Last week was what they call “half-term” week, or school holiday time. This has a dramatic impact on lots of things here in Cornwall, including traffic on the roads, and people in the shops. But what you notice most is the impact it has on the number of people at the beach.
The weather during half-term wasn’t that great, in fact it was downright awful a lot of the time. But did that stop the Brits from using the beaches? Nooooooo.
One day I ran to Pentire Point when it was blowing a steady 30 knots, with a light rain and very heavy seas. As I crossed the beach at Polzeath I expected it to be empty. But what did I see instead? A packed parking lot, and two hundred or more people in wet suits. Though through my glasses streaked with rain it looked more like a convention of harbor seals hanging out after the herring run.
The two photos on this entry are of Polzeath beach. The first photo shows it in the sunshine (that’s Pentire Point on the right side of the picture). The second photo is the same beach on a rainy day. Unfortunately I didn’t have my camera with me when I was running, because this photo was taken after the half-termers had left and there weren’t all that many people in the water or cars in the parking lot (the cars are off to the left).
If this had been anywhere in the States – East coast, West coast, any coast for that matter – the beach would have been empty, and people would have been standing around in their down parkas commenting on the one fool out in the water. But that’s not what happens here. Rain, cold, gray, you name it, doesn’t matter, the Brits are going to the beach.
What I think we’ve got here is a whole country that’s a bit tetched in the head when it comes to the beach.
And I mean that in the absolute nicest possible way.
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