Everyone likes a week by the sea in England in the summer, but there are some things that only lucky kids who grew up at the seaside know...
1. The sea is cold regardless of how hot the weather is, and it probably isn’t as clean as you’d imagine. Far better to go swimming in the local swimming pool, where there’s no chance of seeing a dead rat go floating past.
2. If you grew up at the seaside, you know that winter is far better than summer. For a start, you have the whole of the beach to yourself! And for seaside kids, a wind-lashed sea and crashing waves are far more exciting than watching hordes of overexcited toddlers paddling in the water.
3. Your relatives come to visit you in the summer holidays… Every year!
4. You always wear one layer more than the tourists. It may look hot outside, but that sea breeze will soon have the visitors wishing they’d packed an extra cardi.
5. You never wear a kiss-me-quick hat. They are just not funny! And you’ve got better things to spend your money on. That goes for most of the other tat on sale in the gift shops on the front.
6. You know exactly which sea walls you can jump off and which are just that bit too high, and despite the danger signs, you know exactly which breakwaters it’s possible to walk along without falling into the water – good gymnastics practice, too!
7. If you’re lucky, you can climb into the space inside the tarpaulin-covered pile of deckchairs and no-one will find you. (This is usually only of use during massive games of hide-and-seek.)
8. You never take the ‘fun’ railway along the promenade – it’s not fun, and that train whistle gets mighty annoying after you’ve heard it for the three-millionth time.
9. No-one ever wins on the cascade-of-coins machine at the amusement arcade. Though you may find a coin or two left in one of the machines’ trays now and then…
10. You can walk around the streets without shoes and socks and no-one bats an eyelid – everyone just thinks you’ve been on the beach. And the soles of your feet become so hardy that you’re immune to walking on pebbles.
11. There’s always sand in your shoes. Even if you go everywhere barefoot! And your lips always taste salty when you lick them.
12. You never pay to sit on a pony plodding up and down the beach. You get up early and offer to exercise the horses for the riding stables before the gee-gees’ work-day starts and get to gallop along the sand for free.
13. There are always loads of summer jobs! From selling ice-cream on the beach, waitressing in cafes, working on the boating lake, at the holiday camp, being on the counter at a bazaar, in a fish and chip shop…the list is endless.
14. However, if you do get a job in a seafront bazaar, tourists crack the same joke about walking sticks every time they approach your counter… ‘Think it’s time to get you one of those, Dave!’, and then they snigger at the rude postcards.
15. If you’re out and about on New Year’s Eve and not wearing a wristwatch, you can tell when it’s midnight as all the ships sound their foghorns.
16. Seagulls can be really annoying, and are bound to poop on your head when you’re on your way to meet a date for the first time!
17. You always know what time of day the tide will be in. And you can immediately tell whether the tide is coming in or going out. And because of this, you never get cut off by the tide…
18. You’ve got at least two friends whose home becomes a guest house in the summer season.
19. There’s never a parking space outside your house during the summer months.
20. You feel odd when you go inland and can no longer catch a glimpse of the sea.
21. And you NEVER get fed up of living at the seaside!