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Maureen’s Day at the Beach

It was always sunny for some unknown reason it always was


Day at the Seaside project August 2012
Interviewee: Maureen McMurchie, born in Edinburgh, 1937

My brothers and I used to go onto the rocks, and I used to try so hard to get the limpets off the rocks.  I don’t know if you have ever tried to get the limpets off the rocks, but you can’t.  I spent more time bashing them trying to get them off,  but I never succeeded.  But we used to get the shells and look for crabs and things like that.  I wasn’t very happy about it mind, you know when you get the green slime and you slither and slide all over. And go onto the shuggy boats  I liked the shuggy boats.

There used to be a paddling pool between Whitley Bay and Tynemouth.  It’s still there.  It’s not in use.  Nine times out of ten we used to go to the paddling pool ‘cos there was no sand.  I liked the paddling pool.  We didn’t go to the Spanish City because we didn’t have the money.  I used to like the donkeys on the beach, but I used to feel sorry for them ‘cos they always looked sad.  I thought they weren’t treat very nice.  They probably were, but I didn’t think they were treat very nice.  They used to be standing out in the sun all day and I used to get myself upset over that.

Another thing was skimming with stones.  We used to have a competition to see who could do the most bounces skimming across the water.  I used to love doing that.  We used to try and make sandcastles.  Somebody always came past and jumped on it, especially the boys.

Apart from my brothers I used to go with my stepmother and if I didn’t go with her I used to go with my grandmother.  To get to the seaside we used to just walk because I lived in Whitley Bay.  No trains, no transport, I used to just walk.  I was taken down nine times out of 10 after school, but I hated it.  I don’t like the beach.  I don’t like the sand.

The most dreaded thing of all was the knitted swimming costume because when you went in the water it filled with sand.  The top came down to the knees when it got wet, which was very embarrassing when you’re a young girl.  Horrible!

And we used to make ginger pop.  We used to take the ginger pop with sandwiches; it used to be pilchards.  Pilchard sandwiches – I hated them.  And jam –  jam was dreaded for the sand.  People used to run past and if the sand got in your sandwiches you were finished. Apart from going after school I used to go down in the school holidays.  It was packed.  A few times I got lost.  I couldn’t remember where they were.

The thing I liked best was coming home with the shells.  I used to paint them and try and put holes in them to make necklaces.  I didn’t like the sand.  Loved the rocks –  didn’t like the sand.  When people’s running past the sand flies and it gets in the sandwiches all over.  And the worst place to get it is in between your toes when you’re coming home –  it’s horrible.  I used to bury myself in the sand.  I didn’t like it but I did it.  You just do what everybody else does, but when I think back I didn’t like it.

The people have changed.  They’re not content to just go on the sand.  They want more than just sitting on a beach and I don’t think they know how to play on the beach.  We used to play cricket and rounders on the hard part; it was great. It was always sunny.  For some unknown reason, it was.

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