Visit To The Beach

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Life as we know it, is cruel. There was a time in our lives when life was much more simple and a damn sight more enjoyable…you could actually get excited about things. Excitement it seems, is a thing of the past.

A family visit to the beach you might think, could be an occasion to get mildly excited about. Certainly one to look forward to at the least. While family time is a great thing, with it comes the acknowledgement that I occupy the absolute lowest priority level on these occasions.

The long drive to the beach is one thing that with age does actually become easier to deal with. For one, it feels a lot shorter & manageable. I guess that’s partly thanks to the joys of modern technology & earphones as well. Kids plugged in, a happy parent makes. Combine that auto tranquility with an iPod loaded with podcasts for the elders in front & the time flies by.

As many families will be aware – one of the joys of a day out is finding somewhere to eat. Assuming the destination is somewhere pretty rural, which in our case it nearly always is – that means finding a decent pub. As we all know the standard of pub food varies dramatically – but for some reason the price doesn’t really seem to. It seems to becoming an increasingly common experience to spend £60 on a family lunch that is at best pretty mediocre.

Coastal eateries seem to have fallen into a habit of relying on their location and natural foot fall through the door, forgetting that it is in their interest to actually offer a decent service & experience.

Its not hard to please people that are out for the day. Provide a cleanly furnished space, some local ales and some well cooked food. This will bring people back time after time. Being able to smell the gents when you walk through the front door is somewhat less than ideal to put it mildly.

The beach itself is a funny thing. I have memories of playing cricket, digging holes & building sand castles. On rockier beaches I would go rummaging through rock pools desperately trying to find anything other than seaweed. Then off course, there was the joy of skimming stones across the water.

The youth of today seem to have forgotten many of these basic childhood pleasures. I guess this also says something about the enthusiasm of the typical parent who just wants to sit sagging over the edges of a tightly fitting deck chair.

I don’t know if my tolerance levels have changed or whether the beaches have. In my youth I remember happily walking across sandy beaches with no fear or risk of hurting my feet. Mum would be on hand to clean my feet off before putting socks and shoes back on at the end of the day & Dad would carry everything back to the car…I just had to drag my spade. Now however, it seems that every bare footed step on the sand is fraught with fear and danger – what sharp object will penetrate my foot with this step?

The journey back to the car at the end of the day is always twenty times worse than it was at the start of the day. It seems that all the items that once comfortably fitted in your beach bags have multiplied umpteen times – it simply won’t fit back in. You were reliably informed by your significant other that the huge reservoir of food that you brought would be much lighter as it would all be eaten…why oh why does there seem to be even more of it now at the end of the day?

Once back in the car, even after you’ve driven home, you will still be living with the consequences of this joyous occasion thanks to the several litres of sand that has now been thoroughly distributed throughout your car. That sand will be appearing in your lunchtime sandwiches, socks, laptop bag & mobile phone case for weeks to come…fantastic.