Mercury Rising

A UK newspaper headline over Easter read ‘Hottest for 70 years… and it’s not just Easter eggs that are melting’, followed by the predictable ‘Whilst wind and rain battered the continent’ or the classic perennial ‘England hotter than Ibiza’.

Temps across Britain did indeed soar to the mid 20s and the weather was, as forecast, drop dead gorgeous over the whole of Easter. (In contrast to last year when the chilly ‘Beast From the East #2’ hit the UK!).

Meanwhile, supermarkets across the land reported a surge in sales of barbecue sausages, burgers, rose wine and ice lollies with sales of fake tan jumping 300%. It was like the entire country was a having a well-earned breather after a harrowing few weeks of endless (pointless) Brexit shenanigans.

Sure enough the roads were jammed with sunseekers, perhaps none more so than the road down to Bournemouth. They should have erected a sign that read ‘Bournemouth Closed’ somewhere in the middle of the M3 as dogged traffic crawled along bumper to bumper with fat chance on arrival of getting a parking spot or, as it turned out, even a possie on the beach! I know, because we were stuck in it. Coming back from my nephew’s wedding in Surrey we averaged 30 mph tops! It took almost 4 hours to get from Reigate to Mum’s place in Bournemouth.

I love walking along the stretch of beach between Canford Cliffs and Bournemouth Pier. In winter it’s windswept and largely empty of souls, apart from some local oldies wrapped up like Nanook of the North, swaddled in woollens, licking ice cream and staring out to sea. There’s the occasional dog-walker of course and the ever-opportunistic metal detectorists sweeping the beach, trawling perhaps for last summer’s lost treasures.

But as soon as the sun’s out and there’s a whiff of summer in the air, the crowds descend. Doesn’t matter that the air temp might be 15 and the water god knows how cold, the holiday-maker masses are there. The ice-cream vans arrive, the rainbow windbreaks appear, the buckets and spades are out and the air smells of fried fish and chips and sweet candy floss. But this Easter weekend in the unexpected glorious sunshine was truly magical.

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