I do like to be beside the seaside; I really do…
Once the school holidays descended for everyone – after ages of hurried clock-watching by discombobulated students and teachers alike – around about six weeks of relaxation could finally ensue.
Think of all the box sets, trips to the park and sandcastles you might’ve ploughed through in the first few days of freedom ; in fact, with the pleasant weather we’ve been enjoying of late ( optimistically speaking; by the time this issue of Buzz comes to press, we may have had two weeks of snow, but right now with the scalding pavements and blazing sun, it seems unlikely that would settle) the box set may even have been sidelined in favour of another trip to the beach.
However, come week four or five, when Westward Ho! has been pillaged for the ninth consecutive day, you know the ins and outs of the go-kart track and can recognise each individual pebble on the ridge by sight alone; a lot of people begin to pine for the unexplored coastlines of California, Malibu, or just jolly old Skegness – after all, it’s a change of scenery.
It’s incredibly easy, though, when growing up in a place as traditionally idyllic as Bideford, with the rolls of hill, marauding seagulls and surrounding sea-side, to forget just how sought after your space is. It has to be said, the majority of Britain is settled inland, a vast swathe of which is concrete city, with neither a sniff of grass nor sea to be smelt for miles around.
Many people save up all year round ,then, to visit places like Bideford and Devon for their summer breaks – eager to see the sea and river-side delights. An overheard conversation voicing the need to ensure it really was the ocean they looked at, and not just a large, sandy lake. Although this conspiracy would require pretty much every local to be in on it, it’s not surprising such worries abound, when the seaside is a place as craved and anticipated as it is . In the end when you think about it, there’s an awful lot to look forward to; arcades, promenades, Hockings ice cream, not to mention the sheer joy of the ocean itself. Meanwhile, closer to home, there’s a whole world to find off the beaten track, be it a very well hidden boutique ( the extra effort required to find it, helps ward off mere browsers…) a quiet coffee shop, or the serene, leaf-laced woods up yonder.
In fact, there’s a startling amount to find and do when you’re not frequenting all your usual haunts, and it’s with a fresh pair of eyes that people visit from far afield, no particular bias where they go, so long as it looks interesting. Perhaps there is something to be said for another trip to the beach then, before we all get rounded back up for school….
Millie Sutherland O’Gara.