I usually watch about half an hour of Breakfast Television each morning (any more and I see the same news over again; that is the nature of the programme). This morning, and all the week in fact, they are concentrating on coastal communities and how they have 'gone down'.
I rarely go to the coast these days living, as I do, in the very centre of the country, but when I do go I am struck by the run down nature of the sea front in many instances and also by the number of elderly people around.
I guess there are many reasons for this, not least of which is the relative cheapness of air travel to much warmer places where the summer heat is more or less guaranteed. Also the fashion has moved away from the 'Boarding House' towards fairly cheap hotels which offer facilities like swimming pools, all day accommodation and the like.
I recall my first seaside holiday (aged 17) with my friend. How grown up we felt to be going on holiday together without our parents, albeit to stay in Cleethorpes in a Boarding House run by a lady called Mrs Cheffings who my parents knew. Apart from a ferry trip over to Hull one day, across the mouth of the Humber, I don't remember much of the holiday. What I do know is that it would not do for today's seventeen year old.
Perhaps therein lies part of the answer. Seaside towns have gone out of fashion because they just have not moved with the times. The Minister in charge of such things said this morning that Blackpool was an example of a town which had tried hard to keep up with the times, opening a huge Conference Centre which was much used.
To see these beautiful sea front sites full of boarded-up shops and arcades is a sad sight. What is to be done about it?