I spent my childhood living only thirty miles from the sea. No distance these days - you could nip over the Skegness for an hour on a Sunday afternoon. But in those far-off days the sea might as well have been a hundred miles away, for we went only once a year - in what was called Trip Week. We had no transport of our own.
Trip week was the last full week in July and was followed by August Bank Holiday Monday, so that your week ended with a long week-end. All the factories in Lincoln, our nearest town, closed down that week and everyone, but everyone, holidayed then. We usually went to our nearest seaside, which was Skegness. And we went by train from the station at the bottom of our garden. It used to be so exciting, packing our cases and walking the two hundred yards or so to wait on the platform for the one train a day which went through to Skegness (on every other day of the year I would watch it trundle past with envy!)
It didn't matter that the sea itself never got anywhere near the seafront at Skegness - at low tide the sea was a mile out. And what did that mean? It meant a mile of golden sands. We would buy a new tin bucket, a spade, a packet of those little paper flags, put on our cossies and we were well away. If it ever rained I have forgotten. In my memory the sun always shone.
According to Nicholas Crane on the BBC2 programme, Coast, no-one in the British Isles lives more than 72 miles from the sea. On the map we seem to be right in the centre of the country and it is a fact that we are almost equidistant between the Irish Sea to the West and the North Sea to the East. I do like to see one or the other at least once a year.
Just as exciting is flying over the ocean - in 2008 it was the Atlantic on our way to Houston.
One year we had a hold up for landing in Gibraltar because of fog and the pilot treated us to a fly up the Mediterranean sea - now that was really exciting. And once, flying into Sharjah, en route for China, we came in over the waters of the Gulf in the dark, and the water looked like oil.
I suppose if you are born, or brought up by the sea, you develop an affinity with it. I always think it would be lovely to live by the sea and see it in all its moods. As it is, I am never likely to live at the seaside now, so I have to make do with getting my fill of the sea views whenever and wherever I can. All I can say is that I never tire of it - I don't know what makes it so exciting but it is.
The photograph above is a textile I did some years ago after holidaying abroad and looking down on the beautiful crystal clear blue sea of the Mediterranean on a sunny day. It doesn't come anywhere near the real thing, but it helps.