The lone and level sands stretch far away.
– Percy Bysshe Shelley, from ‘Ozymandias’
Only the evening before, a friend had warned me about the shifting sands of the estuary should I try to get close to the stone, confessing her own driven desire to seek out the totems and talismans of the landscape as we spoke. Off the coast of the Isle of Grain, the London Stone at Yantlet Creek had intrigued me from the moment I first read of it. It was one of the evocative boundary markers on the Thames that had delineated the jurisdiction of the City of London in former times. The stone stands where the river meets the sea, and is exposed on the shining mud flats when the Thames retreats. But being far from a specialist when it comes to the tides that envelop the estuary, and even less of one with regard to the strange alchemy of silt…
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