The Call of the Beach

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I love the beach.  It’s a beautiful magical place that calls to me from afar and I can’t imagine living in some landlocked state thousands of miles from the nearest coast.  That would be a genuine nightmare!  We don’t live many miles from the beach but our transport options have limited the amount of visits we’ve been able to make this year.  It’s a long bumpy expensive bus ride to the one beach which does have a regular direct bus service from here, or at least its town does which would be followed by a couple of miles walking.  Appealing?  I think not.  It’s not the best beach around either.

For most people the stereotypical beach involves sand and sunshine.  My beaches do not.  As a child we rarely visited the beach during the summer as it was too ‘crowded’ so the rocky beaches of my childhood are invariably associated with being cold and wet, with closed toilets and no ice cream and with mudslips on the cliff.  I love an abandoned stormy beach with the wind howling (as long as I can have my ears protected please!) and the waves lashing the steep stoney slope I call a beach in angry frothy towers.  We don’t get much driftwood though.

I do like the idea of sitting on a sandy beach and lounging lazily in the sunshine.  But trying to get weather patterns and free time to coordinate isn’t easy.  Our nearest sandy beach is a good hour away without summer holiday traffic.  It’s even harder when you don’t have your own transport, give up now!

There is also the problem of what to do when you actually get there.  Much as I like the idea of sitting doing nothing I rarely can achieve this ideal state, apparently it’s called relaxing.  I don’t relax.  So I have to lug lots of ‘projects’ with me, a good pile of reading material will only keep me distracted for so long as I need multiple options.   (Don’t try travelling with me, you’d rather go with a two year old, believe me!)  Although naturally having taken all these things with me I may then of course decide that I’d rather do nothing.  This is frustrating to everyone not just to me.  But doing nothing is so boring.  Sitting in the sun doing nothing is not only boring but it’s also rather hot.  My head bakes easily so then I’m bored, restless and and irritable.  (See previous comments about two year olds).

Then of course there is the problem of what to wear.  Most people are of the opinion that it’s perfectly comfortable to sit in a public place wearing as little as possible.  I’m not one of these people.  Sitting on the beach becomes a humiliating experience as thousands of perfect bodies (where do they get them from or is it just a figment of my paranoid self hating imagination?) parade before you in perfectly arranged swimwear.  With a tan.  Just to make me green instead of white.

Summer comes rarely so when it does I suddenly find that I don’t actually have the required clothing.  Shorts?  Short skirts?  Skimpy tops?  Nothing of the sort.  My wardrobe is full of practical pieces that can be layered up to deal with all eventualities.  Except a heatwave.  (I’m having a hard time trying to work out what I own that is suitable for sitting on a beach.  Not a lot.)

Then of course summer passes by.  Gone in a blink of an eye most years.  And I can shelve my dreams of lounging lazily on a beach for another year.

But I still want to go to the beach though.  It was raining hard the other night and lying in bed listening to it I wanted to be at the beach to see the storm.  Buses don’t run at 23h so I just had to lie there and wish.

Then by a strange coincidence we found ourselves in possession of a motor vehicle overnight.  Eyes agleam we headed immediately for the coast, in the opposite direction to home and bed.  It was magical.

The beach at night is pitch black with more trip hazards then can be safely enumerated.  We go down and throw rocks to vent our anger or frustration.  They land with heavy thuds into the water that we can barely make out.  It’s cold and windy.

Not this night.

There’s a beautiful full moon casting silvery light across the whole beach and bouncing light so strongly against the black night sky that you can hardly see the stars.  It’s a beautiful light that makes the town lights at either end of the wide bay sharp and twinkly.  It’s quiet and the sea is calm.  It’s quite mild seeing as it’s been chilly all day and it’s now the middle of the night.  The water looks metallic as the waves roll and break against the shore.  Further out the moonlight catches the water in glittery highlights.  It’s absolutely magical.  Beautiful.

I love the beach.  I can’t wait to get back.

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