Oh I do like to be beside the seaside…
The Seaside. Those words conjure up magical memories of summers spent building sand castles, eating grainy ice cream, paddling with your jeans rolled up and tipping the sand out of your swimming costume. I spent a large portion of my childhood planning the wonderful life that I would lead in Cornwall when I was a grown up. I would live above a beach and have two scruffy dogs that gamboled around in the surf, I would go for romantic walks along the shoreline every evening and weekend and I would spend rainy days sitting on the windowsills inside my warm, cosy cottage, reading and watching the world rage outside.
The reality of my life by the (stony-beached) sea is slightly different. There are some annoying things about living in Brighton – the stag/hen party season, the wind (oh my, the wind), the hoards of swooping seagulls stealing your chips and ice-cream – but there are very many wonderful things that go some way to recreating my dream of an idyllic life on the coast.
Every summer I’ve spent in Brighton has been hugely fun. On the few days of sunshine we get per year, the beaches get packed but towards the Hove end of the beach it’s all rather civilised and spacious. Everyone wanders around in a state of permanent-happy (probably due to heatstroke), the days are long and in the mornings the tide is sometimes so far out that you can go for a run and then cool your feet off in actual sand. In summer I spend my lunchbreaks sunning myself on the stones, and my evenings eating burgers dripping with grease fresh from the BBQ. Like, every night. No joke.
Fish and chips
Obviously. Or in my case, sausage and chips. It wouldn’t be the seaside without vinegar-sodden chips and a can of Coke. It’s especially fun if, like in the picture above, you have to eat them quickly because a storm is approaching and you need to run to avoid the rain. Which brings me nicely on to….
There’s nothing quite like a storm out at sea. The impending doom of a charcoal grey sky that’s darker than the sea at the horizon, the insane lightening, the howling wind, the crashing waves… and the carnage the next day when the entire beach has been thrown on to the promenade.
Disclaimer: I am in no way advocating making fires on the beach. It is very very bad.
In the summer, nights out are cheap when you live by the sea. The beach is one huge party where people wander from group to group and make new friends. We try to fit at least one all-nighter on the beach every year where we
light a fire shine some torches, buy some cider, bring some blankets, get a few barbeques on the go and invite everyone we know. It gets a bit chilly in the early hours but the sunrise makes it all worth it.
Sea = boats, and boats are pretty cool. In Brighton there is a marina, and we have a few friends that live on boats down there. On a nice day, it’s so peaceful sitting on the deck, drinking a Rekorderlig and watching the boats come and go. There’s also a lot of abandoned boats about on the various beaches which make for fun beach party venues. When the sun is shining, lots of little sailing boats and yachts can be seen gathering just off shore to enjoy the heat and the view, and it makes me a bit jealous.
The epitomy of my seaside living. I am the most organised person around when it comes to BBQs, and take the world’s largest bag full of blankets, tongs, knives, plates, condiments, napkins, socks, snacks, lighters, cheese and sometimes even butter. Jack has the BBQ-lighting down to a fine art (even if he does resort to aerosols) and we make home-made burgers to keep it cheap. I can, and frequently do, live off BBQs for an entire summer. The beach becomes a BBQ stand-off, with groups of people battling it out for the biggest and most delicious-smelling grills, and everything tastes better when stuck on the metal rack. Everything. Even cereal.
What are your favourite things about the seaside?