Beach Hut Tales

We are having a heatwave, bad for my garden, but perfect for being in the sea, except first you have to get to the beach or your beach hut…

Yesterday after writers’ group I decided to get on a bus and get off at Woodland Walk, which as its name suggests is a cool and pleasant walk from a busy road to the cliff top. As soon as I left the shade of the trees the heat hit me. I crunched across our toasted cliff top to approach my beach hut from the other direction to my usual walk from home.

The stone building is not a castle, but the toilet block by our beach huts.
The descent down the ravine, more fun going down than up.

The hot weather reminded me of last year when my daughter-in-law sent a clip of a beach hut on fire. I quickly ascertained it wasn’t our strip. Everyone was safe, but I imagine there wasn’t much left of the beach hut or its neighbours! Gas rings, flapping curtains and wooden huts are a recipe for disaster perhaps. In the local paper the owner was quoted ’my nephew came to fetch me and said Aunty I think the beach hut is on fire… ’ hmm, my suspicious mind wondered what the boy might have been up to..

I fully expect that one day calamity will strike my hut, either one of the regular cliff falls or a cliff fire in scorching weather. But other dramas also occur. I am now a member of that group ’widows who sit in beach huts.’ There are three of us in my little strip and it is only recently I heard the stories of the other two ladies, widowed a good while. We were all chatting when the most senior said to the other ’I don’t think you were here back then when my husband died.’

‘Oh yes I was,’ she replied ’I remember doing CPR on him on the beach hut floor!’

Beach Hut Drama

On Valentine’s night February 2014 Britain had a huge storm, not dramatic compared with world disasters, but several people were killed and the walls of our brick house shook. In the morning the storm was still raging and tales emerged of dramas; the public were warned to stay away from coastal areas, so I looked up the time of high tide, 9am and told Cyberspouse we must walk to the cliff top. We could lean straight into the howling wind coming off the sea, safe from being blown off the cliff, but as we peered over the edge we had a shock.


Beach huts were reduced to matchsticks and heavy gas bottles blown along the promenade. Naturally I insisted to Cyberspouse that we go down, along with other sightseers. Beach hut owners were shocked to see their huts no longer existed and searched the wreckage for any belongings they could salvage. Of course losing your home is far worse than a little wooden box and easy to say as our hut, further along and on an upper level was fine! The owners who had lost beach huts certainly did not look happy. But I had an idea for a story, what would happen to anyone down on the promenade that night? my idea even became the start of my novel ’At The Seaside Nobody Hears You Scream.’ Read more about the novel on my About page.

Beach Boxes

Winter walk on the promenade.

An Australian visitor once commented ’Why would you go to the beach and sit in a wooden box.’ Fair comment, though we hope to sit outside it in the sun, it is good to retreat into if it rains or gets very windy. jThere has been unexpected blogger interest in beach huts. They are all different, no that’s not true, rows and rows of identical huts all the same size, though interiors can be very creative. our huts have no facilities except callor gas rings, perfect for mulled wine at Christmas.

When we first moved here the late Cyberspouse was at work and thought he would ring up the council and ask for a beach hut. He was told there was a six year waiting list and we did wait six years! It was worth it if you consider that had we not gone on the list we would not have got one at all. He liked to cycle there after work and have some peace and quiet – if I wasn’t there…


Beach Lodges with kitchen, toilet, shower and sleeping for six. Rent from the council for mid week or weekend stays. I can’t tell you how much, that would depend on the date and I couldn’t negotiate the website, though I gather you have to be quick.

Next time – beach hut drama!

Tuesday Today

Several bloggers mentioned they had not heard of beach huts, so I could not resist taking these pictures today, stopping for lunch at my beach hut on a walk to Bournemouth.
I won’t tell you where these are as there is not enough room for everyone to visit at once. As you can see, I was the only one at home today, though generally there were many people out and about.

Writers’ Wooden Sheds.

