On the beach

I realise I’ve been back from France for a few months and have been a neglectful host – I haven’t taken you to the beach.

We live about 100 to 150 metres from the sea, or if you don’t do metric a couple of roads back or a two minute walk. The sea dominates our little town, that huge expanse of water is around a corner, beyond some rooftops or down the hill.

We like to take a stroll along the promenade and then drop down onto the beach. There is always something to look at, to re-visit, to enjoy. I think of the lines from a Billy Bragg song “Come on down the beach is free”. There are rock pools to explore, groynes to scramble over, pebbles to crunch on, shells to find, sand to discover when the tide goes out, seaweed left on the high tide mark, footprints to follow. The sea to stare at.

There are gulls on the beach, in the water in the air. Their raucous cries a soundtrack to life on the coast. On a blustery sunny Sunday they soar and swoop so agile on the thermals.

At the right time of day with the tide on the turn we watch them picking up mussels in their beaks, rising up then dropping the mussels onto the pebbled beach; time and time again they soar, drop and swoop until the shell can be prized apart. Moules Marinières anyone?

And on we walk, walking into the wind, filling your lungs, picking you up, blowing those cobwebs away. Stretch your arms out and feel the wind run through and around your body.

And as the promenade peeters out the action starts in earnest – the windsurfers and kitesurfers are out, lapping up the choppy water, finding the wind and scudding along the waves, leaping and jumping in the air, to turn and race back to the beach, a deft turn around and off they go again into the mist and the haze of the sun. The energy they use and the energy they gain is visible to the mind of the watcher.

And back we walk, the wind behind us, pushing us home, to take a turn up away from the promenade to the quiet streets where the wind is dulled and doesn’t blow so hard. The quietness strikes you as you step away – the wind is no longer in your ears and in your head. You wipe the salt spray from your glasses, maybe smooth down your hair and quietly and gently walk home.

Most of the photos were taken by my partner as I was too busy arms outstretched into the wind appreciating the effect of the cobwebs being blown away!

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56 thoughts on “On the beach

    • Now where did my reply go? Into the ether I think!

      There are times when we don’t even go for a stroll onto the beach, slack I know. But the layout of our town means that to get from one end to the next, the easiest way is along the promenade. A bonus if it is sunny, a bugger if it is raining!!

  1. Great to finally see your beach, because as I’m sure you know, I’m a HUGE beach person! (If not for my Italian blood, I’d be a terrible shrivelled up raisin from all the time spent there!)
    FYI, Maggie is over in Ireland now and set some pics from the beach at Galway; the rocks in your first photo, as well as the light mist in the shot a few below it, have the beaches looking quite similar. Is this actually the case?
    Anyway, next time you’re beachside (as we say here), wave to me…there’s a good chance I’ll be on the other side of the pond and waving back! ;)

    • I’m going to adopt the expression beachside :)
      Sadly I’ve never been to Galway, I hear it’s very beautiful, lucky Maggie!
      And did you see me waving today ;) I was there in a cafe overlooking the sea, and it was beautifully calm and sunny!

  2. Thankfully you live near this beach.. because I got to go strolling along with you this morning. Your photos and writing were so refreshingly real.. I felt transported.. and I really, really needed a beach walk this morning!! xoxo

    • Aww Smidge how beautiful is that, I got to take you for a walk this morning! I should take you on a stroll when I walk to my early morning yoga class on Monday’s, when it is calm and quiet it’s just magical – eventhough the road is nearby and I live in a busy part of the country, it’s still magical to look out to sea and breathe…..

  3. I enjoyed your walk on the beach! All that fresh air is wondrous for sorting out and clearing one’s mind. We live a half hour drive from the coast and often enjoy it’s windy pleasures.

    • We’ve had a couple of very calm days here, hardly a breath of air and the sea has been as flat as a millpond, so different from these photos! There is something so special about walking along a beach, anywhere in the world, and being swept along! I’m sure your local beaches are just beautiful Deb.

    • My pleasure :) I love large lakes they have their own weather systems don’t they, sunny at oneend, cloudy at the other, watching the clouds roll in, and the water get a bit choppy, or watching a storm come up the lake. I think I just love being near water :)

  4. I’ve only been to the seaside once. I feel so deprived after looking at these wonderful pictures. Sigh … you’re so fortunate to be able to stroll along that beach and enjoy the air and scenery. :)

      • I’ve lived south of Detroit, Michigan for the last 50 yrs of my life in what is termed, “The City of Roses,” but the Detroit River (a brisk 5 min walk away) just doesn’t compare to living on the channel coast and driving up to take the Chunnel into France. :)

    • Oh estuaries are very different aren’t they! I have friends who live in Whistable on the north Kent coast and the sea there is totally different, a really different feel to it. I know this sea is the English Channel, but sometimes I look out and forget where it is, and just breath :)

  5. Lovely! I grew up just a short drive from the ocean, but now I live a few hours inland and I miss the beach so much! We have beautiful rivers and lakes here, but it’s just not the same as the ocean! I’m going to visit my family for the weekend, so hopefully I’ll get my fix tomorrow!

  6. The more you speak of your little hamlet, the more wonderful it becomes. The coast is but 150 meters away? I fear my garden would suffer as I would spend much of my time strolling the beach. I lived here, on The Lake, and walked the shoreline often in every season. I just love the wind, water, shoreline, you name it.

    • There is something so refreshing and exhilarating about walking along a shoreline John, I’m with you on that one! The largest lake I’ve visited is Lake Garda in Italy, and I adored the scale of it, the mountains surrounding it, the clouds building up and crossing it, the water getting choppy or changing colour in different light. And of course finding a terrace to sit on in the early evening for an aperitif :) I could watch it for hours, so I imagine your lake, and the scale of it would be beautiful and very inspiring and energising!
      And yes, there are times when the garden does get neglected, but as my stomach is always calling me I’m reminded to weed and water so as to put some food on the table :)

  7. What beautiful photos, and what a beautiful place to live, Claire! I live inland from the coast, but see the ocean at least once a week, and find myself there just as often as I can make it happen. It is transformative! I would love to live as close as you do! I’m so glad you shared a closer look…and it’s fun to see that sea gulls look the same all over the world! What a delight…I’d REALLY be breathing lighter if I had this view! :-) Debra

    • He he, seagulls do look the same don’t they, and they are just as noisy and cheeky! They are nesting at the moment and the noise from the rooftops is crazy – a literal early morning wake up call!
      So pleased you enjoyed your stroll with me Debra :)

  8. How did I miss this lovely post? I’m so glad I finally found it. I’m surrounded by water here, but rarely get to the beach anymore unless I’m entertaining company. After hearing of your day, and seeing these lovely photos, I’m newly resolved to spend more time there. Thank you!

    • You know Cindy there are weeks when we don’t go onto the beach, sometimes life catches you up in it’s whirl and before you know it you haven’t had a chance to unwind and stretch out, even if it’s just for a short walk watching the world and the waves go by.

    • I think it’s hard work, although I’ve never tried it. I used to sail a bit and have tried windsurfing (which I was useless at!) \nd if you look at the guys who do the kitesurfing they are all fit, muscly and strong – none of which I can lay claim to :)

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