I don’t know why but during the weekend I kept thinking of my parents. Well, not thinking of them, exactly, but rather how much they wouldn’t like this. This thing that I do now.
I always thought that I would never pay to go onto a beach. But I used to hate carrying everything. Not that I actually carried everything, of course, but as I was the eldest, it was always more. And, instead of setting up camp near the entrance to the beach, we always had to go where there was no one else. Which meant walking on the beach. And walking. And walking. Laden as we were with deckchairs and windbreaks and costumes and food. And walking until I thought I would die. Or felt I would die. Or wanted to die with shame and embarrassment.
Even when we arrived at what seemed to be the furthest possible location, it wasn’t finished. For there was the setting up of the windbreak, the deck chairs, the changing into costumes, one at a time, using this thing that my Mum had fashioned out of, what seemed to be some sort of toweling but was almost like a curtain – but a very ugly curtain, with elastic at the top or drawstrings or something so that it covered you from the neck down. I absolutely HATED changing on the beach.
Then there was the food. We were a family of 6 so there was a lot of food. Sandwiches made that morning, sausage rolls made last week and kept in tupperware, rock cakes, hard boiled eggs. And other stuff.
It all seemed such a palaver.
But, being 6, I guess they couldn’t afford to go to restaurants and we didn’t have burger places then – except Wimpy, which was dreadful (not that the burger places now are much good). I understand now and I think I understood then.
That doesn’t mean I liked it. I didn’t. I HATED it. I hated everything about it. It’s like we were some sort of tribe, invading the beach. But with the embarrassment of it all I was, kind of, glad that we weren’t near other people. But they seemed to hate it when other people came near. If someone pitched up near to us they would complain and ask (themselves) why the person had to park themselves so close to us.
And, on reflection, perhaps that is one of the reasons I find it hard to socialise, in general. I wasn’t brought up to socialise, I guess.
Of course, in the early evening (unless the weather was not so good) we had to reverse all this. Packing away the food left-overs, uprooting the windbreak and rolling it up, collapsing the deckchairs. Getting changed again using the stupid and hateful changing robe thing. And then carrying the whole lot back to the car.
However, now, I love the fact that we just go to the beach. We take towels. We take personal stuff. But we don’t have to take deckchairs or food or an umbrella or a windbreak. It’s not a 6-mile hike to the spot we have. Of course, there are people always nearby. It’s not like we can hide away. And because F is from there and so are many people on the beach and that we share an umbrella with another couple (who only come for about an hour), you can’t really NOT talk to anyone.
But it’s nice.
And, coming back to the point, a lifetime away from anything my parents would have done.