They look like the victims of an attack; bodies laid out on the sandy beach under the searing heat of the midday sun at Seathorne on the Lincolnshire coast in 1962. In fact it was a group of family and friends making the most of a sunny weekend and snapped by one of the party at the moment when they were all obviously overcome with exhaustion. In the shade of the red and white striped towel sits my little dog, Kim, the only one who has remained wide awake, and with his attention caught by something in the distance.
A little later and most of the adults have stirred, although one or two are still napping. My mother is tending to the dog, who was still only a puppy. This time it was me whose attention was on something far more interesting further down the beach, whilst the little family friend with whom I’d been building sand pies is rubbing her eyes with tiredness.
Later still and there’s no chance of anyone’s attention wandering as all eyes are on the lady struggling out of her swimsuit with as much dignity as she can on a crowded beach - except her husband, who stares at his toes and pretends he’s not there. The older lady tries valiantly to cover any embarrassment that may result if a body part is accidentally exposed. The chap with the grin and the camera is feeling pleased with himself because he’s just taken a picture of her efforts for posterity. Even a ten-year old me, sitting in the centre of the picture, holding onto my beach ball, finds the situation amusing, as do the strangers on the steps. Of course I know all the people in the picture as well as the cameraman, my Dad, but he and four others in the group have now gone to play on the great sandy beach in the sky, including the contortionist, her husband, her assistant and the cheeky photographer. My little friend and I are grandmothers and my Mum and the lady in yellow are great-grandmothers. It seems like only yesterday, but the sands of time have already trickled through to the half-century mark. I wonder what people will find to smile about when the hourglass reaches the hundred mark.
For more amusing beach stories take a day trip to sunny Sepia Saturday, where our prompt picture this week was a beach photographer and his assistants.