Karen really loves the beach.  She grew up less that 5 miles from the beach and would spend many an hour there walking (other peoples) dogs and generally doing beachy stuff.  Admittedly this was Seaburn beach (the name derives from the effect that the wind that comes off the North Sea has on your face).  So when we go away, she loves to get sand between her toes (and usually in her sandals, bag and hair).  I can take or leave the beach.  I like the idea, but when you have OCD tendencies, all that sand getting in places where it really ought not is not conducive to a relaxing time.

We only live 8 miles from the sea.  Correction.  We only live 8 miles from the beach.  With it being Southport you need to add a couple of miles on from the beach to the sea, but we hardly ever get the time to go.  We went a couple of years ago on my birthday to do some power kiting, but that was the last time.

 So whenever we are away, Karen nags, sorry, requests, that we go to the beach.  However, if you have been reading this blog for some time (I pity you) then you will have spotted that of late our holidays have been more “villa/train/plane tours” and not “picking sand out of your unmentionables” type.  In fact we were trying to remember the last time we had actually been to a beach, paid for a sun bed and spent the day there.  (We think it may have been a Greek Island circa 2008, but I do remember going to a Beach Club in the Montpellier in 2009, but that wasn’t a proper day at the beach.  That was like glamping.  I’m sure the beach was carpeted).

Any how, Machico (where “Chico Time”‘s mum comes from) has nice little beach.  It also has pretty grim pebbly beach (a bit like Brighton.  What is it with Brighton?  It has a lousy beach, one and a half piers and every few years the TUC turn up and book up all the hotels, yet people still think it is Britain’s premier beach resort.  I don’t see it myself).   So we decided it was time for a proper Beach Day.

We drove down in the morning and headed onto the golden sand.  There were about twenty or so other people on the beach, the vast majority lying on towels.  There were about 4 people on loungers.  Now that to me says one thing.  The loungers are expensive.  Still, Karen does have a  bad back and really does need a lounger as lying flat on the beach quickly becomes very uncomfortable for her.  But how much was my wife’s comfort going to cost me? (I seem to remember from my Economics lectures this what they call the law of diminishing returns).

We saw a jovial, skinny, elderly looking man who for all his skinniness and lack of youth could throw them loungers around (and still smile).  I approached him, still calculating how much I was willing to pay.

“How much are the loungers please?”
“€1.50”
“What per hour?”
“No, each per day”
“Really??”
The attendant mistook my disbelief at the cheapness as being shocked that they were too expensive.
“You can keep them until 6:00 this evening and if you go for lunch they will be there when you get back” he appealed.
“I’ll have 2” I said, considering that at price I might get a 3rd one just to stick the bags on and stop getting sand in them.

We settled down to some serious sun bathing/reading/people watching.  Behind us was an elderly gentleman who had brought his own umbrella.  Jovial man offered to help him a hand to put it up, but instead he chose to lie on his lounger with his umbrella in front of him like a shield as though he was going to need protecting from a sea monster as it ran up the beach.  (I later discovered why he had adopted this defensive pose.)

As I scanned the beach, one lady caught my attention (no, not for those reasons.  Read on and get your mind out of the gutter).  She was stood on her own in the middle of the beach.  Her right leg was thrusting slightly forward (like she was doing a stretch) and he shoulders back.  In fact she looked quite ballerinaish (balleriac? Balearics? no they are definitely islands).  She looked like  a ballerina who was about to start running across the stage.  The thing is, she just stood there.  Doing nothing.  I toyed with the idea that she may be doing some “vertical sunbathing”.  Wow I thought I was tight, but not even wanting to bother with the expense of lying down was extreme even for me.   She just stood there standing.  Then she moved.  Such was the shock I nearly dropped my binoculars.  She raised her right arm above her head and turned 90 degrees to her left.  She really was sunbathing stood up!  Well that was it, I got the crisps out the bag, poured myself a drink and settled in to see how this was going play out.  I know we haven’t been to the beach for while but is this really a thing now?

Her next move was, arm down 90 degrees to the left, roll the shoulders slightly forward.  Then left arm up, 90 degrees again to get her other side done before finally returning to the start position.  One rotation took approximately 10 minutes, but I was concerned that she wasn’t spending equal time on each side (I am as broad as I am wide so I would need equal time for a consistent coverage).  I did wonder why she didn’t just go the kebab shop, borrow one of their Donner spit sand sit on top of that.    That would at least give an her an even, all over tan.

As I lay there in awe of this new trend, the wind got up (it’s quite windy here.  Anyone would think we were on an island in the middle of the ocean).  We then realised that the lovely golden sand plus wind equals sand blasting.  You could see a mini sand storm making its way toward us.  We also discovered that suntan cream plus sand equals us both looking like “The Thing” out of the Fantastic Four.  I now understood why umbrella man was using it as a shield.  As the day progressed we both built up  layer upon layer of sand until eventually any chance of tanning was long gone (and I think the sun was starting to bake the sand into a second skin) so we left and returned home.

The one good thing about this was that when we had a shower, our skin had been beautifully exfoliated.  The down side; I am still finding sand where sand should not be.
Tomorrow I will regale you with tales of adventures in the mountains.

PS: Such was the popularity of last nights’s where’s Wally, tonight’s treat is a spot the difference.  Enjoy.

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