When is a beach not a beach?
When you’re running up and down it in a pair of swimming trunks diving in and out of crystalline water in burning heat in late October.
I was expecting to be trudging up a rain soaked beach yesterday wearing a thick jumper, a cagoule, a weighty woollen scarf and a waterproof hat. A throwback to half terms staying with my gran in Scarborough, I admit. But still a shock to go to Lacanau, 60km west of Bordeaux, to witness a beach still wrapped up in its mid-summer glow. Scorching!
It’s been a big change moving to the big city from the farm in Queaux. A welcome change I agree, but stressful all the same. For thirteen long months I got up to see nothing but mist rolling up from the Vienne valley. Deer munching on saplings. Hare stealing apples. Dragon flies helicoptering round the pond. No cars, no people, no distraction.
Now I wake up in my 26 metre apartment with buses the size of houses crashing past. The noise so thunderous some mornings that I have to cower under my covers in case the No. 23 ploughs through the wall and flattens me into pâté. Not that a thin 1950s style eiderdown would be much protection against a 40 tonne bendy bus. But I do it all the same.
So yesterday was fantastic. Just to be able to run up the beach into the mesmerising haze of the Atlantic coast in nothing but a pair of shorts, was a massive tonic. Huge in fact. As big as the sugar mountain shaped sand dune I climbed up and slept on for a few hours in the glorious baking heat. Absolute heaven for a man like me.
So much so that I’ve looked into renting a place up there over the winter. City, weekdays. Coast, weekends. Why not? I’m going to ring up my bank manager today and ask for a loan.
It was a great day. And one which will serve me well over the coming months. Just to know that the sparkling sea and that everlasting carpet of golden sand is there. A mental crutch as it were. Like cigarettes used to be to me. Happy in the knowledge that they were there.
Because if there’s one thing I’ve learned from my time in Queaux. Is that I have to be able to see the horizon. To feel the indomitable spirit of planet Earth against my skin. To feel the water ripple over my toes and the sun bake my face. Fire and water. Here’s to Super Sundays in Lacanau.