The Beach Diaries 2012 – #15

Previous: #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, #7, #8, #9, #10, #11, #12, #13, #14

* While the calendar says July, the sky insists it’s November. For the tourists, locals and workers on the beach, there’s a prevailing sense of feeling robbed. A crack heist team snuck into where they keep the blueprints for the seasons and switched the bright, colourful painting of laughing families and bikini chicks for a horrible imitation daubed entirely in grey.

Six weeks of cowering beneath hoods and putting the light on at four in the afternoon. And who knows how many summers any of us have left? Time moves so fast once you hit thirty, there’s scant remaining days where you’ve got the freedom to enjoy the sun while the ocean rolls over your toes. For some, this will be their last. I watch the elderly being pushed along in wheelchairs by their children, the plastic sheeting around their shoulders billowing in bitter winds, and wonder if they’ll ever have a nice sit down on a summer’s day again.

The boat-train has no customers, the lifeguards nobody to guard. The guy who hires the deckchairs is in for a winter of eating platefuls of sand. I’m struggling myself. Perhaps the biggest victims are the readers of these pieces, treated to chapter after chapter of introspective, wandering narrative, because people-watching is hard when all the people are gazing out of their kitchen windows, watching the patio furniture blow into the neighbour’s garden.

* Today, the weather is less moody than completely bipolar, and surprising crowds brave the prom, tempted by the stretches of scorching sun that cut through the regular bouts of five-minute rain. On. Off. On. Off. There’s a predictable madness to the downpours that cack from overhead the second you think it’s hot enough to take off your jacket. A group of people stare over at a section of the sky, where a definitive dark patch cuts a vertical line against the white of a friendly cloud. It’s rain, visibly falling some five-hundred-yards away, while we stand drying beneath blue. Barely three minutes later, and everyone’s running towards shelters on mad legs, besieged by a rain that falls so fast it stings the face.

* I need a celebrity to champion these pieces. A single tweet or link to push this shit viral. With the weather hobbling me, a C-list seal of approval would help balance things out. Text rarely goes viral though. There’s no instant gratification in ploughing through a thousand words, and you can’t auto-tune a block of text. If these were pretending to be written by a cat, I’d be a millionaire by now.

Your author, Reginald D. Cat or Something, oh fuck off

* There’s a sound of irritation from a passing man, a vocalised tut.

“I was so looking forwards to that as well.” On the ground behind him, a smashed chocolate ice-cream dies in the sun.

* At what age does that primal urge to climb leave us? The long bench is always filled with children eager to walk its entire length. Maybe there are people who never grow out of it, whose friends are constantly talking to their hips as they walk atop every garden wall they pass; the brave ones stepping over gates to carry on, the nervous jumping down and restarting on the other side. As a child, I was a jumper-off. Now though? Who knows.

* Overheard conversation snippets. Thirty-something woman to her parents.

“…I had three adults staring at me as I filled in that form. I struggled to fill it in. I was so vulnerable.”

* Someone sneezes four times, each a loud “BLESSYOOO!” Efficient, I think.

* A pair of men in their twenties play the “Bogies” game from Dick n Dom in da Bungalow, which for the uninitiated, involves shouting the word bogies with increasing volume in public places. A man they’re walking behind flinches so wildly he has to push his glasses back into place.

* Two incredibly middle-class little girls play ‘house’ by the big anchor, assigning imaginary places and things to real world objects. The bedrooms are at the top of the anchor, while the kitchen is the big chain, and the grains of sand on the ground are “all the couscous that we’ve got to eat.” There’s also a school on an island, and a bucket of goldfish, but it’s a really large bucket, “because then it’s not cruel.”

* In some toilets further along the coast — a portacabin that’s too small to turn around in — someone’s written in biro on a no smoking sign stuck to the back of the door.

“Please leave instructions for a bondage slave”

The complete collection (plus appendices) of 2011’s Beach Diaries are available to buy for the Amazon Kindle for £1.99/$2.99. If you don’t have a Kindle, Amazon have a free Kindle app for PC/Mac/phones/tablets, available right here.

The Beach Diaries 2011 on

The Beach Diaries 2011 on


~ by Stuart on July 9, 2012.

6 Responses to “The Beach Diaries 2012 – #15”

  1. The urge to climb /leaves/ you? Shit. I still have to fight the urge to stand on the second rung up wherever prom-railings meet at right angles, pretending I’m the Ultimate fucking Warrior or someone.

  2. I inventes the sport of freestyle walking, hopping on and off railings and benches as if on a skateboard. Then those parkour twats ruined EVERYTHING.

    If you need a funny mascot, I can offer my left testicle, currently swollen to three times its usual size. You could call him Testy.

    • So YOU’RE to blame for Parkour! Go throw yourself off a tall buil… oh.

      Sounds like I’ve located the mystery bondage slave, anyway.

  3. Smashed ice cream on a path in a false summer sounds like a lost Dostoevsky short story.

    Oh, and cats are terrible writers; mines doesn’t even know the difference between first and third person narrative! He’s such a hack.

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