This slice of sea is with me every day, sunrise and sunset. The sun’s position may change only slightly every day, but the light and shape of the water below is ever changing. Every morning, I walk down the hill in cold fog, pacing down the centre of the road to reclaim it in this small hour. Through the narrow streets and out on to the quayside, tall masts and the thrumming whir of the arriving ferry.
I always sit on the same side of the ferry, hunting the first and last of the light. In the morning the sun rises behind Osborne Point, across waters choppy grey or smooth silk blue. On the way home, we travel past piers, chimneys and a pebbly spit, before the west wight hills appear, with pink and blue light dropping behind.
Sometimes I sit and slump with my coffee, or plough through a book, ignoring the view. Sometimes the boat is full of the mumbled chatter of commuters, and the windows are too steamy to watch more than a smear of sea. Sometimes the ride is so rough that you lose your stomach halfway across the Solent, and the contents of your bag across the aisle.
So whilst I travel the same stretch of sea, it’s never the same, and my everyday commute ain’t bad. Travelling across waters always beats the motorway, no matter how rough the ride. Just don’t ask me how long my journey takes. My ferry ride only marks halfway, so now I’m working on cutting out the motorway from the second half of my journey.