The Beach Diaries 2012 – #33

Previous: #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, #7, #8, #9, #10, #11, #12, #13, #14, #15, #16, #17, #18, #19, #20, #21, #22, #23, #24, #25, #26, #27, #28, #29, #30, #31, #32

* Wednesday. I’m half-sat, half-laying, nestled in the loop of the rollercoaster-shaped long bench that stabs through the inside of the wonky shelter. Gob-fulls of aggressive rain hammer the roof; raindrops slide along the underneath like mascara-streaked tears. I didn’t get caught in a sudden downpour — it’s been raining for hours, long before I left the house. It’s just another day where I couldn’t stand to be indoors. In hindsight, it seems like a bad idea. Not the weather — I love being out in the rain — but the idea that I’d find some distraction down here. There’s not another soul along the entire, sodden seafront. This is like that awful period of the day that unhappy people dread the most, between lights-out and sleep, where you’re robbed of any and all outside diversion, and there’s no hiding from those thoughts you keep at bay with movies, music and wanking.

A Scotsman and his family stop under the shelter for a minute or two, shaking the rain from their shoulders. They give me a wide berth, pushing against the far wall, even though it’s dripping on their heads. I’m little more than a pair of hollow eyes staring out from the shadow of a hood, and I expect I look like a mad junkie, or a drifter that moves from town to town to avoid detection of all the murders I do. What’s in my backpack? Probably burned tinfoil, or someone else’s fingers.

The Bench. No, really.

* Friday. The sun’s decided to drop by for another visit, although in truth, the weather’s like the smiles of the pretty uni girls shaking charity tins at you as you pass them in the highstreet. It looks warm enough, but beneath the veneer, it’s cold and rather unpleasant, and even though you feel like you could, if you took off your shirt, things would get nasty pretty quickly.

* A stall in the centre of town tries to sell wills to passers by, in case I should fall in the river and drown today, and my mum would go to war with the family dog over ownership of my notebooks and a Battlefield 3 account with over 5,000 confirmed M60 kills.

* A boy trips as he’s walking atop the long bench. His mother peppers the squealing child with loving oh dears and kisses, before suddenly losing her patience on the turn of a dime, and transitioning right into “You’re an idiot. You’re so stupid. Everything you do is stupid.”

* Overheard conversation snippets. A bloke to his mate.

“Nah, I’m not going all the way up there. It’s too far, and I’ve got a headache in my arse.”

* A middle-class mother passes with two small children trailing behind on scooters.

“Do you know what, guys? I’ve felt very sad today with your bad behaviour. And when daddy hears about it, he’ll be even sadder.” I’ve a feeling that either way, daddy will be pretty fucking sad at the sound of this woman’s key going in the front door.

* A twelve-year-old boy runs across the road to his friend, his face screwed into a ballbag of disgust.

“It stinks in that car. Your dad has got the worst BO, mate.”

* Saturday. Blue skies for a couple of hours. This is all that remains now. A patchwork of snatched half-days. Then it’s nine months of gale force rain and putting the light on before The Chase is finished.

* A grandmother sitting on the prom waves at the train with some little kids as it trundles past. Some passengers cheerily return the wave — parents with small children in their laps, or the elderly. In the carriage at the back, a ten-year-old girl ignores them, sourly, her eyes defiantly facing forwards as though she can’t even bear to acknowledge such terribly embarrassing behaviour.

“Ooh,” yells the grandmother, “Aren’t you too cool for school? Too cool for school!

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 September 3, 2012.

9 Responses to “The Beach Diaries 2012 – #33”

  1. I really can’t help reading the middle-class mum’s dialogue in the voice of Neil from The Young Ones.

  2. That bench is [i]amazing[/i].

    • For years, they talked about how we were going to have THE LONGEST BENCH IN THE WORLD, and everyone who lived here moaned because the money should have been spent on a hospital or orphanage instead. But when they finally build it, they ran out of money anyway, so it’s merely THE LONG BENCH.

      A couple of years ago, we were supposed to have a giant bucket and spade built behind the coastguard tower, literally just a bucket and spade, twenty feet high, but that’s not materialised. Oh, Littlehampton.

  3. Don’t give up the day job.

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