The playground bell has emptied the beaches of children with their high pitched shrieks as they run into the waves daring each other to be the first to get fully submerged in the frothy tide. The ice cream vans have retreated to the housing estates in search of calorie junkies and the lifeguards are twiddling their thumbs willing someone to enter the water and maybe even get into a little difficulty. Anything to relieve the leaden monotony. This is the lot of the small coastal resort at the end of the summer season.
Soon the lifeguards will resume their alter egos, sign up for this year's student loans and order their round of drinks at the union bar. The residents are claiming back their locale. Within a few weeks the beaches will once more be the preserve of dog walkers, the local "characters," who insist on having their invigorating dip in the briny every day of the year and myself in search of a change of scene for my training. The solicitude of the empty beach is to be welcomed.