Greetings, fellow sun worshippers. As I write it hasn’t rained in almost four days, so I’ve cancelled my emergency trip to San Tropez on the assumption that fickle summer is here once again, like that mysterious, sexy acquaintance who bangs on your bedroom window at 3AM, but doesn’t always remember to return your calls when you’re drunk and crying on a Tuesday. I’ve laid out in the garden long enough to become optimistic about our atmospheric prospects, so I’ve booked an appointment with my wax technician, stocked up on factor 4 and bought in enough Pimm’s to pickle a porpoise. It isn’t summer unless you can hit the beach to show off last winter’s surgery, but before any of you can clap eyes on my new bottom we need to establish a few ground rules or, should I say, sand rules.
Much as it pains me to say it, the standards of Jersey’s beaches are slipping. I’m not talking about the environment, which is still cleaner than my colon after a week-long wheatgrass binge, but about the behaviour of the people who congregate in it. I appreciate that a small island can’t afford the staff to police beach behaviour in the same way as more progressive places like Dubai or Singapore, but just because we technically have human rights that doesn’t mean your children have the human right to interrupt my nap time wailing because they’re not grown up enough to fight off seagulls on their own. Maybe if you spent less time getting crude body art and more time handing out spankings I’d be able to doze in peace. Not that the so-called adults are any less annoying to be around – it’s like Club 18-30 ran out of space for loud people with sunburned necks and they all came here instead.
This is clearly intolerable, so as a solution, I propose we get rid of those polite little signs that tell you not to start deckchair fires or crush people with your jetski, and replace them with some more civilised rules, enforced by uniformed goons. They’re firm but fair, and anybody who disagrees is welcome to hop on the next flight to Greece and sunbathe there instead. I hear they can’t afford to be too picky with who they welcome at the moment.
Rule #1: respect my personal space
Say what you want about European tourists, but what they lack in queuing ability they make up for with their inherent understanding of how to seize tactical control of the best sunbathing space. Get up at dawn, reserve your spot with towels, return to bed. In the continental spirit, I’ve been paying one of my gardeners (who lives just a few parishes away) to turn up on the sand at 6AM and set up my sun lounger, wind-break, three towels and umbrella in such a manner that most people are naturally repelled and pitch up well away from my personal VIP area. For those who don’t get the hint and manage to ignore my midday death glare, you have only yourselves to blame if footballs happen to get popped, sand happens to find its way into your packed lunches and clouds of wasps are attracted to the sugar water that somehow got spritzed over your belongings whilst you were splashing about in the water like grotesque, tattooed walruses.
Rule #2: beach fashion doesn’t mean letting it all hang out
I like to spend a lot of time nearly-naked, but that’s because I’m wealthy enough to have a body that is tanned, manicured and sculpted into perfection by a small army of personal trainers and discrete men with tweezers. Most of my calories come from cigarettes and gin, so I can actually pull off the latest fashions, created as they are by eccentric French designers who are disgusted by a woman’s body unless she resembles a teenage boy. I’m not saying you should be ashamed if you don’t look like this (although I would be), just that you should think twice before choosing incredibly revealing clothing to wear to the seaside. Fashion flatters by obscuring our (your) flaws and emphasising our (my) finer features, which means that you should consider the bits other people might not want to see before putting on the string bikini that lays bare your plucked-turkey thighs and hairy bottom crack.
Rule #3: seaside dining – nothing ruins the beach like a burned sausage
Aside from cheap perfume, babies’ nappies, sandal foot fungus and artificial coconut oil, there’s so smell more likely to ruin my day at the beach than the stench of some idiot who has decided that scorching the outside of a few chicken giblets will make him the Ainsley Harriott of his social circle. If I found it relaxing to be downwind of charred wildlife I’d go back to grief-spying at the animal crematorium. There should be a maximum punishment for those awful people who insist on fouling the sands like BP at Deepwater Horizon, except with Reggae Reggae Sauce instead of crude oil. The only consolation I cling to is that beach barbecues are statistically proven to be one of the largest sources of really unpleasant food poisoning.
Rule #4: don’t bring your own entertainment
The beach is entertaining on its own, it doesn’t require enhancement by footballs, stereos and Tyson, your beloved family pet. There’s a reason I don’t come to spend my weekend relaxing in your living room, and it’s not just the KFC stains on the furniture or the potential to catch lice. It’s because I don’t want to hear your taste in music, talk about ‘the big match’ or be forced to bury your dog under three feet of sand whilst you’re away buying Tangle Twisters. If you must occupy yourself, a book or magazine should suffice, although preferably not ‘Fifty Shades Of Grey’ – It might give you the wrong idea and I’d rather watch a cow giving birth than any public displays of affection between you and “ur bae”.
Rule#5: respect the power of the ocean
The proliferation of public swimming pools has created the entirely unreasonable expectation that there is some kind of public duty to prevent other people from having accidents in the water. Considering the amount of noise people seem to be encouraged to make these days you can hardly blame me if I mistook some tragic thrashing for simple jubilation, and covered my head with a towel whilst your elderly mother was swept away to the next island over. I’m also not there to warn your children about jellyfish (I think of them as free botox) or steer jetski-driving idiots away from rocks. If anything, I think there should be specific traps set up to catch jetskis, which are nothing more than an expensive aquatic version of those awful scooters that buzz around St Helier 24 hours a day. Say what you will about the likely global devastation caused by climate change, on the bright side there’s a good chance that some of the people who persist in ruining my summer might get eaten by sharks.