Marina Sofia at Finding Time To Write has a fun Friday post where she finds a selection of pictures with a theme. From ‘which castle would you like to live in’ to ‘how about one of these unusual libraries?’ Today she posted pictures of writers’ sheds in the garden and unlike castles and mansions I do actually have one of those. We call it the Aunty Evelyn Memorial Summer House in memory of the aunt we all thought had no money, but left seven of us equal shares. Enough to buy my little retreat. Alas it is currently full of stuff belonging to other family members, so you are not privileged to peek inside. I do also have a beach hut, a six foot wooden box ( not a coffin ) that sits on a piece of concrete rented at an exorbitant rate from the council. Most beach hut people use their hut to get changed, boil the kettle, eat, read and sun bathe, but I also try to get my money’s worth writing / scribbling.


Where is your favourite spot to write? Do you like to be connected to electricity or scribble first drafts on paper?

This is where T S Eliot wrote The Wasteland while convalescing in Margate, Kent.

Silly Saturday – if novels were blogs…

When we write and post our blogs we hope people will read our words of wisdom, we hope they will read our post to the end. We all have different ideas; ‘how long is a piece of string’ comes to mind. But with varying degrees of success at dealing with WordPress, we might break up our tedious words with pictures or get a little carried away with the colour settings; anything to make sure readers don’t get bored. When we read a paperback or Kindle novel we happily expect to read hundreds of thousands of words with only chapter headings to break up the endless pages, but what if we published our novels in the same style as our blogs?





Chapter One Valentine’s Night

Ellen had never felt the house shake before. It was not unusual to hear the South Westerly driving rain against the bedroom windows. It was not unusual to be kept awake by torrential rain pounding the sloping roof above their heads, but this storm was getting scary. Gary was snoring through it all.

She crept out of bed and peeped through the curtains; in the orange glow of the street lights gusts of horizontal rain glittered and the road was a moving stream. She thought of what they had done the evening before, the man would be getting more than any of them had bargained for. Ellen’s part had merely been to lend the spare key and make sure they found the right number.

Ellen slipped back into bed. She had told no one, not even Gary. It would be foolish for her to go down to the seafront alone in this freak weather. The brothers were going to let him out in the morning with a warning to leave their sister alone. Before the storm, Ellen’s only worry had been that her beach hut would be damaged if the man tried to break out.

Gary was taking the boys to football.

‘Don’t go out in this weather Love, we don’t need any shopping and don’t do one of your “let’s go to the cliff top to look at the high spring tide” – it won’t be safe, they’re warning people to stay away from coastal areas.’

As soon as they had gone Ellen wrapped up and headed out on the five minute walk to the cliff top. In any other circumstances she would have loved the wind stinging her face. The record breaking wet winter had drawn her to study tide times and photograph flooding rivers and pounding waves.

At the cliff top she leaned into the howling wind, safe from falling, clinging onto the flimsy fence to prevent herself being blown backwards. But nothing could have prepared her for what she saw when she peered over the edge. The promenade was piled with wood, beach huts reduced to matchsticks. She was not the only person out; several photographers and distraught fellow beach hut owners struggled against the wind to make their way down the zig zag path. They picked their way past planks with dangerously protruding nails, huge Calor gas bottles and plastic body boards. Waves lapped over the strewn debris; some beach huts remained intact, but at bizarre angles. Nobody could hear themselves speak in the roaring wind, some stood by the empty space where their beach huts had been. Ellen stood where her beach hut used to be and picked up all that was left, the kettle. She looked out to sea and up and down the promenade, dreading the moment when someone would wave frantically and point to a boot sticking out from the planks, or a shape in the waves.

On Saturday morning at 10am, 15th February 2014, Ellen faced the probability she had become an accessory to manslaughter or murder. At 10.02am her thought processes had become those of a criminal. The man might have somehow saved himself, but if he had not, no evidence remained to link his death to her or her beach hut.

Read my novel for real here….

Advent Calendar – Wednesday Second of December

Covid Free Zone

The weather is grey and damp here so what better than an Australian Christmas tree to brighten us up.

But the elf had a trip to the beach hut yesterday where we had glorious sunshine. He is looking forward to some Christmas shopping as we are now out of Lockdown Two and in Tier Two, we can’t visit anybody, but can go to non essential shops, so let me know what you want…

Beachwriter’s Blog

sunshine-blogger

There is plenty to enjoy living by the sea, even if you never set a toe in the water. But there is so much to do involving seawater that it’s a shame if you don’t dip your toes or whole body in.

