We moved to Dunoon - or rather to Kirn - in March 1974. I brought with me my five-week old first baby; Himself had been working here for about three months. Yes, it was bizarre timing. I found myself in a council house overlooking a school, and beyond it a hill - the Camel's Hump - on the slopes of which an orange digger toiled. I used to look out of the window and wonder what on earth was going on, but I was restricted with my pram and my two feet and confined myself to exploring the paved roads in the vicinity of the house. Sometimes I walked all the way along the prom into Dunoon (and back), with always that great push back up the hill to the house. One day my father came down, just for the day, to see how I was doing - he had recently retired from teaching, but my mother was still teaching in the mornings; another time my aunt came for a week and stayed in a boarding house, which meant she didn't have to rely on my hurriedly prepared dinners created round the baby and the oddities of the local shops. It was lonely, until I made friends - but a pram helps to break the ice and soon I found another new mum whose husband was a colleague of Himself, and then a Bestie who sang in the church - that same church we still attend. And then all was well.
The reason for this potted history lies in today's rather dreary photo (the weather remained resolutely grey today, and not warm at all). This afternoon Himself was cooking curry and I felt like a brisk walk and took off along the prom heading for Kirn. Because I was alone I felt justified in a little eccentric wandering and pottered down some steps leading to the shore in the village. All these years ago - 46 years to be precise - I discovered The Lido; the link should take you to a photo of the way it was in its heyday, which was actually before I first found it. But when I went there were still huts, you could still buy ice cream, you could hire a deck chair, and people went and sat on the beach and on the concrete platform that is now the only sign that anything happened there at all.
I used to take my son there in his second year, just before we moved into Dunoon. I would sit on the beach and take him out of his pram to crawl around the shore picking up stones and playing with whatever caught his eye. For that one spring, I felt that I was in the right place - that there were benefits to living here, beyond stressing about finding a house to buy and still being able to afford to eat.
And today I remembered that, as the chilly breeze whispered among the dry seaweed and the oyster-catchers fretted along the water's edge.