I like liminal spaces; the inbetween; the middle ground. My Ottoman history writing explores the borderlands between the Habsburg and Ottoman empires, between Christian and Muslim communities, between Hungarian and Turkish speakers. My philosophical research similarly focuses on the blurred boundaries between fiction and non-fiction; and the gaps in our conceptualisation and use of terms such as knowledge and truth.
I also like to walk between land and water- on the foreshore. One of my favourite places is Shingle Street, our local beach. It is at the end of the Ness that stretches down from Orford. The tides, storms and the river currents all work to make Shingle Street a fluid, ever changing space; a place where land and sea merge and have a kinetic force.
With movements in the Ness, and the powerful swirling of shingle, a new series of islands and shallow shingle banks have emerged in the deeper water off Shingle Street. I first saw it the day before my last operation in March. I wanted to cross over, but it was cold, the gap was too big to jump, and the water was of unknown depth and fast moving because of the river Ore. Daisy Dog however did the unthinkable. She hates water, and will only very reluctantly go into the sea, preferring to watch a favourite frisbee sink than dive in, but suddenly she leapt into the water and half splashed, half swam across.
That was all I needed. I took off my leggings and leapt; together we crossed to the shingle islands (we did go back for Kainaat). We then spent a a while exploring while James sat safely on the other side and took some photos.
At Easter when my friends were here we went to Shingle Street as we always do, but we deliberately waited until low tide as I wanted to show them the islands. The Lure of the Shingle was too great for us and we crossed over…
You can only stay on the islands for so long before the tide comes back in and the crossing becomes wider, deeper and faster, and then finally the islands disappear for another 12 hours. We all made it back OK and then decided to balance children on a stick before rolling down the shingle slopes …..