"Earth’s distant orb appeared the smallest light that twinkles in the heaven; whilst round the chariot’s way innumerable systems rolled and countless spheres diffused an ever-varying glory. It was a sight of wonder: some were hornèd like the crescent moon; some shed a mild and silver beam like Hesperus o'er the western sea; some dashed athwart with trains of flame, like worlds to death and ruin driven; some shone like suns, and as the chariot passed, eclipsed all other light." From "Queen Mab" by Percy Bysshe Shelley (1813)
Thursday, 24 June 2010
I don’t know what it is about the seaside, and in particular the sea, that draws me back. I’m sure I can’t be the only person who gets the urge every now and again to be by the sea, or better still in it. Is it a primal thing? It has been suggested that the hairless ape that is our species evolved into modern humans because we left the jungles and forests for the coast, the so called aquatic ape hypothesis. Living off shellfish and swimming in the oceans shaped us to become what we are today and in evolutionary terms that wasn’t so long ago. So maybe the urge to return to the sea is a primal thing after all. All I know is a trip to the seaside was very much in order, the weather was good, we had the time, so off we went with phasers set to “fun”.
The music that accompanied us to and from our seaside destination was a two disc collection of work by Ron Goodwin, which may seem an odd choice for an ex-indie DJ but “Elizabethan Serenade” and “Miss Marple’s Theme” simply can’t be beaten. There are some real classics in there too like “633 Squadron” and “Where Eagles Dare” but the best bit was trying to guess those tracks we didn’t know or at least what type of film they came from or what its basic theme was. Good old Ron’s use of the musical cliché kept us guessing along nicely with tracks like “El Morocco Tea Rooms”, “Tropical Mirage”, “Laughing Sailor” and “Handyman”. It certainly passed the time in an entertaining manor, especially on the return journey through all the many stretches of motor where a speed limit of 50mph was imposed because of road works, two separate incidents of upturned cars on the hard shoulder and the threat of “pedestrians” on the road. The upturned cars and the warning signs of “pedestrians” on the road were around the Bridgend area, so it’s possible the incidents of suicides in my old home town haven’t abated. Tragic.
However, disc one of Ron Goodwin came to an end as we entered The Gower in South Wales, a favourite place of ours that we’ve visited on a few occasions. The beaches there are very good and there are a lot to choose from. This time we selected Oxwich Bay not far from The Mumbles. Within about 15 minutes of settling in a spot by the dunes we were in the water. I floated about on my “turbo sport surf attack” inflatable ring (how long have I had that thing?) while Mrs Kitsch, unable to resist the lure of the briny, was soon swimming about like a West Country Esther Williams. Marvellous, just what we needed and the water wasn’t too cold either.
The plan was to go back in again a bit later but there were sufficient clouds to prevent the sun from keeping the water warm enough and we only managed a paddle later. In between our aquatic adventures there was much relaxation with Mrs Kitsch reading and me stretched out fast asleep (insert your own gag here about locals trying to rescue a beached whale).
Now although I said there were some clouds, there was still a lot of sunshine and the sensible thing to do would have been to put on some sun cream like my other half did but I deliberately decided to forego being sensible and get a little bit sunburnt. I can’t remember the last time I got sunburnt. All the talk of skin cancer and frankly the simple lack of really hot weather over the last decade or so mean that I just haven’t had sunburn in a very long time. So I thought, sod it, a little bit of sunburn, why not? How bad can it be?
Its twenty four hours later and you can fry an egg on the heat coming off my knees. My pink knees. My very pink knees. And it’s not just my knees, I’m a bright neon pink on my legs, the tops of my feet, my neck, shoulders, arms, and my chest and belly. I’ve totally irradiated myself; I look like lobster boy from a carnies freak tent. It stings quite a bit too. And do you know what, its fine. I’m sunburnt, it hurts and its fine. I didn’t intend to get quite so burnt but I really don’t mind that much.
I’m reminded of family holidays in Porthcawl more than 30 years ago (bloody hell am I that old? unfortunately, yes) and a time before health scares and rubbish summers. I remember playing on the dunes there, trying to fly a red kite with my brother and my dad. I remember that the sunburn hurt a lot which I didn’t like obviously, but the skin peeling off later on was pretty good in a ghoulish sort of way, you know how kids are.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you shouldn’t take precautions against sunburn and I’m not advocating getting sunburnt as a good thing that everybody should do. Not at all. It’s just that I haven’t experienced it in a long time and I just wanted to feel what it was like again.
A one off shouldn’t cause any long term problems and I’ll go back to covering myself in protective creams again after this but just this once, I wanted to experience a bit of sunburn. However, I do think I might have over done it somewhat, I certainly didn’t expect to feel quite this bad. But I can’t honestly say it wasn’t worth it.
We ended our lovely day out at the seaside by driving to The Mumbles for fish and chips and ice cream (is this another primal urge? Could it be that our aquatic ape ancestors also enjoyed fish and chips and ice cream? I think more research needs to be undertaken in this area). Even here I indulged in excess and purchased a rather large strawberry flavoured 99 with nut sprinkle from the wonderful Joes Ice Cream Parlour. It was brilliant though.
So what with the sea, the sun, the fish and chips, an ice cream and spending all day with Mrs Kitsch, all to a Ron Goodwin soundtrack, it was a pretty good day.
I slept for ages last night and dreamt about a thrash metal band called "Our Message Is Older Than Your Message Is". I even heard a couple of their songs in my dream, they were pretty good too, a bit like Slipknot, a far cry from Ron Goodwin. In my dream the band members also toured as solo performers and had a song about that as well. I have no idea what any of this means, if it means anything at all but it seems like a pretty cool name for a band.