I have just returned from spending a weekend in Bristol! This vibrant port city on the west coast of England is famous for its rich history as a shipbuilding centre and its many engineering feats, and in more recent years for its art and music scene. I was mostly there to see my sister Melissa, who now lives there as part of her university education, but I did have a day to see some of the sights and sounds of Bristol.
Name: Camber Sands
Region: East Sussex
What I Did There:
- Splashed around in the sea, which is cool but not cold
- Walked my dog along the golden sandy shores
- Collected seashells to decorate my home and garden
- Ate hotdogs and salami by the sea
Name: Canvey Island
Population (Approximate): 39,000 (2011)
Known For: Beaches, chemical industries
What I Did There:
- Enjoyed the beach
- Went fishing for crabs
- Ate fish and chips
- Walked my dog on the seashore
- Collected seashells and sea snail shells
- Avoided hungry seagulls
Trivia, History and Fun Facts:
- The Canvey Island area has been inhabited since at least Roman times.
- The town is known for its seawall, which shields it from high tides.
- The town was greatly flooded during the great North Sea storm of 1953, and again in 2014.
- Canvey Island has a campaign for its independence from the rest of Essex.
Beach holidays are a great favourite of mine. So when I got the lucky chance to spend a whole weekend in Bournemouth, which just so happened to be the hottest two days of the year so far, my excitement was understandable. I’ve been a big fan of the sea and everything nautical since my very early childhood, and it would help me to cool down a little from the intense heat we’ve been having the past week.
This wasn’t actually my first time going to Bournemouth, however – I’ve actually been to it about three or four times prior, the last time being back in July 2015, which was also on a hot sunny day (and coincidentally, when I first started writing on this blog):
This was also my second outing out to a coastal town this year, the first being a rather muted morning in Brighton, due to the cloudy skies and rather cold sea breeze. Unlike in Brighton, though, the weather actually held up for Bournemouth, making it the perfect beach weekend.
Our home for the weekend was an ensuite bathroom and bedroom with a double bed directly overlooking the Bournemouth FC football stadium, with three dogs for pets – Paco the pug/Chihuahua mix, and Mickey and Tyson the Border Collie twin brothers. Paco seemed to take to me the most, even coming to jump up onto our bed, just like our cat at home in London.
Because of the heat, we decided to walk down the whole way down to Boscombe Beach, the sparkling sapphire-blue sea visible just up ahead on the horizon. The sun was hot enough to make my skin tan a caramel brown, so we needed to slap on lots of suncream. The golden sand was peppered liberally with seashells and stones of varying colours and sizes – I found a few mussel shells with tiny barnacles anchored on to them, a couple of razor clam shells, and some tiny scallop shells with black, grey and white stripes.
While the sea was pretty cold at first step, the heat of the sun helped to accustom me to it quickly, though I never dunked my head below the salty water, fearing an incident much like that seen in my story, Life is a Beach (which I was taking much inspiration for, given its nautical setting and theme).
There was even a party nearby with a barbecue on the beach – we tried to get some food off them, but unfortunately we couldn’t, as it was only theirs. We did have our own food which we’d brought earlier however, like some orange-flavoured chocolate bars, which had melted down from the high heat. Luckily, the sea was just down the beach for a little wash…
Later in the evening, which was still lit up with the summer sun, we strolled along the promenade, where I made sure to snap some shots of the famous rainbow-hued beach huts (which is also another inspiration for Life is a Beach), through the seaside gardens and ending up in the town square, where I feasted on some pepperoni pizza and a refreshingly tangy lemonade.
The next day was even hotter than the day before, part of a heatwave that is still raging as I write. We went to a different part of the beach, one that wasn’t as crowded as the other, partly because it was Sunday and most people would have been ready to go back to work the day after. I stayed even longer in the sea than out of it to escape the heat of the sun, although I did come out of it briefly to buy a cooling vanilla Flake ice cream, a hot dog with tomato sauce and some tins of sour cream and onion Pringles at the beach food kiosk right behind our spot on the beach. We even got a moment to snap a selfie of the two of us enjoying the sunshine on the beach just before hauling ourselves back up the cliff and catching one last glimpse of the big blue sea before heading back home to London Town, where the heat goes on – and I’m hopefully filled up with even more story ideas for Life is a Beach.