The October half term is almost over and that means a final goodbye to the visitors who invade our small seaside town during the summer months. It has to be said that they are not universally liked, and it will be good to have our town and our beautiful bay back. There will be less pushing and shoving and fewer harrassed parents shouting at wayward children in the streets. “Gerrout!” “Gerrear!” “Gerroff!” There will also be less rubbish left around. Nobody will poke their sweet wrappers into the middle of our hedge and leave them there and there will be no more chips and ice creams lying around on the pavement for the dog to find and hoover up. Sometimes a local will fight their corner. I saw one man wind down the window of his car when he saw a child kicking an empty can in the street and shout. “We’ll be knee deep in shit afore you lot go home.” The mother wasn’t bothered. She just screamed back, “he were only kickin’ it” and went on her way. Of course the visitors bring money into the town, the pound shops rely on them, but we also pay a price.
It’s interesting living somewhere that changes through the year. During the summer I have been walking the dog along the beach amongst children digging in the sand and eating ice creams and making my way across the park through families playing cricket and rows of elderly people enjoying the outdoor brass band concerts. Soon there will be hardly anybody here at all and I will be heading down a wild, windy and almost empty beach with my hood up and my head down amongst the returning flocks of small wading birds who hurry over the sand in formation. Familiar faces in town who have been hidden among the crowds will reappear and chat, telling each other quietly that it is good to see the back of the trippers. Next Spring we may feel differently when the weather gets warmer, the daffodils appear, and the boating pool and the pitch and putt are opened for Easter. It will all be fresh and new and we will enjoy the company of strangers as a sign that another summer is on its way. Maybe.