You need nothing if you have a naturist beach nearby or you can go to the other extreme and encase you body in a wet suit and acquire lots of equipment.

Paddling is the first introduction for most of us to the ocean and waves, warm and soothing at low tide on a sunny day, cold and daring at high tide on a windy day.

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But swimming is the ultimate, leaving the land to which you are bound, seeing the coast from a different view point. On a hot day with the sun sparkling on the ripples it is bliss, on colder days it’s invigorating with the initial shock turning to a burning glow. I have never worn a wet suit, assuming it would take away the feeling of freedom and more importantly I don’t think I could manage to pull one on, let alone peel it off again.

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A beach hut doesn’t involve water and many enjoy sitting outside their huts with the kettle boiling enjoying the view and watching the world go by. On a hot summer weekend the whole world does go past your beach hut if you are on the promenade, so a snooze in peace is unlikely. But for the swimmer a beach hut is a great luxury, even if it’s only a six foot wooden box – six foot square, not the six foot long other kind of wooden box. You don’t have to lug your towels, folding chairs, buckets and spades and wind breaks down to the beach each time and you have somewhere to get changed.

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Renting our little square of concrete from the council (we own the hut ) is not cheap, but probably cheaper than the many sea sports which involve getting all the gear. From paddle boarding on a calm day to owning your own sailing boat there are many ways to be on the ocean. For some, their boat is a part of family life just as a dog is for other families. I am a touch envious of people who can sail over and drop anchor just off Studland Beach, a lovely stretch of natural coast unspoiled by groynes or promenades, it also includes the nudist beach. The rest of us face a slow bus trip or drive across the conurbation of Bournemouth and Poole and a £4.50 trip on the chain ferry ( £1 for pedestrians and bikes ). But a boat owner told me the trouble with owning a boat is, you feel compelled to go out in it if the weather is good, so you never get to do other things on a sunny day.

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If you are adventurous you can go surfing – big board, kite surfing – little board or wind surfing. All of them involve falling in the sea a lot and being watched by other people and photographers. These sports also involve lugging around equipment and spending ages getting ready and deciding if the wind or waves are right.

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So I shall stick to swimming; after the days of torrential rain and changeable weather, I finally had my first swim of the year on Saturday. Sea temperature 16 degrees. It was lovely, but there is one piece of equipment I would like; a waterproof camera for a real sea view.

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Visit my website for more coastal views.

https://www.ccsidewriter.co.uk/chapter-two-coastal-views/

Some of the stories in Times and Tides are set at the seaside.

 

 

Silly Saturday – Various Verses

                                              Beach Hut

 

Six years we’ve waited for this wooden box,

With flaking paint and rusty locks.

There’s barely room to stand,

The floor covered in sand.

The towels are damp and musty

And all the shelves are dusty.

 

But the kettle and mugs are well in reach

And there’s a great view of the beach.

In the sun we sit and read books

Waves beckon, costumes hanging on the hooks.

Wet and cold return for hot tea,

Strip off and dress in modesty.

 

The neighbours are close, two inches away,

Her next door is topless today,

His huge stomach should not be seen,

Thank goodness for the screen between.

The other side are out of sight,

Soaring under parachutes bright.

 

Their boards dip the waves, then ride up high,

We sit and watch them in the sky.

If we fall asleep as we usually do

We won’t notice when they drop from view.

Until we hear roaring whir above the wave

As Coastguard hovers, kite surfers to save.

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New Things

 

How to adore new things.

No need to buy, to bring

The sensual delight

Of touch, smell and sight.

 

John Lewis sells to you

Cotton, wool, silk, bamboo

Knitting yarns, skeins and such,

Many hues, soft to touch.

 

Call in at the bookshop,

Look out for new stock,

White paper, page pristine,

Smooth spine, jacket clean.

 

Tack shop for leather new

Saddles, bridles on view,

Shopkeeper hopes to sell;

No, just here for the smell.

 

Go down to the saw mill

Experience the thrill,

Newly sawn scented wood,

Golden sawdust feels good.

 

Ancient ocean, old land,

New waves, new tides, smooth sand,

Grains glitter, sparkling foam,

Before feet start to roam.

 

Sunrise reveals hard frost,

New scenery at no cost,

White landscape, yours to view,

Air sharp, breath anew.

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