(Dec 21st) Darkness swallowed our torch light. Sefton pines loomed spectrally white on the path to Formby Sands. Beach finally found, after backtracking tromps through nettles and low, gnarled trees, we could hear, smell and taste the Irish Sea. Only the stars above and the industrial glow from Liverpool burned dimly in the sky. The sky was rare. Clear. No clouds. We tried to find the waves, but long, deep, silver tidepools blocked the way. The waves roared somewhere ahead the infinite beach. It was as though the sea was knocking against an impenetrable wall of darkness, somewhere ahead of us. Unreachable and immediate.