Looking back, beaches were a big part of my childhood, or at least they made a big impact on my impressionable mind. My beach exploration began in Devon and Cornwall as a toddler accompanied by my parents, and continued on the Norfolk coast with my grandmother, aunt and cousin as a teenager. I explored soft sandy beaches whose grainy presence persisted between the toes and in the bottom of trainers for weeks afterwards; pebbly beaches which I stumbled over, looking for the round stones in preference to the the sharp edges which made you “oooh” and “ouch” as you hobbled seawards; and muddy beaches which, I was told, had to be observed from the safety of the more solid shore.
I think that’s why I’m sharing today’s picture, which I took back in 2011 – for me, it just conjures up all those memories. The beach receding towards the hazy figures poking about and paddling in the shallows, the open expanse of land and sky, and the inevitable promenade telescope. Sometimes I’d be given a coin (it was less than 20 pence back then!) to peer through the murky glass at…well I’m not sure at what, the sea and the occasional ship on the horizon, perhaps. Today, though, when I look at this picture, I can almost smell the sea and hear the muffled shouts of the people playing below on the beach.