Swanage on a Sunday

When the sun peeks through the clouds & looks like it is staying for a while, that is the time Brits flock to the water. We knew we were by the sea as soon as we got out of the car – that unmistakable smell of salt, seaweed & everything maritime! We also knew that such an aroma would mean that the tide was high. Deeper water means a wonderful depth of colour – really blue & so clear that you can see rock pools & a variety of vegetation. It also brought the well-off out to play with their cruisers & small yachts.

Swanage was a favourite visiting place for my parents when I was growing up. Looking at the beach nearly 50 years later, it was fascinating how little had changed. The same ball games; the same battle with wind-breaks that clearly preferred to lie down than be on their protection duty; parents negotiating with children that it was time to get dry & to persuade the sand between their toes to stay on the beach & not in their shoes where it would rub; Grandmas coming to the end of their tethers having been minding the little ones all day who were now getting very fractious.

Although the medical profession has done its best to warn against it, a quick look at the population, bore out Noel Coward’s phrase about mad dogs, midday sun & Englishmen! You could tell from the full range of body colours that some had been there a LONG time! The promenade had its own fashion parade as well. There were thin, suntanned matched with obese white & all manner of shapes & sizes all trying to carry off the latest beach wear fashion that they had been persuaded was a must have for the season.

Despite it being very busy, everywhere seemed clean & tidy which indicated how early in the season it was I suppose. The seagulls seemed to have had an excellent reading teacher because few of them were tempting the visitors to disobey the notices about not feeding them. The scavengers of the skies were out of luck as none of the litter bins were over flowing. The flower beds were fresh with new blooms that weeds had not yet started to invade.

Although the perception of a busy beach on a hot Sunday could bring to mind all that is awful in seaside holidays, it had a quaint & civilized feel to it. No doubt by the August Bank Holiday, the shop keepers who smiled & passed the time of day would be short tempered & keen for closing time. This particular moment in time though gave you a warm feeling of contentment that the sun is in the heavens & all’s right with the world.

Have you got a favourite childhood holiday destination? Are you a beach bunny or do you steer clear of the masses?

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  • I went on a day trip to Swanage as a kid, seriously expecting to see a lot of swans. I don’t remember anything more about it.

    Our regular seaside haunt was Weymouth – I must go back there sometime, it’s been a while.

  • I love Swanage. We would like to buy a property there. It’s the perefct seaside town, where kids can wander as they mature. It’s can be summer most of the year round. We have just moved from Dorset – I am sad that it’s no longer on my doorstep but I am glad to have been there. Did you try the crab salad? Fresh crab is one of it’s specialities!

  • Beach, all children loves beaches and it was my favourite place too. Great photo, very summery 🙂 Jen.

  • Childhood vacations will always take me back to Lake Chautagua in New York state. That’s where my grandparents lived. It was the most magical town (blink and you missed it as you drove through) directly on a 20 mile wide lake. We spent a lot of summer days there as well as winter (there was skiing nearby). Sadly both my grandparents have now passed away and I haven’t been back for some years. If I had more time and money it is one place I would definitely revisit.

  • Gosh I can imagine the smell of the sea just from your opening paragraph: evocative of living in Whitley Bay on the North East coast when I was little. I’m still drawn to the sea now, even though we’re nearly an hour’s drive away.

    I was commenting on another post this morning about holiday childhood memories – I was interviewed for an article in this month’s Prima magazine. Have a whole page with lots of old snaps of my family on hols – this time in the Med where we had very little sun protection either (we had an excuse in the 70s though!)

  • I love Swanage, it is usually fairly civilised and a fairly easy nip for us from here! Glad you had a lovely day, hope it refreshed you. xxx

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