July 17th, 2008

Wanaka tree

The other side of the seaside

Having been to a few quiet, beautiful and empty seaside places recently I thought I should show you something of the other side of things, the things I had deliberately tried to avoid. The British seaside holiday is long established and is embedded in the national identity just as much as cream teas, queuing, class distinction, fish and chips and, an inability to use apostrophes correctly! Ever since workers from Britain's industrial cities were granted holidays they have swarmed to the very edges of the country in the hope of a little sunshine, a little extravagance and a lot of complaining. I'm slightly embarrassed to say that the seaside holiday has become as much a part of my country's engrained culture as standing stones, cathedrals and cricket. 

Not far from where I live is one of those former Victorian seaside resorts that is still clinging on to the past that it undoubtedly has and the future it probably doesn't. I have always thought of Burnham on Sea as 'The Last Resort'. My parents used to take me there, and all my friends, when it was my birthday. 'That's nice', I hear you all say. Well, my birthday is at the end of January and at that time of year Burnham is empty, bleak, windy, cold and dingey. Going to Burnham in winter is like seeing a majestic ocean liner half way through a refit; it's still the same shape and still the same thing but looks nothing like you want it to.

I seem to have kicked over Burnham's sand castle. Let's build it up again. I really enjoyed being there on Sunday. The sun was shining and it had a 'life' to it that most of the other places I had visited recently lacked. It's definitely got some great redeeming features and I hope I managed to capture a few of them with my camera.

Burnham has this unique, strange and quite pleasing lighthouse standing on the beach on nine legs.

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