10. vivinfrance says:

    Harry, this is utterly beautiful – and must have refreshed your spirit so that Tom Fleck will flow easily from now on. Do you mind if I send a link to Sally?

    PS why not submit it to The Northumbrian?

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