It’s always been a dream of mine to live by the sea. I find there’s something very calming about it; when I can’t sleep I think about the gentle roll of a calm sea and that usually does the trick. However, I also like it when there’s a heavier sea running and the waves are crashing on to the shore; it creates quite an atmosphere then.
There’s never been anything stopping me from setting up home on the coast; in fact my first job was in a town just a ten minute drive from the sea. I suppose it came down to my order of priorities. Initially, before I knew anyone in the area, convenience was a big factor and I wanted to live within walking distance of work. As my local social circle grew I made a move closer to my friends, which took me further from the sea, but I would always find an excuse to take a trip back to the shore – whether it was to look for a present for a friend’s birthday in one of the little gift shops, if I had visitors for the day or just wanted to blow the cobwebs away with a bracing cliff top walk.
As it happened my now fiancé had the opportunity to relocate for a new job. While initially I wasn’t overly enamoured by the prospect of moving to a new area when we were already settled, I took the view that life is always going to change, but things have a habit of slotting into place. We weren’t closing the door as such – we’ll certainly be popping back to visit various family and friends – but one certainly opened, the opportunity to live by the sea, so I grabbed it.
We’ve been here a month now and there’s certainly no looking back; I wouldn’t change it even if I could. We’re living in a coastal village with a beach only ten minutes walk away and a National Park nearly on our doorstep. The first week we were here I had to keep reminding myself that this wasn’t a holiday, that we wouldn’t be packing the car up again when the weekend came. Needless to say I walk down to the sand nearly every day, come rain or shine and when the tide is out I like to walk along the beach; if not I make do with the prom, but it’s not a bad substitute, I still get the view.
When we had an exceptionally hot weekend in May, as you might imagine the beach was packed. It was nice to see young and old, couples and families enjoying the weather and surroundings. It was just a shame that so many people chose to leave their litter on the sand, even when there are plenty of litterbins provided and a recycling point in the beach car park. And so much of the rubbish could have been recycled, as it was mainly cans and bottles. What would have taken a minute or two to dispose of correctly by each person led to a shocking scene of strewn waste.
I’d already got so much pleasure from the beach in just a fortnight, I didn’t want to see it like this. It moved me enough to head down to the beach the next day to take a leaf out of the Wombles’ book. With the help of my partner we filled all the bags that we had taken down with us – fourteen of them, nine of which we were able to recycle the contents of. We were never going to clear the whole beach of litter, but every little bit helps. Another couple remarked that we had inspired them and that the next time they came for a walk on the sea front, they too would come armed with some bags to pick up litter.
A clean beach should also inspire others to leave it clean, but surely they shouldn’t be even contemplating leaving their rubbish behind in the first place? Is it just down to laziness, that it really is too much effort to gather a few items up and place them in a bin? Or is there a sense that it doesn’t matter, that they’ve come for the day and now they’re off home, so it’s not their problem anymore? They might not think about the people who come to enjoy the beach the next day and that their litter can pose a hazard to wildlife on and off the shore, but it certainly matters to those affected by it.