Leaning forward into a northerly gale, my wife and I trudged across the Cley saltmarshes. Ahead of us, the North Sea roared a steady note which our hoods and scarves could not mute. We reached the shingle bank marking the start of Blakeney Point, the great curving spit that stretches a sheltering arm across the Norfolk coast.
The sea was in a furious mood. Great waves crashed against the shore, the wind whipped foam drifted into pale ochre banks and our lips tasted of sea salt. To the west the air was heavy with rain, but above a gap opened between the storm clouds hastening southward, leaving us bathed in cold sunshine.
To the north we gazed, and beyond the flat horizon we wondered where the next land would rise. Perhaps frozen Svalbard or could you cross the Arctic Seas to Alaska in the far, far West or the most distant reaches of Siberia in the far, far East?