Whenever I go to the seaside I just can’t stop myself from singing those reminiscent lyrics from the Kooks “Do you want to go to the seaside?”. Growing up near to the coast means that I am not short of memories to reminisce about, sledging along Bexhill promenade in the snow, visiting the ice cream van and then trying to fit the whole Fab ice lolly in my mouth to get a bit of all the flavours. Being that insane family that visits the beach primarily during rain, sleet or storms in order to have the coastline to ourselves, feeling the driving rain sting against our faces and then still getting an ice cream because we’re Northerners at heart and not “a bunch of pansies” (as Madagascar would put it)
Now at 22 the sea still holds a very special place in my heart, it literally blows away the cobwebs, freshens my perspective and calms me even during the wildest of storms. But the coast isn’t just a place to go when I’m feeling blue, it is also a place of great joy as I watch my jubilant dogs run around and play, never have you seen true happiness until you see Bo, our Labradoodle, run and run along the shoreline. Bounding across the sands with his tongue lolling from the side of his mouth, his eyes glisten in the sunlight and his big hairy paws pound the shore as he runs to the beat of his own drum.
Our older dog, Louie a miniature poodle, still whimpers with excitement as he gets the first smells of sea air through the car window, his little legs may not run as fast as they used too but his tail rises up high as he greets each and every dog along the way as a veteran of the sea. Seeing the two of them so happy cannot but lift my spirits, their merriment and well-being as important as my own.
Camber Sands is unusual as South East England beaches go in the fact that it actually has sand, golden fluffy sand that blows in the wind and creates fantastic sand dunes. The tide goes out revealing miles of beautiful uninterrupted beach that is dotted with the shells and seaweed that the rapidly retreating waves have left behind. On warmer days there is nothing better than to feel the soft sand between your toes as you run into the cool waves splashing your rolled up trousers no matter how high you tried to roll them. During the winter the wind can whip the sand up creating a sandstorm in the car park, not unlike snow the sand collects at the sides of walls and buildings creating the dune landscape that frames the beach. Even on the coldest most inclement days we have been known to take the dog’s to Camber, battling the sandstorm to get to the shoreline, coats billowing behind us, wrapped up with hats, gloves and scarves some might have thought us foolish but I can still feel that fantastic feeling of returning from a winters walk, shutting the car door and the storm outside, hearing the wind and rain lash at the windows, the sudden lack of whistling wind left my senses heightened, any exposed skin tingled in the warmth of the car and even the cheapest cup of tea felt like nectar from the gods.
Over the years the city around me has changed but the sea has remained the same. “Do you want to go to the seaside?” the answer is always a yes from me.