Sea view is not so distant now

IT happened when I was picking up some lagers, a bottle of Chablis and a box of orange juice – I was having people in – when I spotted it.

I was just about to pay at the self-service checkout in a supermarket in the Edwardian spa town of Felixstowe where I have a small flat with sea views (distant) when a light went off signalling the requirement of assistance.

I intently watched the screen when a helpful young lady came over to my side.

“I’ll just be a minute” she said as she speedily turned keys and pressed buttons.

And it was in that moment I saw a terrible thing.

Up flashed on the screen a few options for the young lady to choose from and without event looking at me, without closer inspection, without much more than a passing glance she chose the option which said: “Clearly 25 or over” – or words to that effect.

She certainly had no doubt I was old enough to buy a couple of cans.

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Of course, I have laughed it off but don’t you start feeling old sometimes?

Even at 36 I sometimes think the world looks younger. I wish I were 21 again when I were carefree and could cope with hangovers.

Anyway on the plus side – and one thing I will say about myself is I always try to look on the brighter side of life – the sun is shining and the rain has stopped, at least it has for five minutes.

Suffolk is one of the country’s most marvellous places to live and suddenly everything seems green again doesn’t it?

And at the weekend, boosted by the more clement weather I hosted my friends Mark – a fellow journalist who has chosen sport as his subject matter – and his wife Liz, who is very big in public relations in the west of the county, to my latest indulgence – a Felixstowe beach chalet.

Yes, dear readers, after four years on the waiting list I am the proud tenant of a Bath Tap chalet with sea views (panoramic except for a small wall), though shady in the afternoons. I am utterly delighted.

It’s handy for the kiosk when you fancy a Magnum and comes with a built-in cupboard.

I’ve repainted inside, found some old plates and crockery, stocked up with tea bags and I’m on the search for a fridge. I’ve also picked up some salt and vinegar in the anticipation of fish and chip suppers.

I’ve even bought some beach hutty things – a beach hut themed tray, a beach hut mug, a key fob, even napkins – it’s surprising how much of it is about.

The old-but-comfortable look I am going for has enabled me to beg borrow and steal some old garden furniture from my parents’ garage – much cheaper option than buying new – and an occasional table I happened to find hidden in a shed.

And do you know there’s nothing really finer than an afternoon by the English seaside.

Sitting by the sea, looking through the field glasses, enjoying a chocolatey biscuit is now my idea of a nice day.

No wonder the lady at the supermarket could tell I was getting on.