Being someone who has to always ‘live on the edge’ not in the sense that I am an adrenaline junkie, but in that I have to live near the sea, I was intrigued by Manonabeach.
To explain a little further!
A few years ago a very enthusiastic gentleman burst through our office doors explaining he was stopping random strangers on the beaches of Great Britain and beyond and asking them the question “What does the beach mean to you?” He would film their response. I think at the time we did not really understand the concept and my boss listened politely and he disappeared. I never forgot his enthusiasm for life and all things beach and I stumbled upon him on Twitter having launched my own business Crabpot Cottages. His website now is a cornucopia of delights, with beautiful photography and a plethora of vignettes filmed on the beach, asking beach goers the question ‘What does the beach mean to you?” It is a must visit website for anyone interested in our beautiful and varied coastline.
You don’t ever see The Man, he remains an enigma, a voice, which makes it all the more intriguing. He simply films a snap shot of a particular beach, selects a random stranger and listens. The love for our beaches is clear. Everyone filmed has a story to tell, and it is fascinating. Memories come flooding back, childhood, family, holidays, reflection, passion, isolation, freedom every emotion it seems is bought out by a walk on the beach.
So I asked myself the question, ‘What does the beach mean to me?”
Having lived all my life within a few miles of the beach, and having a father who comes from the Shetland Islands I think it is completely in my blood. I almost get slightly anxious if I have not been ‘to the edge’ in a while. The beach has always been a place of safety, of retreat in bad times. A haven in fun times. A thinking space, a creative space, somewhere to clear my head. To just sit and be. It is my go to place. I have so many memories of the beach it is hard to pick out my favourite times, but I think the time my fiancé and myself bought two comfortable chairs, and took them down to the beach for the first time is certainly one of them. We are getting on a bit and the rug on the sand was just not cutting it anymore, so we invested in the chairs. We always BBQ and have a bottle of fizz handy and on this occasion we took our wet suits and had a moonlight swim, which was magical. After the swim, BBQ and fizz we fell asleep in the chairs, it was a warm balmy night, and I woke up to a pitch black sky filled with stars, three hours later. We somehow gathered all our stuff together and walked home feeling elated and alive.
Summer is wonderful and I love sharing the beach with the holiday makers. That first burst of excitement as the children tear down the ramp onto the sand, bucket and spades in hand. Sandy picnics and cricket. Holidays are so important and we pride ourselves in helping make memories to last a lifetime in our properties.
Winter is a more private time, the beach is empty apart from a few hardy folk, but this is the elemental raw time in Norfolk. When the coastline takes control again. The wind rips your ears off, the sand blasts your face, the seals with their haunting call that sounds like children crying.
Manonabeach captures all of this and more, I am wildly jealous that I did not think of this concept as I think he has my perfect job.