Ray Morgan: Just Beachy

August 28, 2017 by Ray Morgan

Bank Holiday Monday; the weather was actually good for once, right? No clouds, no rain, no sad faces because we were trapped inside with faces pressed up to the windows thinking of all the fun we *could* be having.

It was a smasher. We woke up late, the sun peeking in through a gap in our curtains; I made tea and toast. Rye toast is one of my favourite things, slathered in butter and Marmite, a massive mug of tea, both of us propped up in bed with books, the paper, and the radio on.

I went out into the garden and did some weeding. OH MAN IT WAS SO HOT. I guzzled water and wiped my brow. I could smell barbecues on the breeze. In the very far distance, I could hear a group of people singing "Happy Birthday". My lavender plants buzzed with bees. I broke the sweet quiet by saying a very loud expletive when a spider the size of my HAND ran across the patio. Just digging up a few weeds, moving some pots, watering, running from spiders (plural, I assume it has mates) and picking up sad, lost fallen plums from the grass made me so hot and sweaty I had to immediately jump in the shower.

Jo was busy in the kitchen, the oven belting out heat, roasting radishes and beetroot. She cubed cheese and made salad, packed up hummus, dips, posh crisps, nice fizzy juice. We were going for a picnic.

When you have a long weekend, the last night has a tinge of sadness. A back-to-school feeling that still hasn't shifted after all these years. Jo quite rightly said we shouldn't just stay in and let the final night of the weekend pass without fanfare, and we should go for a picnic on the beach; it was going to be high tide at 5. How amazing is it that we're able to do that? We invited a pal, packed up the foodie treats, and optimistically packed swimming wear and towels.

Walking down those hilly roads like Beach Avenue towards the seafront still fills me with a childish excitement despite living here for my whole life. How could you get tired of this? The tide was in and it sparkled madly. The beach was heaving. Our friend later joked "Why are all these people in my room?" Ha! It was so busy, but we found a spot by the shoreline. I couldn't wait, I walked right into the sea and swam, joyous, old people swimming past me and saying hello and smiling! I felt so happy in that moment: boats bobbing, sky blue, sun beating down, clear, warm water. Jo waved from the beach. After a jolly good swim I got out and dried off, and when our pal arrived, we ate the picnic goods.

Slowly, at the tide started to go out, families packed up their towels and inflatables and went home. We bumped into a group of friends also there for swimming. We chatted, ate, watched the beautiful view. We stayed until sunset when there was just a handful of people on the sand. The sky blazed gold, absurdly, everything a silhouette - trees, the station, birds, boats - dark shapes giving the sky permission to be the centre of attention.

I know I say it all the time but we are so insanely lucky to live by the coast. The show it puts on is staggering, and sometimes you need to extend your time off and just sit and watch it before the usual routine of work begins again.

We walked home. Showered and in fresh pjs, back in bed with a massive mug of tea and my book, full circle back to how the day began.


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