England (finally) heats up
04.08.2007 - 11.08.2007 23 °C
Summer at last! Poor rain-soaked England rallied the troops and finally managed to turn on the sun, at least for a week or so. So we hit the beach. Driving south to Swanage in Dorset, we were joined on the motorway by literally thousands of like-minded sunseekers, creating the mother of all traffic jams and turning a two-hour drive into a five hour crawl of pain. Still, we all put on our best smiles as the sun had got his hat on and was coming out to play, as the song goes. Coming from Australia, I’ve seen my fair share of packed beaches. I grew up at Cottesloe Beach in W.A. and now Sydney’s Bondi is my local. Never have I seen a beach so busy. Ne-ver. There were youngies and oldies, fatties and skinny-ies, babies, families, trendies… you name it, they were there turning an unflattering shade of lobster. And there were beach balls, tents, mats, towels, windbreaks, kites, boats, huts, blow-up animals, liloes and even flagpoles (yep, two separate, forward-thinking beachgoers had brought their own flapoles so their mates could track them down). It was a rainbow of colourful chaos, like a clown had thrown up.
Our visit coincided with the annual beer festival in nearby Studland (no, I’m not making that name up), at the ye-olde Bankes’ Arms. With over 200 different beers and 30 ciders all in one tent, we could see we’d be there a while. Throw in some live music, a barbeque and a gorgeous sea view, and a fine afternoon-that-became-evening was had by all.
We did all the English-beachy things like getting sunburnt, eating breaded scampi with chips laced with vinegar, licking clotted-cream ice creams on the pier, fighting for our place on the sand and collapsing each evening with a (warm) ale.
The day we left, it rained, and the grey skies kept the temperature to a minimum. Well, I guess that was the English summer over for another year.