Portobello beach gets like Amity from Jaws when the sun shines (just be glad we don't have a killer shark) – Susan Morrison
There's a scene in Jaws where Police Chief Brody goes to the beach with his family. He knows a shark is hunting. Brody’s eyes never leave the sea, looking for that fin. Bet you can hear the music.
Then up pops Mrs Police Chief Brody wearing a smart little cossie, fabulous sunglasses and gorgeous floppy hat, surrounded by cool boxes and thermal bags, full of chilled beer and sarnies. All around, families have lovely parasols, huge beach-wrap towels and snappy sun visors.
Back in ’76, when I first saw this scene, I thought, jings, these guys do the beach in style.
Then the shark hits, Brody starts screaming to get out of the water and I clutched my choc ice so hard it melted down my arm.
Of course sunny places like Amity do stylish seaside. They get to the beach a lot. It justifies buying the kit.
The whole scene came back to me on Tuesday, when the sun suddenly blazed down on us. We headed to Porty, pronto. This is Scotland. Ten minutes? Could be snowing. And there’s that danged haar. Speed is of the essence.
We grabbed whatever we could. A picnic rug with waterproof backing, an impulse buy in Tesco two years ago that finally paid off. Some old towels with holes in them, was going to bin them, stuck them in the bag.
Sunscreen we found at the back of the cupboard. The use-by date was roughly this century. Figured that would be OK. We shoved the lot in a bag and headed to Porty-sur-le-Mer.
The town had gone Amity without the shark. Scots go nuts when that much UV light hits us. We’ve just got to get out there in anything that we can lay our hands on. Our American and Mediterranean friends have the right sort of gear, but we maintain a wartime-utility approach to sunny day beach options.
The beach was beautifully socially distanced, I noted. Families lounged on anything from a selection of fairly battered towels to dad’s discarded t-shirt.
Cool boxes may reign in the USA, but we favour the plastic bag. A quick glance around and I’d say budget supermarkets are doing OK. Aldi and Lidl seem top choice for wee bottles of Coke, Irn Bru and fizzy water, whilst Greggs and Sainsbury’s were well represented in both the sandwich and sausage roll/pastry categories.
None of these tasty treats were stored in a thermally controlled environment, so those egg and cheese sarnies suffered from being gently cooked in plastic. No worries. We are a nation that rather enjoys a squishy moosh of melting cheese, boiled egg and white bread.
Bondi Beach babes take daily strolls by the Pacific. They say they have different swimsuits for days of the week. So do Scottish children, if you count pants.
The t-shirts, floaty skirts and flip-flops all showed signs of being pulled from wardrobes and drawers, bought for Spain, Italy and Florida. The kids were being slathered in brand new sunscreen still in Boots plastic wrapping. The swimwear had seen more chlorine in pools than salt in seawater, but Scottish experience laughs in the face of Mediterranean style.
All Scotland needs to get beach-ready is a blanket, an ice-cream and sunshine on Porty. Also, we don’t have killer sharks. Defo a plus.