Living in East Anglia, I am spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing a nearby beach to spend the day at. North of the region gives you the most beautiful and often secluded beaches with sand dunes situated away from all the tat that you find in some other seaside towns. However, these types of beaches are pretty lacking when it comes to facilities and even parking. So, while I may favour the north Norfolk coastline, I more often have to opt for the more popular beaches along the east coast – where I know I can park directly next to the beach and where I can locate a toilet at a moment’s notice. Southwold is always a safe bet; it’s a beautiful, chilled out place full of delightful little beach huts and a quaint little lighthouse that makes for a stunning view across from the pier. I love it there.
But to spend a day at the beach when you have my brand of MS means that the weather has to be just right – which it rarely is in England. If it is too hot (anything above 21) you can forget it, I probably wouldn’t even make it out of the car. Too cold, on the other hand, and it’s no fun at all. Last Tuesday provided us with the perfect day for sitting on the beach – it was bright and sunny with a constant sea breeze / gale, which acted as a nice little counterbalance to the heat. The kids leapt out of the car on arrival and charged straight for the seafront, swinging their buckets wildly in their hands.
Another hurdle to overcome when treating your MS to a day at the beach is the sand. I think most people will agree that walking on sand isn’t terribly easy. Well, as it turns out, walking on sand with numb feet is awfully discombobulating. I managed about 4 steps before my legs simply collapsed under me and I fell, sliding feet first down a small slope of pebbles and landing smartly on a comfy cushion of sand, where I remained until it was time to pack up and head for the chippy. Despite the cooling breeze, my legs felt as heavy and tight as ever, and to lift them required the greatest of efforts. Thank goodness my husband was on hand to build sandcastles, fetch water, collect shells, apply sun cream, supply the kids with cakes and crisps and water and getting the kids in and out of their swimwear – oh, and drying them off and packing the bags and dealing with the sun umbrella and the blankets. I’m sure the effort was worth it – the kids loved every minute, and that’s all that matters.