If there's one thing I miss about living back home (apart from my family of course) it's the seaside. Growing up in the Falklands, my mum used to do a lot of diving so my memories from then are of us being on the beach surrounded by penguins or watching elephant seals and killer whales. When we came to the UK, we moved to Broadstairs to be close to my Grandmere, and my family's been there ever since. Broadstairs has always been, in my very bias opinion, the gem of Thanet (yeah that's right my family live in Thanet with Nigel Farage, he's my mum's bestie).
Broadstairs has the best restaurants, the best pubs (If you visit make sure you check out The Chapel, a bookshop turned ale house), the best beaches, the best waves, the best people (ahem)...the list goes on. In Broadstairs, we swapped penguins, elephant seals and killer whales for surfing, Mr Whippys and Jelly shoes. I still used to see the occasional seal pop up while surfing, a couple of beached whales (its sad but it happened, an ex-boyfriend once photographed himself in a sperm whales mouth. I've moved on to maybe not bigger but certainly better things) and I've recently heard a shark was sighted in Herne Bay (whether this is true or not who knows, but I'm excited for sharks on our shores).
Anyway whenever I go home, my mum and I always try and take a stroll by the sea. Last time I went home it was a gorgeous clear day, but it was bloody freezing. My brothers, man friend Dan and mum's boyfriend all sheltered in our local pub, while my mum and I went down to the beach.
We were both completely wrapped up searching for shells while wearing gloves and shivering, when a man climbed out of the sea in nothing but his whitey tighties. He put us to shame that day. Every year on New Years Day the citizens of Broadstairs go for a swim in the sea off Viking Bay to usher in the New Year. I'll be honest, this is something I've never done, and the only time I've gone in the sea has been when I've worn a full body wetsuit. I'm a house plant not a piece of Atlantic seaweed, so I like to be as warm and toasty as possible, which is why I'm going on holiday to Iceland in October...this is not why.
Other bloggers have been praising Broadstairs' showy neighbour Margate since it tarted itself up for the arrival of the much controversial Turner Centre, an art gallery come skyscraper which overlooks the harbour, my favourite review is by Lisa from Not Quite Enough which comes in several parts and shows the Shell Grotto...a grotto made of shells. Don't get me wrong I like Margate, it's gone from trashy to trendy quite quickly in the last 5 years and is full of vintage boutiques and galleries galore, but I'm just saying Broadstairs did it first and it's timelessly classic style can't be emulated. Accept perhaps by Whitstable.
In fact the one thing I don't like about where we live now apart from it being so far away from the ocean is how far away I am from my mum. It's a necessary evil, there are no jobs in our industries for me and Dan in Thanet, and quite frankly I could never move back to Thanet. I don't want to alienate anyone, people read this blog for their own reasons, maybe they like the recipes, London reviews or they just like me talking about dinosaurs for a post, but my childhood could have been better. My friends know about it, my family knows and the person that hurt me sure does know (FYI the powers that be know too), and I love my mum and my brothers and my mum's boyfriend, and the cat and dog, and that's why I go home.
In fact I was quite unhappy we couldn't bring our dog down to the beach because they're not allowed on Viking Bay during certain periods of time over the Summer. I'm sticking up for our four legged friends rights everywhere. But it was good to spend some girl time, it's not often my mum and I get to do things solo with both my brothers still at home. So we walked round the bay, took silly photos and went to take a trip up by shell walk (not its real name, I think it's Fort Road) but it's basically an alley with shells fixed into the walls, a shadow of the Shell Grotto. But there are some pretty humongous shells.
I'm pretty sure this shelly walk was where my obsession for shell collecting started. My dream is to visit Oman, go diving and see all the shells. My mum lived there as a child so she has some whoppers, beautiful conches and one's I don't even know the name of. Don't worry, I won't be taking any home with me! Just photographs. Broadstairs has some gorgeous abalone shells with their pearl inside fixed into the wall, over time people have tried to take them away, queue Gollum shouting 'Thieves'. But it's still nice and people come to visit it after a lazy day on the beach.
I won't lie, by the time we'd finished looking at the shells and being touristy I ran back to the pub and had a glass of mulled cider in hand quicker than you can say Quidditch. I'm rereading Harry Potter...can you tell? I'm looking forward to going home again in a couple of weeks, I might even be brave enough to go for a swim with my short wetsuit.
You will never know how many times I wrote and rewrote this post, which I was going to post on Wednesday. The truth is every time I think of home I think about my past and it's quite difficult to write about it without mentioning what happened. So I'm sorry but I'm not sorry because this is my blog and as much as I love you guys, I kept secrets for a really long time and keeping them in eats me up inside. This is probably why I'm such a gossip now.