Beside the Seaside
There is something timeless about the British seaside holiday. When I was a child we’d visit my grandparents, who had a beach hut at Studland on the Dorset coast. I would spend happy afternoons playing elaborate games in the sand, interrupted only by Granny leaping from the beach hut in her skirted bathing suit, calling out to me: ‘Galey darling, we are going for a swim!’ This would fill me with terror: I had still not yet learnt to swim. ‘Nonsense!’ she’d say, diving in. When I refused to go further than mid-shin, she’d put a thumb to her nose and surge off in a no-nonsense breaststroke. This daily ordeal taught me that a family holiday by the sea is not a straightforwardly happy affair: there are always, as my mum would say, good bits and bad bits.