After publishing a couple of Pat Cresswell’s short stories I thought I would like to attempt something similar, however I have a mental block when it comes to descriptive prose so that was the first hurdle. I decided if I stick to something I know I might have a chance so chose the beach, not because I spend time there – in fact these days I never go, but I was brought up close to Seaton Carew beach that must be one of the best in the north of England so this is what I visualised as I wrote.
It’s early morning, the beach is quiet. As I stroll along I can feel the soft golden sand beneath my feet hitherto untouched as far as your eyes can see. I am comforted by the rhythmic sound of the waves lapping against the shore as they wash away the night’s debris. Fishing boats hug the protective wall of the harbour and seagulls drift endlessly on currents of wind without a care in the world.
Soon the soothing atmosphere that encircles me is disturbed as beach shops open their doors and prepare for the day. They bring out their products and hope they will tempt excited customers to bustle in and out of their small seafront shops.
Families arrive. Young children put on their swimming costumes and are smothered with sun screen to protect them from the bright sun. With buckets and spades in hands they head straight for the shoreline, stumbling as their feet hit the ever shifting sand until they reach the ocean’s edge where finally damp sand is forced between their toes. The children spend hours playing and building in the moist sand and shout and giggle in excitement as their fortresses and castles are overtaken by the rippling waves.
Meanwhile, parents struggle with everything they will need for their day. Sandwiches, cold drinks, wind breakers, towels all bagged up and slung over shoulders as they stumble on like laden donkeys to find their spot.
As I sit in my chair I observe an elderly couple indulged in a good book. To my right excitement buzzes around the volleyball pitch as a teenager dives to make his shot and the sand cushions his landing. Beach goers spring into the waves head first momentarily stunned by the shock of the frigid water as it takes their breath away. However, they quickly recover as their bodies adjust rapidly to the temperature of the sea.
Now that I am relaxed, I allow myself to close my eyes and drift off for a peaceful nap. I dream of my youth, when groups of boys and girls visited the sand dunes on Sunday afternoons and played music on transistor radios. We called this area the Blue Lagoon despite the visions of the chemical and steel works on the horizon. I am soon awoken as a gentle sea breeze rustles through your hair. I look into the cloudless blue sky and absorb the rays of the sun and taste the salt in the air and on my lips and listen to the soothing sounds of the ocean.
The day lingers on and the kids are dragged out of the water by their parents. Wrapped in their towels and lie on the glistening sand to dry off. The children are tired but have enjoyed their beach experience and now wearily make their way back to their holiday guest houses.
Abandoned, nothing there apart from a few seagulls squawking and squabbling over scraps of food, left by the day trippers, their raucous cries loud and brash in the faltering light. Empty crisp wrappers, chocolate wrappers, ice cream papers and half eaten cones scatter the yellow sand. The beach is silent and it is now time for me to return home.
As it has been so many years since I have been to the NE of England I had to take the images of Seaton Carew from the internet I did ask the person who I thought was the owner but they weren’t hers she had Googled them too. So if these are your images I am using, thank you they brought back great memories.