I dreamed about Herm last night.

It’s not a place I think about often, much less visit in my subconscious, so today I’ve wandered back to prod at the edges of my memory of that single perfect day.

There are bits I can’t remember. There was a ferry, and something about the tides that meant we were dropped off in a different spot than where we boarded later, but the boat itself is gone. I can see the lighthouse in the harbor and the other channel islands in the distance as we passed, but not the railing I was leaning against.

The blackberry bushes, those are vivid. The covered the island on the flattish northern end called Oyster point, and because it was late September they were full of ripe fruit.

Shell Beach, which is exactly that, and a breakfast of cheddar coins, apple cake, and weak tea in paper cups where we sat and talked and planned with nothing but a full day stretched out ahead and only the last ferry to catch.

The way the teal ocean, greengold hillocks and piercingly blue sky met was like Orkney but warmer and more saturated. Paths crossed the archaeological digs along the island’s spine, and wound the cliffs at each end, with no guardrails or fences, just an open expanse of sea and sunlight.