Thursday, 26 July 2018

Road Trip

As I sit here on the decking in the garden of my dream home that I bought last year, on the umpteenth night of the best summer in over 40 years, I have to reflect that life can't get much better.

If there was one thing I could change? I wish that I didn't live so far from the sea. I have always felt drawn to the coast, and am so envious of those that live close to it. Bicester was just about as far as you can get from the sea and Evesham is only marginally nearer.

With temperatures of 30+ forecast for today, I declared to the Ayres family last night that we would be going on a road trip. I've been sat in my office working away on my latest novel and various other projects for weeks and felt in need of a well deserved day off.

So with the car packed up with everything needed for a day at the beach, we set sail from sunny Evesham around 9.15am this morning, with the dulcet tones of Ken Bruce to help us along the way.

Where to go? Well the nearest seaside spot to us is Weston-Super-Mare or Weston-Super-Mud as some have dubbed it, with good reason. It's fine when the tide is in, but unfortunately when it is out, the water retreats approximately half way to France. This leaves several miles of dangerous mudflats to negotiate to reach the shoreline if one is feeling particularly suicidal. That's what happened the last time we went and a quick check of the tide times suggested it would be the same story today.

So instead we decided to try Barry Island, somewhere I've never been before. I'll be honest, I went with low expectations but was pleasantly surprised. It was an easy journey, in just around two hours we were on the beach munching our sandwiches under the watchful gaze of marauding seagulls. And the temperatures were very pleasant - whilst Heathrow was sweltering in it's hottest day of the year at 35c, we were enjoying a lovely 27c with sea breezes.

What are you hanging around me for? Do I look like the sort of
 bloke who's going to have loads of food on him? Oh...

I couldn't believe how warm the sea was. It reminded me of when I was in Hawaii all those years ago. It's amazing how much difference three months of almost unbroken sunshine can make to the waters around Britain compared to your average summer. Rather than my usual paddling I actually went far enough out to start swimming - something I found absolutely exhilarating. Swimming in the sea is one of those pure and joyous experiences that really makes me feel alive, something that in a world full of adult responsibilities is something that we can easily forget how to feel.

Me on the beach. I can't show you the topless ones
as I've sold the rights to them to Playgirl.

The one downside? Somehow I managed to step on and get stung by a weaver fish, necessitating a brief visit to first aid. That wasn't pleasant but I didn't let it spoil my day. After about four hours on the beach we went to the fair, where the kids made good use of the tokens I bought for them. We then wandered past a few gift shops selling tacky Gavin and Stacey memorabilia, finishing with a slap up meal at a lovely little cafe on the front. Then we headed home, returning to Evesham just before dark, All in all, a grand day out as Wallace and Gromit would say.

Now here I am, 11pm, in the garden again with a glass of wine during the summer that just keeps giving. Cheers.

Jason Ayres is the author of eight time travel novels including his latest release, Happy New Year. You can find out more by clicking here

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