Oh I do like to be beside the seaside!

“I do like to be beside the seaside” is a popular British music hall song written in 1907 by John A. Glover-Kind and made famous by music hall singer Mark Sheridan. It speaks of the singer’s love for the seaside and his wish to return there for his summer holidays each year. It was composed at a time when the British seaside resorts were booming. This was the main holiday for many families and I can remember many such holidays from my childhood in the 1960’s spent at British seaside caravan sites. Perhaps this is why in July and August I feel a desire to visit the seaside.
There is something special about being by the sea. I know not everyone shares this view and many millions of people now go abroad for their holiday. But I would hazard a guess that a lot of these destinations involve the seaside. My parents in the early 1970’s used to take us to Spain in a new safari land-rover with an old caravan (1940’s) in tow. With a large family of six children there was an awning on every side of the caravan except the tow bar end!
This August I hope to take my caravan to North Wales. It may not be the same as a hotel but it does connect me with the holidays of my childhood. My sons think I am mad! They had many caravan holidays but prefer to think that they have progressed to something better. I quite like the basic nature of caravanning. It is not as bad as camping but it is something different from my normal life. There is the freedom to go where you please and do what you want. Perhaps my sons remember the endless trips to top up the water and empty the waste. Not forgetting those splendid communal washrooms!
Going on holiday is a time to relax and think about life. It is a kind of retreat from your usual daily pattern of life. Whatever you preference as to the kind of holiday perhaps you will also find time to think about your relationship with God. It is at such a time that we are more open to reflecting on our spiritual life in a way which is not possible when we are caught up in our normal routine. I will enjoy being beside the seaside once again.
Mark Binney.