The beach in Bray in winter sunshine, seen from a table by the window at lunchtime today in the Beach House (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2011)
Despite the storms, rains and cold weather of the last few days, this was a very crisp and beautiful day in Dublin today.
There were clear blue skies, and although the temperatures were in low single figures, there was bright sunshine.
I am working through this weekend, and as it was a busy working week following on an intense weekend away in Newcastle in northern England, I was glad to steal the opportunity for a long lunch break and head out to Bray for lunch and walk on the beach.
We are almost halfway into December less than a fortnight away from the Winter Solstice. But the sun was streaming down all the way from Churchtown to Bray on the M50. This was a far better alternative for lunchtime that joining the queues and cars trying to get into Dundrum Town Centre for Christmas shopping.
Two of us were given a table by the full-length window at the Beach House Restaurant, looking out onto the beach. Things there are getting busy for Christmas, and preparations were being made for a private function later in the day, but we still got excellent attention, service and food.
The windows were filled with bright Mediterranean hues of blue and gold, the sun was brightly reflected on the water below us, the stones on the beach were shining, and we went for a short stroll on the northern end of the beach before returning to work.
Sunshine and pebbles on the beach in Bray this afternoon (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2011)
Earlier in the week, I had walked on the beach at Culercoats, between Tynemouth and Whitley Bay, looking out to the shipping lights in the North Sea. In the dark or in the light, these walks on the beach are good for my feeling of wellbeing, and make it easier to live with the symptoms of Sarcoidosis and Vitamin B12 deficiency.
Traditionally we begin singing the O Antiphons on Saturday next, 17 December. But even now there is much to rejoice about and to look forward to.
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