I have often thought of myself as the inspector of sunrises and moon sets, to borrow a turn of phrase from Henry David Thoreau, but seldom has that early morning habit of mine, of being out and about on my bicycle, inspecting the dawn, been put to better use than this morning.
I had planned to ride to Pevensey – do my 30 mile loop – but instead was feeling sluggish when I reached the seafront and so turned left instead, to do my shorter 10-mile loop along the Hastings seafront. Probably just as well I did. As I came down to the promenade, in the dark, I found my way lit by a blazing beach hut, with the two huts beside it poised to go up as well.
I don’t carry a mobile phone, but I had not long passed and said good morning to the chap who runs the Bridge Cafe, and who inside his cafe getting things ready for his day, so I rode back and knocked on his door, borrowed his phone and called it in. East Sussex Fire and Rescue showed up about five minutes later and began rolling out the hoses. And I began rolling down the promenade, feeling ever more like the inspector of the dawn.