My father once gave my mother a driving lesson on the beach carpark while the three of us were in the back of the car. She remembers us shouting, 'No Daddy, please don't let Mammy drive.' She never learned. 45 years later my niece sends me a photo of her on a mobility scooter for the first time, negotiating Debenhams and M&S, her handbag in the front basket, her walking stick slotted behind the seat. 'Go, Mam,' I am shouting from 1,000 miles away.
Almost nine in the evening and the beach is full of picnics: two kids and their parents eating sandwiches wrapped in tinfoil, an extended family on deckchairs around a line wobbly tables pushed together and leaning into the sand from the weight of tupperware dishes and bottles of wine, some volleyballers on towels with cigarettes and bread. Sand, sunset, the voices of people who know you. The day's end like a pillow.
Much less than a nest, these few snatches of twig and grass, yet the pigeon settles and resettles herself on the high ledge under the arcade, a ledge so narrow she has to sit with her tail feathers flattened to the wall behind her. And when her mate arrives and perches on the tiniest lip of stone before resting his head across the back of her neck, so for a moment I can't see where his grey feathers end and hers begin, I am reminded of love, love that shows itself in kindness, and I am pleased to be, even if it is an invention of my own making.