It’s summer, the heat is turned up, the people long for a trip away from their daily lives and a visit to the seaside is a British tradition. I have been to the beach on a number of occasions and thoroughly enjoyed myself. Eating dead sea creatures, walking through the tidal mud and sand, and pulling parents across the breakwaters seem to be a speciality. I have even taught Lenny to practice the art of parental misguidance when we are beach bound.
I have not been to one of the most famous beaches in Britain however and, looking through some of my grandads photos, I saw something that intrigued me. Here are some pictures taken in 1963 and the place is almost deserted compared to the hustle and bustle of today.
I can say these were taken in 1963 as the Volks Railway opened on 3rd August 1883. The train pictured proudly states its the 80th anniversary. It is still operated as a historical seafront attention running between the Aquarium and Black Rock. Check the suited chaps on the deckchairs taking the sea air.
A stroll along the promenade was a popular way of getting some clean air, away from the smoke and grime of the big cities. Brighton became popular in the late 1700’s when the King, George IV was a regular visitor. The arrival of the railways in 1841 undoubtedly assisted further in its rise in popularity, as people with a few pennies to spare could escape from London for the day and spend their time at the beach.
I enjoy the contrast in this picture. See the gent in the long coat and hat, and then notice the man and child just coming out of the water; the deck chairs filled with people in suits and dresses. I think it is roughly where Brighton Marina is now.
Many things have changed since these photos were taken. Many things. For good or bad? I will leave that to you to decide. I want to go to Brighton one day, maybe I will see these places and find out how much they’ve really changed.
What’s that noise? Oh good grief its pouring with rain and thrashing against the window. Time for a longer snooze I think. Suddenly Lenny is past me and has stood on dads kidneys so it seems we will be waking up now. Tea and no sympathy seem to be the order of the day thus far. After a while we are duly harnessed and stand ready for the shenanigans of the day to come. It’s ok though as the rain has eased and we might only get a little soggy. Upon leaving the house we watch as our travel beds are loaded into the car, but strangely we are shepherded away from the car. What is this sorcery? Up the road and back once we have done what we need to do and the car is unlocked. At this point I looked at Lenny who was cowering away from his travel bed and crate.
It seems that his fears of car travel have returned as we haven’t been out in the car for some time. This is going to take some gentle persuasion on the part of the parents although I am concerned to see that treats weren’t considered necessary to coax him into the car. I tried to show him the way to do it, but he sat there shivering and cowering away so mum gently picked him up and put him in his crate ready to go.
Out of the house and down the road. We wound our way to an adventure. I watched out for my brother to make sure he wasn’t feeling too bad. We stopped and the boot was opened. The fresh and windy sea air filled our nostrils so we knew we were just about to have some fun pulling our parents along the seashore for a while. Just as we leapt out, it poured with rain again so we strolled quickly into a shelter on the promenade to wait out the shower clouds. Then we were off in earnest toward the sea so we could try to find the best stinky stuff to lick, sniff and hopefully roll in. Immediately we came to some seashells which were tasted before moving on to find the remains of a cuttlefish. Lenny seemed to enjoy this and was quickly forgetting about the car journey. I saw the dead crab stuff first but, as usual, Lenny barged in front and was getting up close and personal with the crustacean. We pulled and jerked on our leads for a few miles as we strolled along the sandy foreshore, up and over the little breakwaters and then back up to the pebbly section near the promenade. We had to walk along the prom for the last bit as dogs aren’t allowed on that section of the beach. I am not sure why we aren’t allowed on that part though. We don’t drop litter, break glass, leave tin and plastics everywhere or barbecue stuff and make it all thoroughly untidy. Our parents pick up after us so I am wondering if humans should be banned from the beach instead of dogs. Anyway, we followed the rules like the good boys we are and strolled along.
As soon as we were getting into our stride we were turned around and headed back toward the car. We saw some other dogs running in and out of the sea chasing a ball and we aroooed them. We saw some dogs walking nicely along the beach and we aroooed them as well. We even saw some dogs playing on the little green spaces near the promenade so we might have aroooed them too.
Back to the car just as the sky opened again and this time Lenny leapt freely into his travel crate so it seems he had forgotten his fears of the car.
Once we were home it was back to the routine of food, snoozing and running around the garden chasing pesky magpies. I did hear talk of doing another trip next weekend if the weather is agreeable. I wonder where we can take Lenny next time?