Yesterday, after the mayhem, we went down to Brighton to take the air, as Austen might have said. And what air, warm and sunny, and quite still. The only sign of the storms was that all along the promenade were banks and sprays of pebbles and seaweed which had been flung up to where they never should have been.
The sea was pretty rough for so still a day, but there was one swimmer, lobster red. The beach was crowded with people in anoracs just smiling and sunning themselves.
I'm reading Dorothy Whipple's 'They Were Sisters' which I thoroughly recommend for anyone who wants a lesson in middle class cruelty. A marriage, and particularly a psychologically abusive father and husband, is picked apart with forensic care.
And there is a link in all this. Brighton is such a metaphor, with the sea so tamed by pier and groynes and sea wall, and then the city crowding right down to the shore, and in the far distance The Seven Sisters. But of course the sea isn't very tame at all, and Brighton is such an evocative place, not least due to Brighton Rock and Prinny and its place so near to London and so full of contrast.
It's this edginess - of an emotional variety - that fiction is aiming for, so often, I think. That bubbling fury that is human nature, under the surface of a carefully schooled and contrived exterior. There we go - a link between Dorothy Whipple and Brighton Pier.