Are we fed up with these yet? I'm happy if you are, but just thought I'd ask. So, we're off to the seaside this morning, a harbinger of sunny days to come we hope. My first holidays were spent on the Lincolnshire coast in a bungalow at Anderby Creek (sounds like something out of the Secret Seven doesn't it?), and the memory of jumping down from the verandah with bare feet into soft white sand is still very fresh. Being Strict Baptists in the 50s we had Sunday School on the beach, two families listening to my father talking to us in his rolled-up trousers. We never forget him getting a large piece of newspaper out of his pocket, and unfolding it to reveal a cut-out letter 'S'. He asked us to tell him how many things we could see beginning with the letter. I still find it remarkable how many there are: sun, sea, sand, seagull, ship, seaweed, starfish, swimming costume. And I must have pointed to my cousin Sue at one point. Heady, carefree days. Kite-flying, serious cricket matches on the firm sand when the tide receded to Holland, trips to a corrugated iron watch tower at Donna Nook with a door banging in the wind (ah, that's where it comes from). And hoping my older brothers and cousins would let me play with the clockwork train set we'd brought on a real steam train all the way from Leicester to put up in the attic. Mmm, let's all go there now.
I am a writer and photographer who spends all his time looking at England, particularly buildings and the countryside. But I have a leaning towards the slightly odd and neglected, the unsung elements that make England such an interesting place to live in. I am the author and photographer of over 25 books, in particular Unmitigated England (Adelphi 2006), More from Unmitigated England (Adelphi 2007), Cross Country (Wiley 2011), The Cigarette Papers (Frances Lincoln 2012) and Preposterous Erections (Frances Lincoln 2012)