This morning things – fixtures, landmarks even – were missing from the beach. What a change in the seashore! The sea has ways of working utter marvels, effecting changes of which we wouldn’t have dreamt, revealing wrecks no one knew about and outcrops long lost to view. We found the sand itself utterly smooth and clear of debris, exfoliated thoroughly. Another enormously high tide had eroded the dunes a little more in places – nothing too unusual there – but less expected was the utter disappearance of the dead seal which had proved a monument on the same pitch for going on two months, no matter how gigantic the rollers Neptune threw at it. A sad and mournful presence, degenerating slowly but surely as the holes appeared in its thick sides, its sickly pong was a beacon for beasts of all kinds, including Barnaby, who came home reeking of decay the other morning. Now the corvids and foxes will have to find another source of fodder. Also gone was the affectionately-named urine-soaked rope (a vast, immensely heavy knitted mass of cable, impossible to shift but deeply attractive to all the dogs on the beach, hence its soubriquet), grabbed back by a sea god with lobster pots to secure. Knotted tree trunks, heavy as concrete slabs, their roots plaited with chunks of rock you couldn’t lift, had been flung far back into the sea from which they had mysteriously sprung. All gone. Even more inexplicably, the horrid pool has disgorged both its water and its sand; it lies empty of all but a residue, a jagged pavement sharp with fossils in place of its soft sides: one kind of repellence substituted for another. In fact it is not really a pool at all anymore, horrid or otherwise. Further along, on the other side of Greenhill rocks, there is now a dangerous drop from the dunes on to the now-exposed volcanic rock a good eight feet beneath to which we unsuspecting dogs (or indeed some carefree holidaymaker) might very easily fall prey. Such thoughts send shivers down our spines; we check that the phone is in the backpack, just in case. This afternoon the tide should be equally high; we shall see what the waters can do.