As soon as the sun comes out in the summer, we British like to be beside the seaside. So we pack up sunscreen, swimming costumes, buckets and spades, flip flops, sunhats, beach balls, cricket sets, picnics, frisbees, kites, sweaters in case it gets cold, and a million and one other things. We then get into our cars and join everyone else with their tightly packed cars on the road to the coast.
On Saturday, it took us a little under four hours to do a little over 90 miles. We went to West Wittering, where we had to queue for 20 minutes to pay £6 to get into the car park. By the time we got in there, the tide had come in and covered up all the sand, and thousands of people were sitting on a pebbled beach a few feet wide. Well, it meant we didn't get sand in our sandwiches... The picture doesn't do justice to the crowds - I only had my camera phone with me, and it picked up too much of the empty space we cleared when we started packing up our stuff to leave.
Lots of people apparently never made it out of the car park - they set up gazebos in the car park, lit their barbecues and sat eating burnt sausages amongst the cars.
On Saturday night, we drove down to Bournemouth, where we stayed with a couple of New Man's friends, whose flat looks out over the beach (so no driving on Sunday morning). We spent another day on the beach and decided to wait until the traffic had died down before heading back home. I suppose you could say it worked - on the way back, it 'only' took us three and a half hours to do 120 miles.
You'd be proud of me - in a total of eleven hours of driving over the weekend, I didn't swear, didn't make any rude hand gestures, and only flashed my lights in anger once!
So was it all worth it?
Of course it was - apparently even Edith Piaf loved the sea...