Oh, I do like to be beside the seaside. I do like to be beside the sea……goes the song.

I mostly talk about the natural history of seashores but, of course, there is a lot more to British coasts than that. There is a lot to do with people and their activities – especially when they are out to enjoy themselves.

There were plenty of people, patterns, and colours at Weymouth in Dorset when I visited this delightful old-fashioned seaside resort last week. Here are a few photographs of subjects that caught my eye.

The most exciting was a rare glimpse of a species that is seen less frequently these days – a Punch and Judy Show. [For readers unfamiliar with British seaside culture, this is a puppet show dating way, way back, and in its original form of presentation was considered to be a bit politically incorrect]. This one belongs to the famous Professor Mark Poulton.

There were stacks of blue, green and yellow plastic canoes on the beach for hire to those wanting to get into the water – although the sea was a bit too choppy for boating on the day I visited. 

For people wanting to enjoy the sunshine and watch the view while cosily out of the breeze, there are wind shelters with seats scattered along the seafront. The roof of each of these is trimmed with a decorative, white-painted, wrought iron frieze; a different design on each shelter. This one looked like a row of entwined hearts to me. I love the way the underside of the roof has been painted in a contrasting bright orange red.

More active sorts of people can brave the waves by hiring one of the bright yellow pedaloes arrayed on tethered rows on the sandy seashore.

Many people just want to relax and rest their feet – so there is still a big demand for the traditional British deckchair with its blue and white striped canvas seat, like these lined up on the promenade at Weymouth.

COPYRIGHT JESSICA WINDER 2012

All Rights Reserved

4 Replies to “Beside the seaside at Weymouth”

  1. That Punch and judy man was at Southwold earlier this year; I ate fish and chips while he was setting up. I’d love to know his claim to be Professor!

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  2. The use of academic titles like Professor seems to be a tradition in fairground and show-business circles. The comedian Max Miller had a character called ‘The Professor’. In the circus world, performers often give themselves military style titles.

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  3. Interesting! Sorry was not at Southworld, you are thinking of John Pulson.
    Re ‘Professor’ I was told it comes from when you profess to excel in your chosen vocation and is about as academic as a ‘school of dolphins’!
    Weymouth is a great place to perform the old show and was where I first watched it as a child, strange to think I am now running the show!
    I am building a new Punch & Judy booth at the moment but this will take me at least 2 winter to complete as I make, sew and paint EVERYTHING myself!
    Enjoy! Cheers.
    Mark

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  4. Hello, Mr Punch
    I’m delighted to hear from you. I hope you didn’t mind me taking the photographs and using them in my blog? Quite a few people have looked at the pictures of your show – so perhaps it is doing a bit of advertising for you. I look forward to seeing your new booth when it is finished. It sounds like a meticulous labour of love. Good luck, with the new season.
    Best wishes
    Jessica

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