Even on summer mornings the open Atlantic can be wild and our local beach, Guincho, is often wind swept and cool. In this part of Portugal a perfect August Sunday morning cannot be taken for granted.

Today the sun shone gently from a cloudless light blue sky and yellow safe-swimming flags billowed over the beach. Far out the surfers skimmed, turned and swerved over deep blue powerful waves, yet the waves met the shore sedately, trimmed with decorous lacy foam.

Best of all were the people. Everyone of any age had a swimsuit on. The expressions on their faces ranged from quiet contentment to rapture as they swam, browsed the wet sand for shells or skidded over it on skimmy-boards, chatted, walked the long beach, found the ultimate position for getting a good tan, splashed each other, dug holes, made sand-castles, basked, played bat and ball, somersaulted, devoured fresh warm doughnuts from the beach-vendor’s tray or sat on a rock watching everyone follow their whim.

People were enjoying themselves in a hundred different ways. As the beach air eased them into losing track of time, one by one they retrieved their sense of wonder and were transfigured.

Many people enter this creative zone of relaxed attention only once a year when on holiday. Yet you can reclaim your creativity all year round if you wish to. Even in winter you can surf your imagination, splash waves over a crisp page, browse your brain for words and images and revel in your own uniqueness. With a dash of desire, a willingness to experiment and a wish to engage with the mysterious creative process, you can transform a cold, wet afternoon into as rich an experience as a perfect summer Sunday on the beach.

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