A Day in the Sun
Living in Valencia I have the pleasure of having a beautiful sandy beach just a couple of
minutes’ walk from my home, but this wasn’t always the case.
When I lived in London, the nearest beach at Southend was a 45-minute drive away. It
was full of stones, not sand, usually cold and windy and when the tide was out, which it
usually was, the sea bed was full of oil and pollution. Nevertheless, it was a beach and I
visited it often with my family and, in my late teens, with my friends.
On one exceptionally hot day in the middle of August my friend Neil and I decided to ride
there on our bikes. Bicycles that is, not motorbikes. We were 15 and we calculated it would
take us about two and a half hours. It took us five, and wearing only T-shirts and shorts,
our arms and legs got terribly sunburnt under the scorching sun.
Tired, disillusioned and in pain from the sunburn, we walked along the promenade for an
hour looking at girls and eating our packed lunch before climbing back on the bikes for the
long ride back down the busy, traffic-filled main road to our London suburb.
We didn’t try it again. The experience taught us to look for fun a lot closer to home. The
local park, for example!

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