LIVING BY MY SEASIDE
“Your seaside”, you say, “how so?” I don’t own my sea, have no deeds for a piece of beach nor any boat docked in a harbour. Anyone can walk on the sand here and dip their toes in the (not crystal clear) water. They are welcome to skim stones and build sand castles. I’ve even seen young children leaving the beach weighed down with pockets full of pebbles for their memory box. I don’t mind at all. This stretch of coastline is big enough for us all.
My seaside is on the West Coast. It’s an hour from Glasgow and prior to the explosion of 1970’s Spanish holidays, this town was heaving with tourists and day trippers looking for a little bit of Scottish paradise. Apparently it was warmer then (hmm?) and the promenade was the Tinder of it’s time. I arrived in 1975 just as the tourists stopped coming. The older generation were melancholy remembering the good old days, but it was beneficial for me. I had a great big empty seaside playground. I built castles and mansions in the sand, walked a few of my childhood dogs and ate many a sandy crunch sandwich on picnic blankets down there. Romance was still alive and well down on that old promenade. Midnight walks, kisses and promises of undying love ensued. Always broken but the sentiment was there. When it all got too much I could hop on the ferry to the island across the way. There are a few islands adjacent to our coastline, so I had my pick.
I moved away for ten years and spent half of this on the East Coast. Although the cliffs were stunning I still hankered after my seaside. The islands were replaced with oilrigs and there were signs telling us not to take the pebbles. I wondered how a child can leave behind that perfect heart shaped pebble on the beach? Most of all though, I left a piece of me behind on that West Coast stretch. Memories and sentimentality perhaps? Maybe so. l like to think though, that when I was playing and building castles on the sand, I was laying down my foundations. My roots were planted firmly and this was where I should be. Those roots were too strong to sever and so eventually I came back. Back to my seaside where I belong.
The years have ticked along but still I’m down the promenade as often as I can. It’s the perfect safe spot to cycle, and the place is my reward at the end of a jog. Yesterday was another beautiful sunny November day and what better place to go than a jaunt along our coast to Portencross. My son was excited to rock climb – the more daring the better. He prefers this to building castles. Come to think of it, those cliffs on the East Coast are perfect for adventurous climbers.