The gulls here make all kinds of different sounds. They chatter and quack and whine and peep and caw like crows. They are constantly in the sky above the balcony and across the rooftops that extend all the way down to the sea. You hear them up close and just over there and beyond and then in concentric layers out to where their songs intermingle with the sirens and motors grinding and whistling, and then, back up close, the barking of dogs down below somewhere in the narrow lanes and someone’s laughter like a bark from a window somewhere or laughter like the gulls from a window somewhere else.

It’s all rooftops from this balcony three stories over the lane and facing the sea, and halfway to the sea the onion domes and the spires of the Pavillion, the famous palace of Brighton, rise above the roofs and catch the angled sun beneath the bluest sky I ever saw in England. Across the next lane over, on the roof of the group of flats there, on one of a dozen slender orange chimneys a gull sits up and scratches her head like a dog would, and then settles as if she will maybe lay an egg on top of the chimney cap. And through an open window just below I see a small girl in a little white tank top laying on her bed by the window watching television, a little dark-skinned dark-haired girl of about eight watching something and laying so still in the shifting blue and purple light that I thought she was sleeping, but now I see that she is only watching something.

FUN FACTS TO KNOW AND TELL:

  • The British currency unit known as the guinea equaled 21 shillings, or one pound one shilling. It is no longer in use, and so far no one around here has been able to tell me why it ever was.
  • The British use the mile, not the kilometer. However, the British mile does not equal the U.S. mile. That’s all I know tonight about that.
  • Guinness For Strength.....Guinness for Flatulence
  • Celsius converted to Fahrenheit: take the (Cx9 divided by 5) +32. And then you will still be only close.
  • If, in the preceding paragraphs I didn’t use the word “whimper” in describing these sea gulls, I should have.

Late at night from the same balcony:

The aforementioned domes and spirals of the Royal Pavillion are now vividly illuminated from massive floodlights from the grounds below. The rooftops between us are dark now, though some of the fronts and walls are also lit from below, from street lights, porch lights, pub signs, what have you. But the spires gleam. The thing is, sometimes I look up from this page and see little stars hovering much too low, and then they seem like little UFOs because they are glowing and moving in a funny way, and then you can see that they are sea gulls whose belly’s and wings are lit up from below, from the floodlights and street lights, and they are so bright in this dark sky and so unnatural. 

And now that all is so much quieter in the town you can hear finally the surf, and amidst and above the surf the far off sound of wheels on the motorway, and still the call of the relentless gulls.