Yesterday was the start of the season for all of us that live by the coast. This is not a government mandated date or some other fixed event but a completely arbitrary occurrence . Guessing when the season will start can be the difference between a good weekends takings and a weekend of missed opportunities but, sadly, there isn’t a lot of help in making the call.
Traditionally weather was a prerequisite but now it’s rather the opposite in that a terrible forecast can postpone the season start but a good one is rarely believed and therefore doesn’t advance the season. School holidays are similarly awkward in that whilst there may be an uplift of bodies poor weather may mean they never be venture out. So how is it that I can confidently tell you that the first weekend of March is truly the opening of the 2015 season ? Allow me to share with you the tried and tested indicators.
Firstly the town is awash with shorts. There is some unwritten code for a section of the population that mandates shorts when at the coast. This particular indication is only available in adult men, I have no idea why. So what you’re looking for is a family where mum and the kids are wrapped in winter coats and dad is wearing shorts, find this and you are on the right track.
Next up is chips, the fried potato kind of course. It Is estimated* that for every additional family in the town an extra 2 tons of potatoes are fried. It is believed that there are no chip shops further inland or that the sight of fields of potatoes on the route to the coast triggers some primeval urge to feast on the fried delights.
Look out for people as well, not just the increase in numbers but the type. You will see examples of modern fashions far beyond what we are used to by the coast. As the tourists arrive we will see fashions that are clearly so advanced as to seem, well, a little weird to us. It is ok though because the tourists are a friendly bunch who will take the time to speak slowly and carefully, in between obscenities, so that we can keep up. The pub will be invaded because apparently these don’t exist elsewhere in the country anymore and be prepared for incredulity that beer is so cheap here at the coast. Please remember that in a tourists eyes it is as if we have all just stood sill and waited for the next season so don’t be surprised if they don’t notice any changes it is simply because they live their life at town speed.
The final confirmation is really the result of all of the above and it is litter, or rather volumes of it. Apparently out in the real world bins are obsolete and you simply drop your garbage whereupon a laser seeks it out and vaporises it before it even hits the ground, the system also reduced the desire for feline acrobatics in early testing. Out here at the coast we don’t have such complicated things as lasers, smart phones or modern gangster language so unfortunately the garbage hits the street and remains there. We do employ an army of seagulls, we starve them all winter, to eat as much of the discarded food as they can but we just can’t tease them into diapers. All winter we run training programs trying to get what we lovingly call the flying rats to eat discarded diapers but I’m afraid that we have still not achieved more than cursory peck.
So as I wade through the empty beer cans, chips and diapers listening to the chorus of recently fed seagulls I can be confident that the season has started.
*Estimations carried out at the bar and may not pass scientific scrutiny