There is a rhythm set down by the sea – by the steady turn of the tides, the passage of the boats, the pull between land and water. But it is there also in the year’s division of pleasure, the stark demarcation of the in and out of season. To the unaccustomed eye there is little so bleak as a seaside town in winter – the shuttered gaiety, the unpeopled shore, the wind that rattles the amusement arcades, ice-cream parlours and bed and breakfast windows.
When the warmer months come, they are heralded not by the hedgerows, snowdrops and songbirds, but by a sense of the town itself unfurling: the reopening of cafes on the front, the softened contours of the sand, by the sea that no longer scowls a hunkered-down grey, but softens, and lifts its face towards the sky. And then comes the arrival of the day trippers, pleasure seekers, holidaymakers, a sudden swelling of numbers for the yearly parade of airshows, funfairs, hen dos, weddings.