Now turn in towards land. Cut in low over the waves, up over the pier – the dark iron platform offering out its rides and prizes to the weather and the sea – rise up with the seagulls planing the air along its leggy length, high over the heads of the winter crowds, and follow the boards to the end; snick over the pointy top of the old iron clock; drop in fast over the traffic nudging along the coastal road, up towards the Victorian one way system; go graciously by the hand of a green and bilious Queen, around her celebratory gardens and the council workmen prodding in bulbs for the spring; come in low along the cycle paths, the bus lanes and neatly surfaced roads, resisting the arterial tug up into shoppers’ town; flash along past the sombre tourist tick lists, the anonymous business frontages, past the fake Tudor pub, the computer-designed flats, the Georgian terraces and balconies - fast enough to blur the signs of decay, slow enough to see what the people who first lived in these buildings must have seen – leaving in your blazing wake the traffic stalled along by the skate park, the converted municipal buildings, mews apartments and student halls; pull up over the lights and blast away up the hill towards the edge of the great half cup that forms this town, easing off the power as you reach the top; watched from the upper levels of the old fever hospital as you fall below the line of thrashing horse chestnut trees, dropping in a blast of dust and easing down to come in between the redundant gas lamps by the furthest opening in the old brick wall and into the car park of the ambulance station, noting the line of white and yellow trucks, the cars, the scatterings of conker cases, blue gloves, cigarette butts, coffee cups. Shut off your engine. Climb out. Become aware, as your turbines cool and click, of the station’s worn old potentiality.
Take off your helmet. Stand quietly, and wait.
The alerter is about to sound.