The mast-tops rocked to and fro outside the window. Gordon knew they belonged to the yachts in the Marina., but whence he sat on the couch, he could see nothing but a windswept sky (windswept by hearsay of sound rather than the sight of any tell-tale skimming clouds) and, yes, of course, the mast-tops. Gordon had come on holiday, to get away from it all – away from everything, that was, except the holiday itself and the people who had accompanied him. Falmouth seemed to be at Earth’s End, which it may well have been, judging from the atlas. He surely had to drive far enough to prove that very point. The welcoming owner of the holiday “cottage” had immediately entered into great detail relating to the exotic foliage in the garden – encouraged to grow by the climes of this so-called Cornish Riviera. But it wasn’t really a cottage, but more a self-sufficient section of a large house alongside the forest of masts. Not that they were exactly a forest of masts. It simply seemed the simplest, if tritest, way to lay a metaphor – and write a postcard. The wind had so far kept Gordon indoors along with his holiday co-sufferers – not so much because they were afraid of the wind but because the tiny weatherman on the cottage’s portable television had issued a warning – and it was decidedly disrespectful to ignore such a helpful message intended for their well-being, if not their sense of adventure. And, then, of course, it became so confusing, nobody seemed to know what to do. Gordon decided to keep a holiday journal but hated using the first person singular with which he was saddled. The others eventually risked the weather and left him writing. He did not notice their departure – or their return. And why the journal was aborted at the point it actually was, not even Gordon could guess – other than perhaps the fact he had reached the optimum of being away from it all – a diminishing face in a tropic of painted flags.


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