There was a long and desolate stretch of beach south

of Holland Avenue where the houses petered out and sand

dunes covered in hard spiky grass ran a stretch down

the coast.  The smell of saltwater and seaweed was thick

and cloying.  Oscar walked past the old wooden fence posts.

The rim of the beach itself was festooned with impaled

litter and polystyrene cups.  There was little sound but the

soft plump and swish of breaking waves and the hoarse

rattle they made on the pebbles as they drained back

to sea.  Oscar picked up a pebble and flung it.

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Paraphrases from the novel Hemingway’s Chair by Michael Palin.

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