a burst of sunshine and a sudden desire to go to arthur's beach for a quick break and swim. a man with an orange hat walks towards me. could it be arthur? he's exactly as i imagine him - a tall old man with a bushy white beard and a stick. i make a point of engaging him in conversation..... and ask him if he knows arthur. with a broad toothless smile he points to himself and, my god.....i'm so excited! he tells me a group of youngsters have just been taking his photo so i seize the opportunity and ask if i can take a few shots. he says he feels like a celebrity and he wishes he'd put in his false teeth......
i've been dying to meet arthur ever since i started swimming at "his" beach and little by little my nose has been leading me ever closer. so much to ask him i don't know where to start. he tells me that his bad knee makes it difficult to visit the beach as often as he'd like but assures me it doesn't stop him on the dance floor! he was born in 1935 and all his siblings have since died. he's lived in falmouth all his life and bought his four bedroom house when it cost just £2600. when he was on the dole he found some old council paint and named the beach. he finds money from metal detecting on the busier beaches.... and gold and watches..... lots of watches, though the one he's wearing is from his work. he used to be a mason after a period of military service. we talk about crabs and he tells me all about hell's mouth, a rock shaped like an indian's head and seals and lighthouses.
i climb across the rocks and down to where i'm hoping to swim but the tide is too high. i notice a circled 'AR' at my feet and a little further on, 'arthur's beach' is written in the sand. a group of students are performing cartwheels and handstands and excitedly tell me they've just met arthur. they saw him writing with his stick in the sand and were as happy as i was to meet the man himself. they tell me that they found a big crab claw on a rock and when they walked past arthur he threw them the other matching claw. they were amazed and clearly saw this as some form of wizardry. they too love this beach and a beaming girl tells me that meeting arthur has made their day.
i wander back and arthur is sitting in the sunny spot (which he calls sunny corner) in a big red jumper. he tells me he loves red jumpers and that various people over the years have always knitted them for him. he also mentions, with a twinkle in his eye, that he found two crab claws and left one on a flat rock and put the other in his pocket. he watched the students discover the one on the rock but they didn't know he'd put it there or that he'd seen them find it. so when he threw them the other one they genuinely thought it was magic!
meeting arthur exceeded my expectations and in the fairy tale world of my imagination he really is something of a modern day wizard.....
|arthur on his beach|
|signing the beach|
|turquoise waters hiding mermaids|
|tagging the beach|
|one of the red jumpers|
|spying on a wizard|