Beside not inside the seaside.

It is a wonderous thing, the sea. Wonderous and yet terrifying. I live in central England and so my experiences of the sea are reserved for holidays alone and I put it down to my neglecting the sea that I have an uncertain relationship with it.

This weekend, A took me to one of those aquariums where you gawp at marine-life safely through the plexi-glass of an enormous fishtank. Safe, dry, coiffed and not even a sniff of sea salt or a whiff of Mr Whippy. I confess to enjoy things like this, the luxury of being able to closely inspect a dormant electric eel without risking a slimy-brush with aquatic plantlife is a privelage! The day concluded with a Marine Safari where you travel on a conveyor belt through glass tunnels watching the rays and sharks float eerily above your tiny and edible heads. A was most disappointed that the Shark Feeding Time did not include a blood-bath feeding-frenzy rather some nondescript sinew being chomped quite mechanically by the beasts before returnng to their sentry-swoops of the massive tank.

All in all, the morning was an entertaining one culminating in a trip to a big chain eatery and me ordering a plate of mussels and prawns.

The marine experience of Saturday morning although utterly bizarre when you consider it properly, got me to thinking happily about our little log-cabin waiting for us in Denmark. I have been researching extensively as work is pretty quiet at the moment. The beaches in Denmark are a well kept secret known only to those true beach-lovers who put the absolute effort into finding those legendary and esoteric beaches of Skandinavia. The sand is white, the dunes are pure and untouched, there are no adolescents with trolleys combing the beach for gullible punters to buy a shoddy pair of flip-flops, the water is so clean and clear that big, fat fish swim right up to the frothy, weedy shallows. This is all blissful save the fact that my life-long nemesis, the jellyfish travels to the Baltic specifically to terrify me away from dipping a single toe in the water.

I wish I could explain my unearthly terror of the jellyfish. The ones that are most commonly found on Danish beaches – Moon Jellyfish – have no stinging capacity whatsoever. They are pale and white and usually very small. Nothing like the gigantic Portuguese Man O’War my infant brother found whilst on a childhood walk on the beaches in Ayreshire to the horror of our Nanny! They are honestly quite harmless and its not as if they can chase you! Nevertheless I am mortally afraid of the vile beast, the jellyfish. I am equally as terrified of a Moon Jellyfish as I am a Box-Jellyfish.

This pathalogical fear prevents me from ever going in the sea as whenever I am promised that the coast is clear (literally) by family members I have loved and trusted all of my life, I always, always ALWAYS succeed in finding one.

I have never been a victim of a jellyfish sting. I had an unpleasant graze with a Moon Jellyfish as a 10 year old but otherwise I have had no contact with one so I know that the issue is that I have convinced myself that they are the spawn of the underworld. It bothers me so profoundly that you can buy fried jellyfish in Japanese restaurants. It gives me the heebie jeebies when I think about that funny, little German girl who scooped a very flabby Moon Jellyfish into her pale and toddled back to her sunbathing father only to flop the gelatinous fish onto his snoozing, orange stomach!

I am a litle jealouse of fearless souls who can go scuba diving and snorkeling without a care in the world. I am a little jealouse of those charismatic people who cry out like Tarzan then leap into the sea off the back of a yacht. And so (and rather pettily after my trying excuses in this blog today) the sea to me means hot sand and a bottle of beer and a nice book. I am lucky that my A shares similar sympathies regarding the sea otherwise I’d look like a real wimp!


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