OPINION: Why do our beaches seem to attract such selfish behaviour?
There’s another one gone.
Last weekend was a Bank Holiday affair, yet again blighted by lousy weather, dull and breezy with a wind fit to freeze those proverbial brass monkeys, all of whom had strict orders to stay indoors for fear of something vital becoming brittle and dropping off.
In the past, when such dismal bank holiday weekends were forecast, we used to offer up expressions of sympathy for seasonal traders who depended on fair weather to beef up trade sufficient to see them through the bleak days of winter.
Many a summer month brought wind-swept, empty beaches and forlorn entertainments with over-stocked burger bars and ice-cream vans.
Ladies trying to be cheerful and eager to serve the occasional customer, muffled on an August afternoon with the cuffs and collar of a woolly jumper showing beneath a white coat.
Some seaside traders were better situated than others when it came to making the best of a bad meteorological job.
Whenever the day was spoiled by rain the customers made for indoor consolations.
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At Great Yarmouth they had various options shrewdly supplied by impresario Peter Jay.
When the skies opened Peter’s turnstiles clicked merrily and locals would regard the scudding clouds and remind each other that rain in these parts was known as “Jay’s Fluid”.
With this sort of combination of inclement weather and the lockdown restrictions we’d say how sad, hoping for better days to come.
But now we think twice about saying such a thing. If the weather’s half-way decent the coast and countryside are invaded by swarms of a litter-flinging sub-species who bung up the local lanes with their badly parked cars. At least the cold weather kept them at bay and the native coastal crowd could park within a few yards of home.
At Burnham Overy Staithe one sandy lane and its verges were so clogged with visiting vehicles that the local bus was trapped and could go no farther, neither forward nor reversing.
It would be nice to learn that the offending parkers returned to find their bodywork modified and the paintwork enhanced by the prints of some very large tyres.
There was a very jolly tale recently of some irate farmer finding a gateway blocked by a smart Mercedes.
He returned with his hydraulic loader full of fresh, sloppy slurry and tipped the lot over the car, a souvenir re-paint for the returning owners who believed themselves exempt from the exercise of good manners and consideration for others.
Are these the same people who take their playthings to the beach and simply dump them there when it’s time to go home? I have in mind those abandoned plastic throwing rings that find their way round the necks of young seals and remain embedded as the animals grow.
The suffering must be unimaginable as the unyielding plastic digs ever deeper into the animals’ flesh.
Every year the seal-botherers return, menacing young seals as they crowd them for selfies and the parent seal retreats, sometimes never to return. Result: one orphan seal who may die for lack of parental care. The work of the seal protection volunteers is never-ending, in spite of the warning signs ignored or unread by pea-brained trippers.
It’s the unread or ignored warning sign that lets the sea strike back now and then.
'Lifeboat helps family cut off by tide in third rescue of week' was a headline I saw this week. That was the Hunstanton boat called out to pick up a group including two children from Scolt Head Island as the tide made its stealthy way towards their feet.
My old navy man friend is livid when he reads this sort of yarn. He reckons people who take liberties with Neptune should pay the price.
He’s keen to see the RNLI add ticket machines to its boats to cover the cost of a rescue.
Not a bad idea when you think about it, particularly when it involves half-wits.
“It’s alright; we do take credit cards.”