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  • I am 56 years old and when I was 9 , I nearly died.

    I was staying with my family in a cottage by the sea. My uncle came to visit and gave me some holiday money. There was a cafe by the beach which sold delicious strawberry milk shakes with real ice cream only a couple of minutes down a steep road. I set off down the path but to my horror the cafe was closed. An impetuous little boy with money in his hand and no where to spend it , I climbed up the cliff and stood looking at the sea below and path along the bay. The tide was turning below me and in the distance , as the light began to fade, I could see the twinkle of the Flamborough light house flashing its warning to ships but to me it had the opposite effect. It drew me in. Maybe there I could spend my money.

    I set off along the cliff, in the direction of the light house but with no idea how far I had to go. The lighthouse was at least nine miles away but the little boy could only think of the strawberry milk shake that might be waiting for him at the lighthouse. A few minutes along the cliff , the path narrowed for a few metres where the soft clay of the cliff had been eroded and with a gorse bush on one side and a ninety foot drop on the other , you had to be very careful. With trepidation, I negotiated myself past this hurdle and pressed on. After about half a mile the cliff sloped downwards back onto the beach. It was getting dark and I could see the tide getting closer to me. I recall the words my mother had said to me . "Respect the sea and it wont hurt you."

    I was getting scared as darkness fell and the light from the lighthouse got brighter. "Come to me!" it said but my mother's words rang louder and I turned back. Slowly, I edged my way back along the path until I came to the narrow stretch of path.

    Fear made me stumble. I slipped and felt my feet sliding off the cliff edge. I grabbed at the gorse and cut myself as it halted my fall. I felt tears mingle with the rain on my face as I pulled myself to my feet. I ran, falling again but this time the path was no longer a danger and the fall was cushioned by soft grass. When I finally got back to the cottage I was wet through and my mother and father were worried and relieved to see me. I did not tell them how near death I had been.

    40 years on , I returned to that beach and saw that the cafe that had not opened to serve me a milk shake had been washed into the sea and the cliff where the narrow path had been had also gone. The sea had claimed their existence but had not claimed mine.
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