The perfect summer for me is most definitely a sunny one. I wasn’t built for the cold and find myself piling on extra layers quicker than you can say ‘breezy’. So it may surprise you to learn that every year we take a holiday in Hunstanton on the north Norfolk coast – one of the windier places in the U.K.
Hunstanton has been a family favourite for many years, especially when the children in the family were young. It is a classic seaside resort and has all the essentials: sand, sea and ice-creams galore.
Every August bank holiday most of our family converge on Hunstanton and every year we are surprised by how windy it is and spend most of the time saying ‘if it wasn’t for that breeze it would be glorious.’
Hunstanton has some of the most amazing sunsets I have ever witnessed. It is in a unique location as it’s on the East coast of the country but it faces West. Now the kids are getting older it’s lovely to wander down to the promenade and sit on the steps, huddled together against the wind and watch the sun go down.
I was brought up on the coast – I could see the sea from my bedroom window, so I think there is something that draws me back to it. A lot of my childhood memories are of building epic sandcastles, diving off breakwaters and rock pooling. It was a fun and happy time in my life.
Perhaps this is why the beach keeps cropping up in my stories. My main character Ruby in The Promise of Summer is drawn to the seaside because it holds a lot of happy childhood memories that she wants to recreate and share. And my 2022 summer book is actually set in Norfolk.
I don’t think you can beat a game of cricket on the beach or fish and chips eaten out of the wrapper with a tiny and virtually useless wooden fork. Or chasing a lilo along a windy beach and skimming stones. And whilst I know sand in your sandwiches or crevices isn’t fun it’s all part of the fun of a day at the beach.
Spending time with family really is a very precious thing which is something I think we all knew but has been magnified by recent events. Silly things like barbecuing in the rain, messing about in the water and play-fighting over the last piece of cheesecake were things I took for granted and barely thought much of at the time but I now realise these are the important moments. The times when we are being silly and don’t have a care in the world are what matters because this is when we are at our best.
So the perfect summer in my mind would be sitting on Hunstanton seafront with a large ice-cream surrounded by my family and not a hint of a breeze – maybe this year it will happen.
Bella Osborne's new novel The Promise of Summer is out now.
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