Since today's weather turned out to be non-sucky I decided to put my newly obtained aversion toward shingle aside to venture along the beach front for an exploratory amble.
I stopped for lunch.....well, a packet of quavers and a twix.....at a patch of grassland somewhere between Ferring and Littlehampton. This was marginally quieter than other areas along the beach where say the road runs parallel and people drive and park and then walk around 400 yards to let 'Pootles' defecate on the path, pick up the steaming turd and then wander back to their car via the ice cream van nearby.
But I digress....my view stretched all the way to High Down Hill to the north (and I'm pretty sure I could see Beachy Head to the East) and oodles of sea in front of me. People were certainly making the most of the lapse in winter conditions; cycling, walking, kite flying...some even braving water based activities.....One fella had taken the whole kite flying thing to another level, apparently half inching the office extractor fan, which he had strapped to his back, and swooping around under a parachute across the common and water......Although it looked like fun, I would suggest the chap was quite mad.
After a few minutes of sun worshipping I made my way back along the path to the prom in the Goring area I rested my wearies at one of the shelters and, as it was out of the breeze, watched the world go by for the next couple of hours.
It was at this time that I observed a couple of advanced age trying to get to grips with a piece of technology. Now this is always a fun mix....'Cotton Tops' and new fangled thingy-me-bobs....in this instance the baffled pair were attempting to use a camera (not a video camera....or even a digital camera for that matter, but a common a garden click and wind on camera with apparently one picture left on the film).
The following conversation went something along the lines of:
Husband (posing next to sea wall) "Put me in the circle and press the red button"
Wife "What circle?"
Husband "The circle in the middle of the viewfinder....so that you can fit me all in"
Wife "There is no circle.....I can only see your shoulder....maybe I have it the wrong way up"
Wife turns camera from landscape to portrait, but has the same problem....Husband takes camera and presses button (at a guess I'd say the zoom), hands back camera to wife and returns to pose.
Husband "Now press the button"
Wife "What button?"
Husband "The red button"
Wife "What red button?"
Husband "The RED button.....at the top"
Wife finds the red button and is about to take the picture when a group of children on roller blades skate past and get in the way (there had been no-one in the vicinity until that moment). Kids leave.
Wife "I can't see anything.....the sun's in my eyes"
Husband moves two feet to his right and wife takes picture (into direct sunlight)
Wife (looking at camera) "It says 35......there's still one left"
Moving on.....the small sea wall which runs much of the length of the prom, obviously, makes a perfect walkway for those somewhere between the ages of 5-13 (and apparently Worthing's spritely 60+ contingent)...though where I was situated an entrance to the beach meant a 4 metre gap. Some bright spark named Esme (should have been about 65 with that name but was closer to 10) decided a plank of wood (one of the many still strewn across the beach) was just what was needed to rectify the situation and, with the assistance of other urchins, dutifully bridged the gap.
It was when she was halfway across that Esme discovered that 4m long plank plus weight of child equals 'bendy middle'....cautiously all daring doers wobbly completed the obstacle without injury.
Young Fabio (Worthing is apparently a paradox of alternative kids names)who ventured across moments later however was not quite so lucky.....mainly as when he discovered the bendy middle his 8 or 9 year old boy brain decided 'trampoline'. I won't go into detail but the seconds following this genius decision involved snapping, splintering, screaming and life lesson learned for poor young Fabio.
And this leads neatly into what I myself learned from my little excursion today:
Toys which are electronic or involve batteries are not a patch on sea washed flotsom in terms of entertainment value.
Wrapped up old people can fall asleep anywhere...and it will take at least two attempts for them to go from a sitting to standing position
Prolonged bench sitting invariably leads to 'numb arse' syndrome
Boys with a baseball bat and pebbles are not a great mix when you factor the sudden appearance of a low flying seagull