I remember, as a child, vividly, going to the beach whilst on holiday. We even went to Broadsands beach which is where we visited today.
I love this time of year for beach combing and so do the birds that come when it’s quiet!
There’s no need to worry about little ones wandering off. You can’t lose them in the expanse of beach when your more or less the only ones there. I love the cold bite of the wind as it whips your cheeks pink and the satisfying squelch of wellies in the sand and sea. What better way to use your boots than jumping waves and exploring rock pools.
As I step onto the beach I often think back to those times as a kid on holiday. I moved to Devon at age 20 and prior to that I was brought up in Manchester. I’m from a large family and so our holidays were often during the colder, out of season months in Devon visiting family. Some might hear this and think we were unfortunate to not have visited exotic places or stayed in luxury accommodation. I feel the opposite. I’m reminded of a poem we studied in school by Simon Arimtage, It Aint What You Do It’s What It Does To You. It describes how these trips to find yourself are unnecessary. The place is not what’s important its what you take from it. It’s about seeing the beauty in everything around us. It’s all very deep. Far too deep for a Friday afternoon stroll and yet I can’t help but think how relevant it is. Some of my happiest memories as a child are of being on this beach, cold and damp, itchy wool jumpers and wellies. Searching for crabs with numb fingers and eating sandwiches with salty fingers. The thrill of the chase at discovering a fish and the excitement at what treasures the sea might bring to us as the tide went out. To us kids from Manchester this was the exotic and we found it in every rock we lifted.
Our holidays were not in Spain or Greece, all inclusive with kids clubs to boot they were fantastically exciting and in cold Devon. An 8 hour car journey squished in with bags under our feet singing Cliff Richard. We would stick our heads out of the window when we hit Penn Inn roundabout insisting we could smell the sea and argue fanatically over who would see the zoo sign first. The smell of Brixham harbour and the zing of vinegar on my tongue still send me to a place of scratchy carpets and attic bedrooms with seagulls tapping a jig on the roof. That was my childhood and it’s one I’m hoping to repeat with my children.
So it’s my firm belief that the beach is not just for summer. In fact my absolute favourite time of year to hit the beach is now, when I can be selfish and not share it with the holiday makers. When I can see my kids running along it half a mile ahead completely un-interrupted.
Where I can stroll in deep repose reminiscing of my own time as a child. Walking with my parents and talking about “can you imagine if we lived here?” Like living here in this place was akin to winning the lottery. It seemed as impossible as the lottery then and even now I wonder how I came to be here in this place of wonder. We’ve lived here 10 years and still the sight across the bay from Berry Head melts my stress and fills me with a sense of awe. That I’m now apart of this place. That I can walk the beach not once a year but all year. I can see the sea when I pop to the post office and hear the lions roar when I go to the shop. I can smell the sea when I walk to my nans, that I can show my children how to lift rocks with number fingers. That I can call Devon my home.