Making the most of our daily walks by the sea

Daily walk along the seafront

Daily walk along the seafront - Credit: Robin Fuller

The weather is always a good topic of conversation for the British, especially for those of us that live by the sea. 

The recent storms brought much to discuss with the freezing temperatures and icy winds. The high waves and fierce tides threw cobbles onto the esplanade and moved the shingle along the shore line. Many considered the power of the sea and whether a glass sea wall could withstand the enormous stones lying where the wall will be. The last week has been cold and wet making lockdown even harder for most people. As soon as the rain stops or there is a glimpse of the sun, people get outside. Sometimes as people meet each other they carefully keep their distance while catching up on each other’s news. I know that these short exchanges make me feel so much better. Many of us use technology to catch up with friends. We have become innovative at creating social opportunities despite the restrictions.

We are social animals. Our evolution traces our development from small nomadic tribes to later evidence of larger groups settling in villages and later cities. The development of language and our arts, crafts and sciences depend on us working together and being sociable. From babies and toddlers that learn to mix and play in friendship groups and baby and toddler clubs, to schools, workplaces and social groups and clubs, our very being relies on meeting with, talking to and sharing activities with others.

How hard we all find it to miss out on family and friends’ special occasions: birthdays, weddings, anniversaries and even funerals that allow us the opportunity to grieve together and celebrate the life of someone we love. I have a daughter and grandchildren in Australia and it is now over two years since I have seen them. I am so lucky to speak with them regularly on Skype or WhatsApp as I expect many of you do with family and friends.

But wait a minute. What about those who do not get out for a walk each day and so cannot socialise outside? What about those who are ill and on their own, or those with a disability, a mental health disorder or those who are still too frightened to leave their house? Then there are those who are trapped inside and cannot connect with the outside world digitally because they have not learnt how to or cannot afford it.

Most of the support organisations that would help these people have had to close their services to meet Covid regulations. Sid Valley Help cannot wait to be able to start their group activities that bring people together or to begin home visits to those who cannot get out. Hopefully it will not be too long before this is allowed. In the meantime, when I am feeling really fed up and wondering when I can meet friends again, I try to remember how lucky I am and that I can pass the time of day on the seafront discussing the cobbles and the shift of shingle along the coast!

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