Category Archives: Holidays

Please don’t drink the water!

My rose-tinted spectacles have been well and truly removed and I’m reconsidering my thoughts on a British seaside holiday!  A report this week tells how pollution levels at Britain’s most popular beaches reach a decade high as fears rise over tourism impact.

Tests have revealed that raw sewage is still spilling into the sea, despite water companies investing billions in improvements.  Blackpool alone could face losing £1bn in revenue unless improvements are made to sewer systems and more than 40 beaches are expected to fail when new standards are introduced in 2015.

Some of Britain’s most popular beaches, including Weston-Super-Mare, Exmouth and Blackpool, recorded the worst bathing water quality standards for more than a decade, according to a list obtained by The Sunday Times. 

In 2015, tougher standards are being introduced and will be partly based on this year’s results. At the worst beaches, signs will go up warning people not to swim.

Water companies need to make more efforts, as well as farmers and householders to protect beaches from becoming polluted and there needs to be more information on the times of sewage overflows.  The overflows, which operate during heavy rainfall, are one of the biggest causes of pollution flowing into the sea along Britain’s coastline. They are supposed to operate only three times in one bathing season, but some resorts can have more than 100 sewage spills during a wet summer. 

Brings a whole new meaning to the words “I’ve had a s**t holiday!”

Childhood memories

A lady called Patricia Bevan, 65, has just beaten hundreds of entries to win a national competition to find Britain’s best beach hut with her patriotic red, white and blue affair, complete with bunting and Union Jacks in honour of the Queen’s Jubilee.

This has brought back many happy memories of my childhood holidays in Birchington-on-Sea in Kent where, every summer from the age of about 6 to 15, I spent the entire school holidays [come rain or shine] in a beach hut on the prom at Minnis Bay. 

I have to say that our hut bore little resemblance to this colourful specimen in Westwood Ho.  In fact, apart from the 2-ring gas burner, it was a million miles away from this cheerful, inviting space!  We spent many rainy days huddled around that gas burner drinking tea or tomato soup [though not at the same time], but we also had many weeks of gorgeous sunshine and fabulous walks, either along the promenade to Epple Bay or, if we were feeling more adventurous, to Reculver which was a terrific walk along the coast and is just on the outskirts of Herne Bay.

As a child, the walk seemed epic.  However, looking at a map today it can’t have been much more than 2.5 miles!

The lure of cheap package holidays to the sun when I was in my teens meant that I soon stopped wanting to go to that beach hut in Birchington.  I will always remember though just how lucky I was to get 6 weeks by the seaside ever year and it seems that the humble British beach hut is now experiencing something of a renaissance.

Well known hut owners such as Suggs from Madness [Whitstable] and Keith Richards from the Rolling Stones [West Wittering] may do little to help encourage the younger generation that beach huts are “cool” and to give them a try – but who needs a Costa when you can have the simple life a lot closer to home?  Hmmmm …..??? 

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