It is the half-term holiday here in North Yorkshire which, by the by, is also known as God's own county. The weather is exceptionally good for the time of year and the visitors are flocking to our little seaside town.
Being late February it is not yet warm enough to go for a paddle or a swim, but our maritime heritage still stirs in our veins and we are not going to be deterred by a bit of chill wind and waves crashing over the sea wall at high tide, sending up plumes of icy spray to soak our promenaders. No, we are not deterred in the least. Come the ebb of the tide and exposure of the golden, sandy beach, the visitors swarm down on to it, like lemmings off a cliff.
We shall leave them there, booted, hatted and spurred to the eyebrows to enjoy the delights of a winter walk along the beach. and turn our attention to the folk that decide to sashay forth along the promenade. All shades of life are to be found here. There must be something in our ancient DNA that drives us to immediately head for the iron railings that top the sea wall. When I say us, I don't mean the adults among us. I refer to all toddlers and young children, who climb on to the railings as soon as they clap eyes on them. Is this why we adults go rock and mountain climbing? Personally, I'd settle for the nearest tree any day, at least you don't have to carry all that gear with you.
I won't go on about the dog walkers They are my personal bete noire, even though I am a dog lover, (see my blog 'Dog Walking By The Sea 2016). In addition to dog walkers, I have observed another fascinating phenomenon on the promenade. There are always a proportion of adults pushing EMPTY pushchairs, or is it strollers these days? No matter, I am still in the pushchair era.
I have seen men driving pushchairs with a football in it instead of a baby, (I can understand that), pushchairs with a small dog in, (we...ll, maybe), but a pushchair with nothing in and no toddler in sight......?
Now this is not an isolated phenomenon. Last summer I saw it many times. Pushchair ... no baby. What is going on? What did they do with it? Did it go out with the bathwater? Did they leave it in the Baby Changing Room as they didn't like the look of the others on offer? Or worst of all, at the café sign that says 'Kids Eat Free Here', but spouse reads it as 'Eat Kids Free Here and hence the empty pushchair?
Something is going on and now I think I've found the answer. The other day at the supermarket check-out there was a couple behind us with a toddler in their trolley. Ah-ha. Of course. I've seen the notices at the entrance to the supermarket cafés 'kids free' and 'kids half-price'. Maybe that's where all the littleuns go. Wow, I bet that couple behind me at the check-out, got a lot of points on their card. I wonder what the going rate is?.....