Thursday, 1 February 2007

The promenade

I live in a 'retirement town'. People of my parents generation aspired to retire and live by the sea in the same way that we want to retire to France or Spain, and so many of the towns along the South Coast developed to cater for this need. The promenade is long and flat. It goes from the Marina at one end of the seafront all the way to the cliffs at the other; a distance of three miles in all. It is wide enough to take walkers, joggers, people on roller blades, people in wheelchairs (motorised or otherwise), people on bikes, people with pushchairs and children, people with dogs, people using walkers, people with surfboards, the train that drives up and down in the summer to rescue people who have walked too far and can't get back and the occasional utility vehicle! Except that it isn't really wide enough to do all of that; especially in the summer when it is sunny, and the children are off school and everyone in the world has come down for the day! If you stare too long at the sea you are likely to be swept away by a passing roller blader, or caught up in a fight between two unleashed dogs, or knocked off your feet by an out of control electric wheelchair. These can be hired for the day or week from a local store but don't come with driving lessons! In these chairs some people seem to develop a Dick Darsteadly mentality and drive with anarchistic zeal! One even carries the number plate FU2! If you like the place a lot and then you die, you and your family can arrange to have a bench placed along the promenade with your name on it. A lot of people have liked the place as there are a lot of benches. No matter how ill you feel or how far you have walked there is always a place to sit and rest and always someone slower than you.

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