I waded into the warm shallows and then dived and swam out to cooler water. Here, if you held your breath and let yourself sink to the bottom, the soft velvety blanket of the sea momentarily stunned and crippled your ears. Then, after a moment, they became attuned to the underwater symphony. The distant throb of a boat engine, soft as a heart beat, the gentle whisper of the sand as the sea's movement shuffled and rearranged it and, above all, the musical clink of the pebbles on the shore's edge. To hear the sea at work on its great store of pebbles, rubbing and polishing them lovingly, I swam from the deep waters into the shallows. I anchored myself with a handful of multicoloured stones and then, ducking my head below the surface, listened to the beach singing under the gentle touch of the waves. If walnuts could sing, I reflected, they would sound like this. Scrunch, tinkle, squeak, mumble, cough, (silence while the wave retreats) and then the whole thing in different keys repeated with the next wave. The sea played on the beach as though it were an instrument.

Gerald Durrell, Birds, Beasts and Relatives, Collins, London, 1969, p. 246-247.

TIME: about 1935

PLACE: Corfu, off the coast of Greece



The village band was in full spate, the violins whining, the guitar rumbling, and the flute making periodical squeaks like a neglected puppy...

Gerald Durrell, Birds, Beasts and Relatives, Collins, London, 1969, p.55.

TIME: about 1935

PLACE: Corfu

CIRCUMSTANCE: a wedding in town.