LIKE so many things, the seaside always seemed bigger and better when we were kids.
I have very vivid memories of spending time on Norfolk's blowy strands; Cart Gap, featured in this issue, was a bit of a favourite. One year – I'm pretty sure it was the sweltering summer of '76 – it seemed that every weekend we would load up the family’s green Vauxhall Victor estate with footballs, deckchairs, cricket sets, frisbees (which were a bit of a thing in the 70s) and the essential windbreaks.
Mum would turn a loaf of white Sunblest, in a waxed wrapper of course, into a tranche of thickly-buttered tinned salmon and cucumber sandwiches and gather bags of Monster Munch, packets of biscuits and bottles of Corona together. We used to have a Corona man deliver pop to the village every week; pocket money was to be earned collecting the empties at 1p for bottles with a white cap, 2p for the premium gold ones.
We also used to have a baker doing the rounds; it was Wraggs of Swaffham if I recall correctly, though it might have been Waggs. Our family favourite was the jam doughnuts, five of them in a cardboard tray, a number guaranteed to cause tension in any family of four. Why did they do that? In fact why do they still do that?
But I digress. Fully laden we'd roll out of the village, form a convoy with the other families involved and strike out for the seaside. One of the minor irritations of Cart Gap is that it was (is) a bit of a trudge to the beach with arms full of deckchair and Monster Munch, but it was worth it when we hit those largely empty sands.
Long days of simple fun ensued, with much tearing around, bracing dips, cheerfully gritty grub and mildly grit-blasted, very pink, skin. Sunscreen? No thanks; we'll baste ourselves in oil like oven-ready chickens and see what occurs.
At the end of the day came a detour to the Rising Sun at Coltishall for Coke and a bag of ready salted for the kids and something more invigorating for grown-ups.
We'd arrive home, drowsy, a little crispy at the edges, carrying more sand in your shorts than really ideal, but totally happy.
If this rather self-indulgent wander through the dunes of my memory has any purpose it is really to say that although what I’ve described has that slightly faded, hazy quality, like a photo from a 70s family album, thousands of families will do pretty much exactly what I've described this weekend on some beautiful Norfolk beach somewhere.
There may be more sourdough than Sunblest and the Monster Munch will yield to some artisan smoked Gruyère and shaved shallot crisps, but the essentials are still the same; simple, joyful fun.
And that is as it should be. So if you weren’t planning a trip to the coast maybe the gorgeous places Norfolk has to offer and that we’ve featured this month can tempt you. Just remember to leave your mobile and your iPad at home otherwise you may get grit in your port and nobody needs that.
Dominic Castle Editor, EDP Norfolk Magazine 01603 772758 / 07725 201153 email@example.com