Surfing the Sea

Since 1995

Day-Trip to Southend — Jun 24, 2020

Day-Trip to Southend

Southend beachfront

Summer has now well and truly arrived. A heatwave making the UK hotter than Ibiza made perfect weather for my latest outing to the beach in Southend-on-Sea.

Southend-on-Sea, or most popularly just called Southend, is a coastal town in the county of Essex, 40 miles from London – making it the closest seaside resort to the capital. Its pier is the longest pleasure pier in the world, stretching nearly two miles from the beach out to sea, and it is also home to the Adventure Island theme park, which is filled with rollercoasters, Ferris wheels and even bumper cars. (While the pier and park are usually packed with holidaygoers, on this occasion and due to the current circumstances surrounding COVID-19, it was totally empty – looking almost like it came out of a post-apocalyptic film.)

Southend Pier a mile out

Much to my surprise, the beach I went to was rather small, being only a little patch of sand and the sea taking up much of the space. There was also a natural lagoon formed out of a cove of large boulders filled with water from the sea constantly pounding nearby. Trying out the water in both, I found the actual sea was a tiny bit warmer than the water in the lagoon!

Because the beach was so small, high tide swallows it up entirely – small rocky slopes stop it coming up to dry land. As the afternoon went on, the sea started creeping up on our tiny patch of sand – and as we were leaving, it had already soaked several unlucky beachgoers’ belongings! 😱

While Southend may be the closest seaside town to London, it isn’t really much of a resort as say, Brighton or even Margate. It does have the aforementioned theme park and pier, but away from the sea, it may just look like any other town in England. Southend mostly stopped being a holiday destination from the 1960s onwards, due to the rise of holidays abroad in Spain and other more exotic locales, but it is home to many commuters who make their way to London every day for work. I’d say Southend is more for the people who actually live there, and if you want to really just relax on the beach, you’d probably be better off going to Brighton or Margate. They might be a bit more further afield, but the beaches are certainly bigger and better. πŸ–οΈπŸŒŠ

Southend sunset

Truro and Yarmouth – First Anniversary (2020) — Jun 15, 2020

Truro and Yarmouth – First Anniversary (2020)

Truro x Yarmouth - First Wedding Anniversary
Truro x Yarmouth – First Wedding Anniversary

Today is a very special day for Truro and Yarmouth Deuville; it’s the first anniversary of their wedding. Though it’s been a year, it still feels like yesterday that they walked down the aisle, exchanged their vows, and shared their first wedded kiss. (June also happens to be Pride Month – a double celebration for LGBTQ+ couples just like Truro and Yarmouth!) πŸ³οΈβ€πŸŒˆπŸŒˆ

I drew them here in their wedding outfits as a throwback to that happy day, the memories of which are contained in this mini-gallery:

Happy first anniversary, and may you celebrate many more anniversaries in the years to come!


Copic Collection App — Jun 8, 2020

Copic Collection App

Copic Collection app New Release 2.1

The good folks at Copic always think of everything. Not only do they provide ink refills and replaceable nibs for every single one of their 360 marker colours, but they now even have an app!

Copic Collection Screenshot 001

The app, which is available for both Apple iOS and Android devices, is a handy way to keep track of all the colours you have in your Copic collection – and those you want to buy. All 360 colours are shown in the five different sizes of marker – Original (or Classic), Ciao, Sketch and Wide, plus all the ink refills. To add a marker to your collection, you simply tap on it; tapping twice adds it to your “shopping list”, so this is useful if there’s a certain colour you need but don’t yet own. You can also browse the range by a spectrum list, showing you a sample of the selected colour.

Copic Collection Screenshot 002

Selecting the “Stock” option filters the view to only show those markers you own to provide a more accurate picture of your collection. You can also filter by type of pen or colour family (e.g. BV shows only those colours in the Blue-Violet family, while Ciao only shows colours available as a Ciao marker).

Copic Collection Screenshot 003

The app also contains a map showing Copic stores near you (for the moment, however, it only seems to show locations in Japan, where the Copic corporation is based), and you can even select colours from a photo or an artwork and match them to their nearest Copic counterparts. If you switch or upgrade your devices, you can transfer data to the other device so you don’t lose track of your collection.

Copic Collection Screenshots 004

Copic Collection App is available to download on the Apple App Store (for iOS) and Google Play Store (for Android).

Day-Trip to Margate 2020 — Jun 2, 2020

Day-Trip to Margate 2020

Margate beachfront

Summer has finally arrived, so I thought a day-trip to the beach just had to be in order! This time, I went to Margate. This is not the first time I’ve been there – I’ve been to Margate once or twice previously, but I did not have a dog at either of those times, so this one was a little bit different.

While dogs are obviously seen around town, they are not permitted on the main beaches of Margate between May and September, which is obviously the peak of the summer season. Luckily, there are plenty of other beaches nearby which do allow our four-legged friends, and one of them is Westbrook Bay, just to the west of the main shore. πŸ•πŸΆ

Westbrook Bay often has considerably less people than the main sands, which can be great for people who just want to relax on the beach or want to take their dog walking (or swimming!) However, there are quite a lot of rocks, especially at low tide, so you might want to take a pair of shoes for swimming in so that you don’t hurt or cut your feet. The rocks may look hard, but when hit hard enough, they crumble apart and reveal a chalky white interior, which turns the water milky.

On this particular occasion when I visited the beach, there was a lot of seaweed floating in the sea and on the rocks, which made getting to the sea itself a somewhat slippery experience. I even found a tiny jellyfish in a mound of seaweed, which luckily didn’t have a sting in it, but there are also crabs who can pinch you if you take a wrong step. The one in the photo below was already dead, so I didn’t have to worry about getting pinched, but some crab-catchers nearby did catch one or two live ones! πŸ¦€

As well as crabs, I also found lots of oysters, whelks and winkles. Whelks are large sea snails which are edible, and they are popular around the Kent coastal area, including the nearby town of Whitstable. Winkles are their smaller cousins, although they’re apparently just as tasty.

Whelk sea snail shells

Common periwinkle (winkle) snail

Returning from the bay, I had a small opportunity to see the main beaches, which were packed with seagoing crowds enjoying the early summer heat. There is even a pool on the beach which is filled with seawater, which is something that I’m definitely going to try out if I ever go back to Margate. On the train going back to London, I even caught a glimpse of Margate’s most famous landmark – the Dreamland amusement park, empty due to the ongoing pandemic (thankfully, restrictions are now being lifted, so it could be filled up again soon). 🎑🎒🎠

Margate Dreamland amusement park

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