Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Winter at the seaside.

Some time ago one of of the posts I follow mentioned living at the seaside in the winter in the UK, so having lived at a seaside resort many years ago, I offer you this.

All along the beach, following the winter storms a scattering of men scour the sands, heads down, intent and determined. There is treasure to be had in the sand, treasure left there by the summer hordes that occupied the beach in their tiny enclaves, territories marked out with their towels, deck chairs, blankets and wind breaks, territories to be defended against all comers. Striped canvas fortifications hammered into the soft sand with splintery wooden mallets that only saw use once a year. Those summer visitors who once came in their hordes, before foreign holidays became a sunny alternative to the vagaries of the British summer weather. They left their coins and watches, wallets and valuables behind them buried in the soft sand.

They also left behind boarded up hotels and closed amusement arcades, cleaner streets and less employment.
Those temporary residents who stayed for a day, week or maybe two at Mrs Furbelow’s Boarding House, had never seen the wild winter storms with waves that sent the pebbles off the beach through the windows of the hotels on the sea front and filled their neat front gardens with sand and plant destroying salt water, or had driven along the cliff top and had waves break over their car and run green over the windscreen.

They had never seen the strange silhouettes of the town’s plants in their winter coats. Nor were they there when the sea froze and small icebergs covered the beach, or when the victims of a capsizing washed ashore and blue and white ribbons surround parts of the beach, keeping the curious away from the grim work of recovering the sad remains. But we residents stayed on and we loved the empty beaches and the freedom of quiet streets and lonely dog walks in the winter rain as we waited for the next, oh so short, season to start again, so that we could earn enough money to see us through the next winter. And so as the days lengthened and the putrefying dead seal is finally washed off the beach, the town fills with shivering pensioners as the pre-season O A P’s fortnight begins.

The cash strapped hotels are doing their bit to cull the aging population through hyperthermia, with their cut price week at the seaside, when the heating is turned off without fail on the last day of May. And so the town slowly begins to stir ready for the hordes to come again and feed their pennies into the slot machines and pay for their half board, ‘please take your sandy shoes off at the door.’ holidays.


  1. Oh you! Now I want a seaside break! (Even if it is cold and damp and the amusements are closed. )

  2. Well written, snafu...and i can identify, especially when we lived in Bridlington. I used to love the deserted beach, even if it was cold and windy off season