The best beach barbecue ever

I have fond memories of being on holiday with friends. We would go to the beach and as everyone else went home for their evening meal, Alan would light a barbecue. It was warm, sunny and quiet after the fun and games of the day. Time to open a few beers as we waited for the charcoal to be the right temperature for cooking. Time to enjoy the special glow of the early evening and and the specialness of the occasion.

We’ve had beach barbecues at our little seaside getaway before, but not a planned birthday celebration. I invited the family, shopped for the food and ordered the meat from the village butcher.

After a morning swim, we were ready for the beach. There was a lot to take: picnic blankets, chairs, the barbecue, not forgetting charcoal, matches and a bucket to carry water to put the fire out. I packed the shopping trolley with food and drink.

Last year the grandkids and I had found the perfect barbecue site. Set back from the sea, but far enough away from the road to be hidden by the trees: an open space that was regularly used for fires. The day was warm and sunny. We stowed the food under the shade of the trees.

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We lit the barbecue. In the time it took to walk back into the village to collect the meat, the fire was ready for cooking. And it was a sumptuous feast: burgers and sausages, onions, sweetcorn and asparagus – and we did remember the tomato ketchup for those who like it.

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Son appeared on his bike. He had taken a train to Maidstone and cycled the rest of the way!

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As the embers died, we toasted marshmallows, the way every good barbecue should end. Full of food, we lazed in the sun and watched the children play. Later, it was time for son to cycle back. Reluctantly we put out the fire, packed up and made our way back up the hill. It had been the best beach barbecue ever.

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Living the dream #1

You know that moment in Shirley Valentine, when you see the house on the beach by the sea? That.

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Ever since I saw the film, I’ve dreamed about it. And, as I sat on the decking at our little seaside getaway the other day, eating my breakfast, I realised this is as close as I’ll get to it. Not quite on the beach, but as close as can be.