Family trip to Camber Sands on Sunday with old friends, stopping at the garage on the way to buy a couple of disposable barbecues.
On arrival, we realise we’ve forgotten the all-important flask of tea so head off on a mission to sample the delights of the seaside caff half a mile down the sand. Cue queuing for six takeaway PG tips for a tenner, followed by delivery back to beach HQ.
Despite inevitable disputes as to the division of labour amongst various siblings, the all-important barbecue “firepits” have been dug, fought over, filled in, repositioned and redug. Boogie boards are requisitioned as makeshift windbreaks, dinghy oars as stanchions. Meanwhile the dinghy itself is somersaulting down the beach in the wind.
Burnt fingers, swearing and obligatory shouting at children ensues while we try to keep the magic touch paper alight in the face of the substantial south-westerly ‘breeze’. Once it’s fired up, we unwrap the premium quality sausages and local butcher’s burgers (one does have standards…). The latter have stuck together, only to fall to pieces when they are prised apart.
Once the bangers are lined up with military precision and the burgers that haven’t fallen through the holes are stuck fast to the grill, we notice that – despite the windbreaks, strict exclusion order around the cooking area for anyone bar the two chefs (male obviously, for this is a barbecue after all) and artfully wielded tongs – every sausage and bit of dismembered burger is instantly coated in the Kent coast’s finest sand.
No matter: 20 minutes later, 11 of us are happily crunching our way through ‘artisan hot dogs’ with equal parts ketchup, carbon and beach. While clad in thick hoodies. What’s more: barely a whiff of complaint emanates from the assembled company – as if sand-filled baguettes are quite the seasonal delicacy in August.
Could we have been any more British if we’d tried?