Thursday night, and Rob and I are sitting on the beach —or, to be precise, on the steps that lead to the beach. It’s the sort of thing you dream of* doing when you dream of moving to Devon. We’re watching trains go by on the other side of the river and talking about songs about sandcastles, when Martijn calls to say goodnight — quite naturally assuming I am at home.

“Is Rob still there?”
“Yes. He is still here. On the beach. With me. Are you jealous?”

Meaning, are you jealous we’re on the beach in Devon when you’re in your room in Oxfordshire, about to go to bed because you have to get up early tomorrow morning’? Except Rob gets it a little wrong.

“Martijn, it’s not what you think it is!”
“Oh, damn. And I thought you were just sitting there, talking.”


*If, that is, you are the sort of person who moved to Devon because they had been dreaming of it — and not the sort of person who had never given the place a thought before they discovered their dream course was situated there. And never gave it a second thought after that until the find themselves in a soddy ‘holiday home’ on Morton Road. But that’s a whole different story.