Seaside attractions a novel experience

SITTING on the seafront on a warm summer’s evening armed with an intriguing novel or a good travel book is just bliss.

It’s a lovely place to read, with a great view, and lots to watch.

So much so that last week when I managed to squeeze in an hour (while my wife Rachel and oldest son Matthew went to blood donors at the leisure centre – I am too squeamish and would faint) I didn’t get to read much of Ian Rankin’s Mortal Causes at all.

First off there was a sight I had not seen since the dark days of the HSS Discovery superferry.

It was another Stena vessel this time – the huge Stena Hollandica – causing a wash wave, or series of waves, which made several people stop and watch.

As the ship passed by en route to Harwich, a ridge of white-topped waves could be seen a mile out at sea, and it was fascinating to watch as these gradually rolled ashore around the bay, thundering up the beach in spectacular fashion.

It was a calm sea and so the effect was sudden and quite dramatic – the water rushing up the beach would have easily caught out anyone sitting in a deckchair or building a sandcastle. I don’t think for a moment it would have washed anyone out to sea – as the football pitch-sized high-speed catamaran did on occasion – but it would have given them a surprising soaking.

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A few minutes after this BBC Look East’s Kim Riley turned up on the prom with a cameraman to film a live segment for a programme – it must have been BBC News24 because the regional news programmes were long finished.

He was covering that night’s Felixstowe edition of the Evening Star’s front page story about the future of the town’s tourism trade.

Then radio presenter Rachel Sloane strode past determinedly – and back the other way a short time later – while three groups of friends stopped to chat to me.

By this time I had completely lost track of what Inspector Rebus was investigating.