A plastic carrier bag full of shells. Sitting on top of my dressing table, often with other objects piled on top, objects which cause the shells to rattle slightly if I pick them up. Every time this happens, and I hear this quiet rustle or rattling, I think of Portobello beach where my friend picked them up for me. Portobello beach; it has never been sunny or warm when I’ve visited it. Always cold, and windy, the strong gusts and sea spray chilling me to the bone. British beaches always depress me. I always feel as though the beach-goers and even the beach itself are aspiring to be something else, something distant. I never really want to be on these beaches, which is maybe why I constantly find myself standing at the water’s edge, gazing out onto the horizon, straining my eyes as if I expect to see a strange, foreign land. It is at moments like these that I always have an urge to run full-throttle into the sea and swim, and just keep on swimming! Until I reach somewhere that isn’t here. That’s probably why those shells have lain untouched on my dressing table for months on end. They would remind me, every time I looked at them, that I’d rather be somewhere else.