AT THE BEACH

The blue canvas deckchair under the bright orange beach umbrella is waiting just for me. I will spend most of the day sitting on it, reading.

Glistening with perspiration I head towards it, whilst a delightful whiff of salty water brings a broad smile to my face and the sound of the sea ebbing at the water’s edge tells me that I have arrived at my favourite spot.

I put my bag down on the sand, grateful for the shade provided by the umbrella, and kick off my flip-flops. The smooth sand feels soft as I dig my toes into it.  It is a hot day, very typical of the Mediterranean summer. I smile as I watch shoeless people stumble from one point to another, crying out with pain as the hot sand literally burns the soles of their feet, some holding ice creams already dripping down their hands.

The lifeguard tower is at least a storey above the rest of us and has the green flag flying high which means that it is safe to swim today. The lifeguard must have a magnificent view of the bay from up there!

I look towards the turquoise sea. It is beckoning indeed and there are many people already in it. Some are playing games, others are swimming and a few are just sitting down in the shallow end, cooling themselves off as the waves come over them with a welcome splash. I want to join them. The sea is warm but walking into it slowly and getting wet little by little is an exercise in self-torture, so I hit the water with a soft splash. Totally immersed, I start swimming vigorously towards the deep, tasting the salt every time my face ducks under.

About thirty exhilarating minutes later, I walk out of the sea and head back to my deckchair. I notice that lots of children are at the beach today. Most of them are happily playing in the water but others are on the sand, busy building sandcastles using their brightly coloured buckets and spades. They are well-protected with a white sunscreen that, sometimes, gives them a weird, ghostly appearance.

Not the same can be said for the adults, I’m afraid. Some will never learn! They lie on a beach towel on the sand or on a plastic, air-filled mattress in the sea soaking up the sun for what seems to be forever. They are, of course, completely oblivious to the fact that they are slowly getting dangerously sunburned.

I settle down in my deckchair and dig into my picnic lunch consisting of crispy slices of bread that I have spread with olive oil, sliced tomatoes, tuna flakes, capers and mint leaves and a bottle of cold, sparkling water to wash them down. They always taste delicious and so very moreish.

At last, I open my book picking up where I had left off the last time I was here. I have the afternoon all to myself and I am so looking forward to it!