Gosh it’s hot. Not that you’ll find me complaining, but gosh, it’s hot. I’m sure it’s not that much hotter than other hot summer days I’ve enjoyed in the past, but the never-ending winter and huge downpours preceding this lovely sunny spell seem to have thrown out my internal barometer. Either that, or I’ve been eating too much tuna and the mercury has got to me. But as I say, you won’t find me complaining, and I’ll be perfectly happy if god/mother nature/whoever decides to keep the stat up to max for the next five or six weeks or so too, because if there is one thing that I and all parents know it is that SKOOL HOLIDAYS AND FOUL WEATHER DO NOT MIX!

But gosh it’s hot…

One big negative about skool hols and lovely weather, though, is that you have to grab your opportunities where you can and make hay while the sun shines. We’ve been doing exactly that, and since Sunday it’s been a pretty much endless cycle of cycling round lakes and through woods and me caddying for Ben while he hacks his way around some of the local golf courses. We’re off in a mo to Whitstabubble to look at the oysters (that’s not a euphemism, by the way) and won’t be back until late. All of which means I’m completely knackered when I am indoors, and busy either cooking, repairing bikes or cleaning up the pigsty we lovingly refer to as ‘home’.

Which is my excuse for not writing a ‘proper’ blog this week…

In lieu, here’s a bit of old toffee I wrote YEARS ago as a free-writing exercise on ‘childhood memories’, which caught my eye because it is about a trip to the seaside, though not Whitstabubble and featuring winkles rather than oysters:

I am on the beach at Hastings with my family. We have found our usual place just opposite the amusement arcade that marks the beginning of the “Lanes” section of the town. There’s an indoor market here in one of the tarred, wood-faced buildings, and a mixture of tatty ornament-come-sweet-shops and slightly less tatty jewellers and clothes outlets. Mum likes this spot because there is a prize-bingo hall right on the beach itself, tucked behind a small and cheap arcade where my brother and I can amuse ourselves without needing to cross the busy road. There’s a target shooting machine in there that gives you your sixpence back if you can get eighteen or more bulls-eyes with twenty shots. We’re experts on it, and can play for hours without losing our precious pocket-money.

Mum will spend most of her day in that bingo hall, sweating on a hot day in spite of the fan turning lazy circles on the ceiling above her head. Her heavy framed tortoiseshell glasses are decorated with clip-on sun visors which she can lower or raise on tiny hinges. In the morning she wears them up, but as the sun moves around the building in the afternoon it reflects on the mirrored surface behind the caller, and she lowers them to get a better view of the bingo board fixed to the counter in front of her. Her hair is bright – peroxide – blonde, and she wears make up she applies from a gold compact with a soft, round cloth, checking her face in a mirror hidden in the compact’s lid.

The beach smells of fish – we are close to the fish market and boatyard – but there are diesel and petrol fumes too from the pleasure boats and main road traffic. And there’s that seaside smell too, of course; that electric smell of ozone and salt that makes you feel sleepy and alive all at the same time.

At lunchtime mum leaves the bingo hall and unpacks our picnic of hard-boiled eggs, meat-paste sandwiches and crisps, and Auntie Nancy treats us to a bag of chips each. After that we smell of vinegar, a scent that lingers until we’re finally allowed back into the sea after a half-hour “safe” period without more food.

That evening I smell vinegar again. Mum has stopped at the fish-market for her annual treat, and is patiently unpicking a pint of winkles from their shells at the kitchen table. She is sandwiching them between two slices of Mother’s Pride bread and smothering them with Sarson’s malt from a sprinkler bottle in the kitchen larder. Bingo, a day’s respite from bored kids and the whole lot topped off with a winkle sandwich. That’s what she paid her sixpence a week into the Oak Road Outing social fund for, and worth every penny it was too…

IN OTHER NEWS: You’d have thought, wouldn’t you, that somebody would have told Ralph Lauren about Cockney Rhyming Slang before he launched his new ‘Big Pony’ Collection – especially the ‘fragrances for women’ that are being heavily advertised on TV at the moment. I can’t watch it without sniggering (I know, pathetic, isn’t it *tsk*), and neither can Ben since I explained the etymology to him…

IN OTHER OTHER NEWS: Didn’t make it to Whistabubble in the end as the friend Ben was hoping to meet up with pulled the plug on us. So it was golf again, with me lugging clubs in the sweltering heat while Ben worked himself up into a frenzy because it all went tits up after a brilliant first hole. What with it being so hot I asked Ben if he had a spare hat I could wear… he rummaged in his bedroom drawer and pulled out three. I had a choice between a Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch miniature railway legionnaires hat (with a drop down flap to protect the neck), a ‘Lego Racers’ beanie hat or a Chuckle Brothers baseball cap. I’ll leave it to you, to you, dear reader, to guess which one I picked as the lesser of three evils (see what I did there?). 😀

One More Time Now…











OH – PS: Thank you very much to those peeps who have taken the time to hit the Facebook ‘like’ button on my last few posts (this mostly applies to my Moonfruit site, which gets the posts first, but looks awful on a mobile!), it really is appreciated. I do know from the google statistics thingy that I get a good number of visitors each week, but I get almost zero in the way of feedback, good or bad! Assuming it’s not a different crowd finding me by accident each week, I take the ‘hit rate’ thingy as a good indication, but it’s nice to have something a bit more tangible now and again 😀 x


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