Perhaps it is because I have a lot of fire in me that I love water. If I could be somewhere for the rest of my life, it would be close to the sea. People ask me why I don’t live there now. For a long time, my work kept me in London. When I finally moved out I didn’t quite have the courage to move too far away. Now my ties to London are mostly severed the thought of living by the sea gets stronger by the day.

I’m fond of rivers, lakes and streams too, and living in Winchester close to the Itchen was a great pleasure. Three valleys in Guernsey were flooded to make the main reservoir, and walking there makes a change from the coast. A footpath goes right around the reservoir (which is shaped like the foot of a bird with three toes). It is a delightful place to be. But even there, or following the course of a stream, the sea calls me.

To sit on a warm rock and listen to the lap and thud of the water – that is the ultimate meditation. We are told that the sea has the same rhythm as a heartbeat, that being by the sea is a memory of being in the womb, and I can understand that notion. But the rhythms of the waves have a universal quality that goes beyond the human. I think that can only be understood by being afraid of the sea, as I have been many times. When you fear being washed overboard or being crushed, then the sea is teaching you about life.