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This article is taken from PN Review 263, Volume 48 Number 3, January - February 2022.

Leasowe Helen Tookey

Seventh of  November 2020. New Brighton, on the Wirral peninsula. I’m standing on the breakwater, looking out to sea. The surface under my feet is an odd mixture of rocks covered with a thin layer of something like tar, greyish, wrinkled, as though what I’m standing on is the long curving spine of some creature, with thick grey skin like an elephant. Just ahead of me, the tar layer ends, and the rocks are green with algae. It’s a definite boundary, a place to stop. The tide is high, so the lighthouse, maybe thirty yards further out, is surrounded by water, though it’s hard to tell how deep it is.

The other three are behind me, standing on the beach in a rough triangle, a few yards apart. We’re not exactly meeting, and not exactly not meeting. Unable to organise anything formally, because of the restrictions, Bryan and I had simply emailed a few people – the Lowry ‘regulars’ – and said that we would be by the plaque on the prom, should they want to be there too. Alan has come from Hoylake, and Chris has walked up from Egremont. It’s nice to see them, to feel that we haven’t allowed the year to go by without some kind of marker. Mary has texted to say that she’ll be sending us a wave from the beach at Ainsdale, further up the coast on the Liverpool side; later she sends Bryan a photo of the Day of the Dead tribute she’s constructed on the sand, a Mexican carnival ...

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