Monday, 8 April 2013

Beach

Beach, Crosby Beach, Liverpool, Sculpture, Art,
A figure from Another Place on Crosby Beach, near Liverpool, England
(Photo by Andrew Dunn)

BEACH

Noun. Mid-16th century.
[Origin uncertain: perhaps identical with Old English bæce, bece brook, stream, with transf. meaning '(pebbly) river valley',
surviving in many place-names as Sandbach, Wisbech]

1. The water-worn pebbles of the seashore;
 sand and shingle. arch. M16

2. The sandy or pebbly shore of the sea, a lake, or a large river;
esp. that part lying between high- and low-water marks. L16

When I read beach in the OED, I was little bit surprised that the word is (probably) Old English in origin. Britain isn't famous for its beaches, and we roundly aspire to abandon them yearly for the beaches of Spain, Portugal and France. Both Britain and Ireland, however, have exceptionally beautiful beaches and coastline, something that is often overlooked by both those visiting and those living here. Granted, the mercurial weather doubtless puts many off, but this can be part of the beauty - leaden clouds rumbling overhead in late Autumn, filling you with a sense of awe and insignificance before the might of nature, or the sharp snap of a Spring breeze around your shoulders that makes you laugh and pull your collar in. And of course, yes, if you visit in Summer, you might just be lucky enough to find a day on the beach that allows you to peel off your woollen jumper and strut around, Copacabana-style, in just a t-shirt, jeans and boots.

3 comments:

  1. I've only been to one Irish beach, I think it was in Malahide (I'm not sure). It was August and it was chilly. I kind of liked it though, because I'm used to Greek beaches where it's always scorching hot. I hate swimming, so I'm usually the one who waits patiently in the blistering heat sweating like a pig.

    p.s: You forgot to mention Greece as a summer holiday destination. British people seem to go crazy over some islands. There was even a Channel 4 "documentary" (What Happens in Kavos...) about all the stuff that goes on when they visit Corfu (pretty scary).

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    1. Malahide is a nice area in Dublin - it's just a shame the name sounds like something you'd preserve a dead cat in.

      My apologies for skipping Greece as a favourite holiday destination, and even more apologies for the type of British tourist that Channel 4 makes 'documentaries' about.

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    2. No need to apologize! I'm sure Greek people don't always behave themselves when in the UK. :)

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