Introduction to Hawke’s Point House


Rain has come and gone today and left sharks’ teeth hanging from the wooden bench. I climb to the deck built on the stump of the twenty-five metres high Macrocarpa struck by lightning several years ago. That same winter a flood and landslip took seventy tons of earth over the edge; the south-facing roof was stripped of shingles in a force seven southerly, and a glazed roof panel came in on me in a northerly gale. For months I slept with a packed bag next to the bed, terrified that heavy rain would jelly the soil and the house would slip over the edge of the cliff seven metres away, and drop onto the rocks far below.

The sea roars like motorway traffic, constant, booming. Herring gulls pass above, below, at eye level, chuckling, nagging, or silent, in pairs, apart from juveniles or the widowed. The sea floods in below the house, high and fast, jade green, beetroot purple, opalescent, as the waves hit the rocks.


Light floods the wooden house. From every window is a view of the breathing bay, the long sweep of Porthkidney Sands, with the tussocky towans bordering Hayle Estuary. The edge of the bay is punctuated by the exclamation mark of Godrevy lighthouse, the one that Virginia Woolf wrote about. To the east looms a high cliff of bracken, heather, and hazel, where peregrines nest, buzzards hunt, and fox and badger roam. Gulls follow the map of the cliffs to St Ives, where they will nest, hugger mugger, on roofs gold with lichen.

In one of our remaining pines, this year’s juvenile crow gurgles and squawks as if it is being strangled.

Hawke’s Point 2013

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