It’s great to go to the seaside in warm weather, have a walk along the front, wearing sandals, shorts, t-shirt, wear a sunhat because it’s so warm, lick an ice cream cone, maybe some fish and chips with lashings of salt and vinegar. But what about during the winter, what’s it like then?
On a wet day, horrendous. Rain smashing against your face as you battle against the wind, two steps forward and one step back, unable to keep anything protective on your head as the storm would whip it off and send it to a willing seagull’s nest, salty wet so when you lick your lips it’s so thick you can peel the solid off, all this and more. When you return home, you have to strip your saturated clothing off, use three towels to dry your body and hair, and then sit in front of any fire you can find so you can return to some semblance of body warmth.
On a cold dry day, superb. The bracing wind whips through your protective clothing, but the invigorating walk with the wind in your face will be far better on the return walk because it will be behind you. As you are on the seafront promenade, you look out to sea, wondering if there are any fishermen out there. Maybe that larger vessel is the daily Newhaven to Dieppe ferry, negotiating the strong waves, your gratitude is great as you appreciate it is those poor seasick souls enduring the storm tossed briny, not yourself.
Perhaps there is a cafe with lit windows, front door with a welcoming ‘open’ sign, a strong hinge to prevent it being blown open by the perpetual bursts of strong winds. Ah, the relief at finding a sanctuary, a hot cup or mug of something to warm you before leaving for the cold walk back. The wiser walker will have a miniature of brandy tucked away in a secret pocket, just a little nip in the coffee for medicinal purposes, you understand.
You venture out into the elements again, secure in the knowledge that as you were walking in the wind to get to the cafe, it would be on your back for the return journey. But during the half hour it has taken to consume your beverage with toddy, the wind has completely changed direction, and there it is again, blowing straight at you – still.
You attempt to speak to your companion, but strange things are occurring. They can’t hear you, because the wind is whipping the words away, never to be heard again. So you try again, this time louder, but there is an unfortunate side effect, where your lips have lost partial control of your saliva, and you find shouting results in spittle covering your face. Salty spittle.
You have been out of your home refuge for getting on for two hours, and when you return, you feel very satisfied that you have exercised for the day, and it’s now time to sit in front of the fire, another cup of something warm alongside, and continue reading your novel. I would recommend one by Herman Melville, called Moby Dick.
Harry Pope is Eastbourne’s sight-seeing guide www.harrythewalker.com He is a speaker www.harrythetalker.com He is a writer www.harrythewriter.com He is a blogger www.harrytheblogger.com You can be a friend on Facebook, or follow him on Twitter @HarrythePope