Beside the seaside
I'm Michelle - I'm new to BBC Learning English and this is my first blog. I'm very pleased to be joining the site.
I want to tell you about my recent trip home when I embarked on a traditional British day out - a trip to the seaside.
Here in the UK, the beaches are often too cold for sunbathing or swimming - especially in the North, where I'm from! Still, the British seaside has a special culture of its own. There are a number of traditions and unusual activities that are associated with the seaside - like fish and chips, funfairs, seaside rock, jellied eels and donkey rides.
I'm from the city of Newcastle, which is up in the North East of England - quite near Scotland in fact. The seaside village I visited recently is called Alnmouth. It's on the Northumbrian coastline. I went with my boyfriend and parents - and we started the day with a traditional plate of fish and chips, mushy peas and a pot of tea. Delicious!
The North Sea is very cold and often brings in a lot of windy weather, but this particular day was unusually calm. I think the children in this picture were off on an adventure looking for sea creatures in rock pools. They were much braver than me though - I didn't so much as dip my toe in the sea!
Alnmouth is a very picturesque and calm place. It's quite old fashioned - I don't think it's even got a bank! There are lots of little boats moored along the coast. It's really quite idyllic - and so far removed from the chaos and noise of London. I pictured myself living in one of the brightly coloured houses and taking out a little boat to catch fish for my tea!
As I mentioned, there are some more unusual traditions associated with the English seaside, like donkey-riding and the rather peculiar Punch and Judy show. As you can see the Punch and Judy show is a type of puppet performance. It uses regular characters including the anarchic Mr Punch, his wife Judy, a crocodile, and a string of sausages as a prop!
All the characters are played by one puppeteer - called a 'professor'. One of my friends from University actually works as a Punch and Judy 'professor'. It's an unusual way to make a living - but I think he must be very talented to take on all the different characters.
I'd be very interested to know about the sea where you live. Do you live near a beach? Are there any unusual cultural traditions or types of performance associated with your country? Do you have anything similar to Punch and Judy shows?
Looking forward to hearing from you,
seaside rock: A stick shaped confectionery - made of boiled sugar
jellied eels: A traditional English dish of eels in jelly
rock pools: Pools of water left between rocks when the sea tide goes out.
moored: When a boat is secured to something to stop it floating away
far removed: very different - as if on other sides of a spectrum
tea: In this case meaning 'dinner'. As far as I'm aware, 'tea' is used more commonly in this way in the North of England
haunted: Somewhere where there is said to be supernatural forces - like ghosts or spirits
give me the creeps: A phrase meaning something is giving you an uneasy feeling - often associated with the supernatural
rather peculiar: quite odd or strange
anarchic: Someone who doesn't conform to rules or social norms
to make a living: To earn enough income to support yourself