It’s very rare that we get a rain-free Bank Holiday in England, but this year’s late-summer Bank Holiday fortunately bucked the infamous trend with hot sun and relatively warm temperatures. Perfect for one last getaway to the beach before the cooler autumn weather set in. 😎☀🍁🍂
Aiming for an early morning start, we drove almost the exact same route we went down the last time we’d been to Margate, including zipping across the Dartford Crossing Bridge with vast views of the Thames estuary and central London, catching glimpses of the county’s famed apple harvests, and seeing wind turbines upon the sea generating green energy for the region and the wider nation.
Arriving in Margate, the beach appeared a lot more packed with people than last time, which I put down to them trying to enjoy the Bank Holiday and soak up the year’s last rays of summer sunshine. The sea had partly caved in on the beach due to the rising tide, leaving huge pools of warmed-up seawater where kids splashed around, dug holes in the submerged sand, and fished with nets.
I’d only eaten cinnamon cereal for breakfast that morning, so we decided to start our day at a nearby café to fill up on some carbohydrates. I had some simple toast and butter with a drink of tangy, spicy ginger beer (not alcoholic, despite the name), although the toast wasn’t the ordinary white-bread toast I was used to – it was a seeded bloomer loaf with raisins baked in, making it taste sweet and salty with the butter.
Because I didn’t want to waste away the sun, I wanted to get onto the beach as soon as possible, so I decided to make a space for myself upon the golden sand. We set up shop a safe distance away from the sea, and with my water-shoes on, I sprinted down the sand into the water. The sea was already encroaching on the beach, and some unlucky people had already had their belongings soaked because they’d made their space too close to it – some of their sandals were even afloat in the water!
The sea wasn’t too cold, just cool. I was still cautious about soaking myself up to the top of my head because I didn’t want to fill my nose and mouth with burning salty seawater, as per what happened to Dartmouth in Life is a Beach. Once my body had built up enough resistance to the relative coolness of the water, I enjoyed blissfully splashing about pretending I was a Primarina surfing around the blue Hawaiian seas of Alola.
Every so often, I would come out of the sea back onto the sand to warm my body back up and grab some bites to eat and a drink to refresh myself. We’d brought a few foods we’d gotten the day before with us, like a big bag of roast chicken and thyme crisps and a packet of pink and white marshmallows. I also spent long hours combing the beach with a Costa coffee cup in hand, picking out seashells of all sizes, shapes and colours, mussels, dark and orange sea snail shells, and interestingly-coloured shards of sea glass in shades of green, blue and black.
Before leaving for home, we stopped over at a pub just a literal stone’s throw away from the beach, where some live music was being played by a local musician to backdrop me feasting on a suitably nautical dinner of fish and chips with green garden peas, salad and a glass of tingly lemonade. I finished off my seaside supper with a cup of Belgian chocolate ice cream topped with two Cadbury Flake chocolates while looking out to the sea on the harbour steps, where I caught a surprise glimpse of some people fishing for crabs in the water.
Unlike last time, we took a slightly different route back into London from Margate, entering via the Blackwall Tunnel, which was not as full as it was always made out to be. The setting sun lit up the darkening late-summer skies with blazing tones of red, orange and dark blue, a picturesque Instagram-worthy ending to my day at the beach.
While autumn may be on its way, I can always choose it to be summer in the art world, as proven by these drawings keeping the beach vibes alive (although I drew them just before, not after, the beach trip):