Dinner picnics on the beach

Spring has well and truly sprung in Cornwall. And with it the last of winter’s snot is finally drying. Thank God. Parents are shouting with relief from the rooftops: ‘the one hundred day lergi is finally over.’ For the curse of winter is one not of short days stolen by darkness and chill, but one of long nights, sleep stolen by crying children in need of Calpol and cuddles. So let’s hope we can all, quite literally, now breathe a little more easily as we ease towards the balmy climes of summer.

Today we’ve already had our first alfresco beach dinner, which is pretty good going in March. With a stiff sea breeze cooling the rays it’s not quite t-shirt weather, although we did see one naked toddler braving the sea. Brrrrr. Why is it us Brits feel the need – and from such an early age – to shed all our kit at the first glimpse of sunshine? Do we realise even in our pre-school days that the days of summer are so limited here in the UK?

My boys enjoyed some barefoot beach time, but boy-oh-boy were we quickly reminded that it was only March once the sun went down (and a cracker of a sunset it was too). One minute the scene was one of surf-gazers and families basking in the sunshine, benches rammed outside the beach bar. The next everyone was cradled over hot chocolate, huddling from the chill under every piece of clothing they could find. Suddenly the punters dressed for summer in the Med looked very cold and silly indeed.

Yet if this was the scene for the first days of spring, we can only look forward to the joys of summer at the beach: sandy nappies, sandy picnics and surf-starved parents fighting toddlers into wetsuits. Or, in other words: happy family days by the sea. And, with any luck, less snot and more sleep.

Incidentally, we were at The Watering Hole in Perranporth, one of Cornwall’s coolest spots for surfside beer and alfresco dining with your toes in the sand. I’m not going to lie and tell you the food and the service is the best in the county, but then there’s nothing an average plate of fish and chips and a surly barmaid can do to tarnish the legendary reputation or stunning location of the place.

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