Those words bring to mind warm sun, soft sand, swimming, sunburns and caipirinhas. In Brazil we lived just a few steps from our local beach, and that stretch of the south Atlantic is now branded into my subconscious. When I think of beach, I think of Rio das Ostras and hot weather.
Now, here in northern England I have to re-think.
I imagined the shore here to be lonely and deserted, to be rocky and frozen with only a few bundled up dog walkers strolling along the edges, few and far between, with only a few gulls for company.
But guess what? The beach is full of people! Even in October when the wind is chapping your cheeks and turning your exposed hands into white frozen claws, there are families out there playing in the sand. They’re flying their kites, kicking a football around, waking their dogs and finding a way to enjoy the sun even when the air is cold enough to make your eyes water.
Yes, they’re bundled up head to toe in hats, scarves and jackets. No one is wearing Havaianas or going barefoot, but I did spy a few cold beers so it’s not completely different although I think the local cafe served ten hot coffees for every one cold beer.
But what surprised me the most was the surfing. Dozens of surfers in their wetsuits out on that frigid water!
I’ve walked along this beach four or five times now and every time there are at least five people out there surfing the long waves. Even just a few days ago in early November!
There is a guy with a van full of surfboards and wetsuits for hire offering surfing lessons nearly every day, and every day he has customers.
I think they’re crazy. My little cold blooded lizard heart shrinks back from the thought of even putting my toes in that water, and they’re out there whooping it up like it’s nothing.
And good for them. Like Brian keeps telling me, if you let the weather here stop you from doing what you want to do, you’ll never do anything.
Keep warm and carry on.