Seaside holidays are part of most people’s childhood memories. For us, living in Cambridge, Norfolk was the nearest place to go. We didn’t have a car so I guess we must have taken a coach; we would have packed our suitcases and gone to the bus station and caught a bus… did we have to catch a second bus to get to the holiday camp we always went to? I have no idea and sadly anyone who could tell me is no longer with us. We went to Hopton, a small village on the coast, to a holiday camp.
Now we live on the west coast, not the east, and we actually live in a seaside town. Anyone who has read the book or seen the film of Brighton Rock by Graham Greene will know seaside towns are strange places. Holiday makers might get a snapshot of an idyll, but living here all the year round you have a different view. Seaside towns attract a lot of people, some looking for seasonal work, some put into bed and breakfast accommodation by distant local authorities, some resident in rehab places…
We went to he south coast recently, to Brighton. Brighton was probably the first modern seaside town, made famous by the royal family in the eighteenth century when they took up sea bathing. When we visited the sun was beaming down, people were wandering about enjoying themselves, eating ice-creams, paddling, going on rides, all the things you would expect.
We stayed overnight in a small hotel; as we arrived we notice a man lying on a mattress covered in blankets and with a few boxes, bags and empty bottles beside him. As we went out to go for a walk, the man was engaged in a foul-mouthed exchange with a plump young woman and a lanky lad; it was obvious that they had been drinking, and passers-by hurried on, glancing over their shoulders to look. When we returned the young woman was sitting on the blankets, with the man who was still lying there, shouting at people, the lad had disappeared. We went out for a meal,, and on our return, the three of them were sleeping covered in the blankets… jus there in the street as people passed by… and the next morning,they were still there,awake and with bottles and cans already open beside them…
The other side of seaside towns.
When I was a lad my parents took my brother and I to Blackpool on a beautiful motor-coach. My dad told us whoever spotted the tower first would get sixpence. I don’t remember if I won. In the morning a handsome man dressed in a white jacket would ring the gong to summon us for breakfast.. I still miss the ride on the donkey.We didn’t see any vagrants or I would have remembered .
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We still have donkeys in Weston! Weston has been on the news with a new exhibition by the artist Banksy – quite controversial!
The trouble with bums and vagrants is that they make you feel guilty at being able to afford a nice holiday that you have saved and waited for so long. A bum at our local bar forced himself upon our table and began to tell my wife how lucky I was to have such a lovely house, new car and piles of money etc. My wife told him that I worked long and hard all my life to have all these things and if he got a job he’d be lucky to. Nuff said!