Sunny days in April start a wave of expectation about day-trips to the seaside, picnics in the country and lazy afternoons in the garden. English weather is unpredictable enough that all sunny moments must be seized with abandon as far as I’m concerned.
So bags packed, picnic tucked away in cool-bag, walking sticks, dog, 2 beach chairs, bottles of water, dog, dog food, dog bowls, more water, doggy bags, cameras, phone, and we’re off. No we’re back again for water bottle. Off again. Back for extendable dog lead. And we’re off.
The teenage population of our house are still tucked up in bed. The days of taking excited small children with buckets and spades, changes of clothes and PJ’s to tuck them into for the drive home, are long over. We;ve hit the ‘seaside is boring’ stage. It’ll probably last other 10 years or so and they will be packing their SUV’s with enough luggage to start a shop.
New Brighton on the Wirral is oor destination. Only an hour or so away from home and the nearest bit of sea unless we head to North Wales. New Brighton is the cheap seats end of the English seaside. The view from the beach is across to the docks at Liverpool. The wind farms spin as the container ships move in stately fashion and drop their load.
The sweet sweet smell of candy floss and rock permeates the air and fish and chips with mushy peas are the order of the day for lunch sat on the prom. We walk down the beach to the left side of Fort Perch Rock, a brilliant name for the Napoleonic fort that still sits there proudly. The dog grins with ears flying backwards into the wind, constantly herding the two of us together in case we make a run for it,
We spend the afternoon tucked into the rocks on the other side of the fort. The sun is hot and my book is quickly dispensed with in favour of the more interesting occupation of people watching. All life is here. Families digging and building sand castles, the parents are so much keener than the kids. Kids digging holes and spending hours filling them with water from the sea. The water drains away between each trip, but nobody seems to mins. Mums yell at little ones, ” Don’t go in the water’, then laugh wryly as they all reappear soaking wet. ‘You’ll be going home on the train like that, son!’.
Teenage girls saunter nonchalantly in packs, mobile phones to hand, an eye out for boys, while the lads kick footballs and drink coke.
Older couples like us walk along the shore line hand in hand, chase the grand-kids, and sit and watch the world go by with a flask of tea.
As the sun starts to lose its warmth we pack up and head home after our ‘Grand Day Out’.