Thursday, 21 April 2016

I love the seaside!

                                                 Me, aged about seven, Fleetwood beach    

I grew up in Lancashire, in a small coastal town, living across the road from the beach. As a small child I could sit on the huge window seat of the bay window in the front room and watch coach loads of visitors arriving, the colour and movement kept me occupied for hours. (Even now I love to watch the world go by from a window, I shall become known as 'that nosey old bag down the road' soon!)
In my twenties I married and moved inland, and it took me another twenty odd years to get near the sea.

Now the nearest bit of beach is a few miles down the road, not near enough really, but it will do. Hunstanton is a little further away, but still only fifteen minutes or so in the car - except in the holiday season when it can take longer - and I love driving along the Promenade, seeing all the visitors, all that colour and movement again. All the amusement arcades are open, there's the noise of music and laughter, the smell of fish and chips is almost inescapable, a real old fashioned holiday resort. Nothing fancy like a Big Wheel or permanent fairground attraction, and sadly no longer even a pier.

The original Hunstanton Pier was 830 feet long, and opened in 1870 and twelve years later a paddle steamer service came into operation sailing from the pier to that at good old Skeggie, Skegness, across the Wash. As the years went by, there was a pavilion, a skating rink, a small zoo and until the 1950s, and a miniature steam railway ran down the length of the pier. In January 1978 a storm destroyed a lot of the pier, leaving an amusement arcade and one set of piles, a reminder of what had been there. But then tragedy struck again in the 70s with a fire destroying what was left, and in its place what I consider an ugly monstrosity and which met with some local opposition. It went ahead though, and although it is on the same spot as the original pier, there is absolutely nothing left to show what had once been a very fine pier indeed. Sadly.

I remember these old promenade shelters from my childhood/youth. Not this one, this is on the cliff tops at Hunstanton. As a child, they were somewhere to sit with my mother, sheltering from the occasional showers or just sitting sheltered from the winds, the two of us watching the world go by I remember when she and I used to have picnics on the beach, she would light up one of her Balkan Sobranie cigarettes, 'just to keep the flies away darling' she'd say. She looked so glamorous with these cigarettes in their gorgeously coloured wrappers of deep jade green, blue and deep pink, and with gold tips I think. Of course,she would be frowned upon now for smoking in public and in front of a child, but she wasn't the only one back in the fifties. As a teenager these shelters were places groups of teenagers gathered to smoke illicit cigarettes, you could buy packs of five Players for pennies then. And if you didn't have the spends, then the cigarettes would have been taken stealthily from your parents packets while their backs were turned. Or the shelter was a place you went with your boyfriend, to be alone. After which many a teenage girl, myself included, would go home, lock herself in her room, put some vinyl on the Dansette, unlock the tiny padlock on her diary, and write down her most private, secret thoughts - in my case about a tall blonde-haired, suntanned boy called John, who told me I had 'lovely legs', who went away to be a farmer, never to be seen or heard of again after the first flurry of love letters, all signed SWALK of course, on the back!

See what memories a stroll along the seafront can evoke?

Some of my other favourite things this month have been ....

... this large heather on the edge of the terrace, it smells wonderfully of almonds when the sun shines.

And its always good to finish one crochet project, so you can plan the next. This is a change for me, monochrome, three shades of grey, black and white

And that's it for now.  except to say it was very sad news about Victoria Wood, one of the funniest women ever, if not the funniest. Her humour made us all laugh, and she will be sadly missed.


  1. We had a family holiday in Hunstanton a couple of years ago and had a great time. I even managed a few classes at the sports centre. It was a wonderful little place, not spoiled by gentrification and thousands of Londoners. (I am one myself which qualifies me to say this). We really enjoyed our stay.

    I remember Sobranie cigarettes. I think I tried them when I was younger as they looked very sophisticated, but I hated the taste. I was a menthol cigarette smoker for years until I had my daughter and gave up.

    I always remember hanging out by the local telephone box in our village, from where we used to ring boys or friends to have a private conversation, life has changed quite a lot in this respect.

    1. Do you think it has changed for the better, I wonder? Childhood seemed a safer, less complicated, less stressful, more enjoyable and carefree in so many ways - I'm talking here about being a child of the Fifties/teen of the Sixties.

  2. I forgot to say, I love your crochet blanket.

  3. I so agree with you about Victoria Wood, so very sad. I love your monochrome blanket, the monochrome is very sophisticated. Childhood memories are lovely, as you say, ot seemed a more simple time X

  4. What a horrible new building and a very lovely photo of you. I love the sea (I could see it from Mum's house where I grew up) and miss living by it, although where I am during the week is on the Tay. There is something so calming about being beside the sea. I love the sound and looking over the water at the changing light. That is a really lovely blanket. You are so good at crochet. Xx

    1. Lovely to see a comment from you, must admit I had been worried about your prolonged absence from blogging. Hope you are well?