Humphrey and Ailsa meet as children by a grey, northern sea. Humphrey is quiet, serious - and will in time explore the sea's mysteries; Ailsa is angry, a freckled cobra ready to strike. Yet they fascinate one another and when they meet again years later they fall briefly - and disastrously - in love.
Half a lifetime passes before Humphrey and Ailsa's paths finally re-cross. What will each make of their past? And of the future?