She sits with her face pressed hard against the window, searching the twilight sky for the speeding silhouettes of bats. With great excitement she points them out to me as they dip and dive through the shadows. This week has seen the spring equinox, and I'm sure the creatures of Bryher have felt that tick of time, the turn of the clock, all deciding to emerge from their winter hideaways and venture towards the summer months. Martha and I have been spotting huge bumble bees as they drone about, their plump furry bodies hovering around the aeoniums. Out in the garden the first oil beetle of 2021 was seen soaking up a little spring sunshine, its iridescent blue armour glinting like a jewel.
The birdsong has notched up a few decibels and as I walk down past Veronica Farm to meet Issy for our regular Sunday morning walk, two male blackbirds have a scuffle in the sand, all tussle and testosterone.
We choose the steep side of Samson Hill to tackle first, climbing a little out of breath as we chatter at the same time. Our walks are something I look forward to, another positive outcome of covid, making the effort and time to meet and check that each other is ok. Down past Nelson and the two young steers (castrated male cattle) who are peacefully grazing for the Wildlife Trust on Rushy Bay Green, and on towards Droppy Nose point. The morning is early and the thick cloud keeps the light silvery and subdued, the sea calm and pewter-like. Neither of us have a plan for our walk, it evolves as we talk and takes us on to Gweal Hill.
Stopping for a moment to breathe, sit on a lichen-clad rock and enjoy the view, the expanse of space steadies the mind as well as the heartbeat.
Descending from our birds eye view, we loop back through the campsite, past Fraggle and stroll across the beach from Bar to Hut 62.
I feel the race against the tide as the water ebbs, the wet sand calling "hurry, hurry". Issy and I say goodbye as I hurriedly change into swimming stuff and trundle into the sea.
It is a strong swim out towards little blue buoy against the tide and a steady breeze, but it feels great to stretch limb and lung in this world of pain free suspension. A world of turquois and silver and soothing coldness.
A moment to hang, legs dangle into the chilly depths, stretching my spine, wriggling my toes, water lapping the nape of my neck and sloshing under my chin. Then turn, face down, homeward bound. Taken by the tide, driven by the breeze, I imagine myself swimming faster. Strokes long and smooth and strong.
As I emerge from the sea, a silver sun breaks through the cloud to warm my back and darken the shadows. The loveliest Sunday morning, now back to wake the troops, it is nearly 9am.