English seaside tourism really is something to behold. I watched the spectacle again yesterday afternoon as the wide sandy beach was divided into territories. With not a breath of air the wind breaks were still deployed as demarcation of property lines. Swingball, coolers and blankets are all put to use defining each families area of sand. The early arrivals secured waterside real estate with later arrivals having to tread a careful path through them to reach the ocean.
Now this is where nature (not Ms Nature) has her fun, at the expense of tourists who seem to have the memory of a goldfish. As the tide comes in so they move to higher ground. Estates shrink, barriers come down and people get closer. By mid afternoon tightly packed groups are clinging to the rock breakwaters and it’s standing room only on Albion beach. Like some sort of theatre they play out life in town as wide open spaces are exchanged for close proximity and tight spaces.
I wrote about the garbage issue with tourism yesterday, nature has her way of punishing that as well. Locals all know that Albion beach is not where you want to spend your time. Tourists bury their rubbish in the sand you see, presumably under some misguided belief that the ocean cleans it. The Albion beach only gets washed by the sea at the highest of tides. In effect the force of nature corrals the tourists into their own trash pit.
Lovely to see my friends doing a good trade this weekend. I did try and explain to their young barmaid that being exhausted and stinking of beer is the mark of a good shift but I don’t think I convinced her. For me the best shifts were those where I collapsed into bed too tired to shower. I am convinced stale beer helps with the aches and pains but, like a sticky bar floor, it is certainly the mark of a busy shift. It is also interesting how many people can run a busy pub. When a pub is full and turnover high everyone could do a better job, I never hear the same conversations on deathly January nights. Look at the number of failed pubs, behind every one of them is someone that could do it better. The skill of the publican is not just reflected in how he copes with busy times. It is more accurately reflected in how he copes with the quiet months, there is an awfully long year to ammortise brief profits over.
I discovered that Sean has added a virtual tour to his driftwood web page this weekend. It was almost as good as being there to walk through the photographs. I could almost feel the sand on the concrete floor and the sun burning through the windows. The pictures were shot on a nice day and looking out over the emerald ocean I swear I could feel the breeze coming through those windows and taste a cold Coors. A look at his merchandise display found a ‘sorry all items are currently out of stock’ I remember trying to purchase a driftwood teddy a few summers ago for an absent friend. When told they were out of stock I tried to talk Mona into selling me one from the display cabinet only to find it is sealed. They had the cabinet built around the merchandise meaning the only way in was to smash the glass! There is a lesson there I am sure. Mona managed to find me a spare teddy in the end and so the last bear to leave the driftwood made its way to Essex, I wonder where it is now….
Bring on the Appley