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Sunday, June 9, 2013

A beach trip!

OK, so when the weather hits 60 degrees the locals go outside. When in what the English do. So at the beginning of the Bean's term break from school a few weeks ago, when the temps hit the 60's,  we decided to hit the beach. (Depending on which beach you choose...) Our trip was only about a hour and a half from the homestead. We went through a few thousand round-abouts, but getting to see more of the English countryside eased our pain. The Bean has reached the age of the "are we there yet(s)".

Our original idea was to stop on our way to the beach and tour the Castle Rising, near King's Lynn,  but that idea got bagged when we saw the sign for 'Battle Reenactment Today'.  We could tell by the amount of traffic turning into the entrance that the castle would be packed. This prompted the decision to stop on the way back home. Our rationale being the Bean would be worn out from his beach adventure. Hopefully being tired would also mean he would be less surly and more manageable. The mere mention of the word 'beach' sent our child into a froth and I knew if we tried to stop on the way in, we would have a mutiny on our hands.

Our original destination was Hunstanton Beach, but the sheer amount of cars headed in that general direction facilitated an impromptu change of destination. We turned our sites on Heacham Beach instead. Hunstanton has two pavilions, a carousel, and a sea life preserve, but in all honesty I just wanted to go to the beach. Heacham is just south of Hunstanton and looked less touristy.

We packed a picnic lunch and enough toy construction equipment to construct a replica of Parliament. We paid five pounds to park all day. In hindsight that was probably a bit much, but we were twenty feet from the beach entrance and right by the facilities. This allowed us to leave our cooler in the back of the wagon and only drag down what we really needed: chairs and construction toys.

The one thing I grossly underestimated was the incomprehensible amount of clothing changes the Bean would need. He was caked in sand and wet to the bone by the time I walked down to meet him and daddy on the beach.  A sand-coated Bean gave me a great opportunity to try out the baby powder trick and see if it actually works to remove sand from skin. I am happy to report it works wonders. I just liberally sprinkled the Bean and wiped the sand right off. It works by absorbing the excess moisture from the sand. Read more here.

This is my first trip to the English coast, and it is safe to say, it did not resemble any beach I am used to. I am an American East Coast girl, born and raised in North Carolina. I am used to the coastlines of both North and South Carolina. This was not it. I am familiar with low tides, but this was the lowest tide I'd ever seen.

The actual surf begins at the furthest point on the horizon. It is about a half a mile to the water. The beach is mostly pebbles and sharp jagged bits of shells. And it was chilly. I ended up getting sun on my face, a red "V" of sunburn from the opening of my long-sleeved t-shirt, and  more sunburn on the tops of my flip-flop clad feet. The hubs jokingly asked me if I wanted him to go get the quilt from the car so 'grandma' could cover up. I was disappointed when he didn't go get it.

Nevertheless, a chilly day on the beach is better than any sunny day at home.  The Bean played and I looked for shells.


We had our picnic lunch and then the Bean scored an ice cream for being a good boy. There was a 'crab shack' in the building adjacent to the parking lot, but since we'd brought a picnic we didn't purchase any grub. However, since it's the coast, they would certainly have had terrific seafood and scrummy fish 'n chips. There were quite a few people who looked like locals eating food from the crab shack, so that's always a good sign.  Hey, there's always next time!

One of my favorite activities, no matter where I go, is to people watch. There was a plethora of pasty, white flesh as far as the eye could see. There were shirtless men, females of all ages wearing inappropriate two piece attire, and children in their undies (which the English call "pants" for some reason). I was glad I had on my sunglasses.  I wish I had blindfolds. These folks are not keen on sun protection. Or modesty.  Or age-appropriate clothing.  As you can see, the Bean is a red-head, all three of us are pale as vampires, and I am ever vigilant with the liberal application of sunscreen for all of us. 

Heacham Beach is dog-friendly, while Hunstanton Beach is not.  Which is a shame because all the dogs we encountered were well behaved and friendly. The biggest rubbish/waste problem came from the giant piles of horse-poop on the beach.  We saw no horses during our visit, so I can only assume they came out at night in order to poop all over the beach.  Bean really enjoyed throwing balls for the doggies to retrieve.  He also enjoyed wallering face-first in the mud, which did not appear to be a recreational activity the British children were aware of.  

Our plans for a castle stop never materialized.  When I told the Bean it was time to go I got zero argument. Five minutes into the drive back home and the backseat got awfully quiet. Someone was all funned out!

*I was chatting with some friends of ours who 'landed' with us at the same time we moved here about our recent jaunt to the beach. Marc told me they also visited the beach , but he and the family did venture further north to Hunstanton Beach.They scored their all day parking for one pound-fifty. (I haven't found a pound sign that will 'translate' properly.) So live and learn, but isn't that what it's all about? We'll check it out the next sunny day. Well, perhaps the next day the temps hit the 60's!  And the wind isn't blowing 20 miles per hour...

Until next adventure!


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