A Cold Afternoon at the Seashore

The sun was streaming in the windows of our home Saturday midday. After a week of poor weather and busy schedules, we had to seize the sunshine while it lasted.

I wanted to go to the seashore, to see a beach that was mentioned in Ulysses: Forty Foot at Sandycove. Plus, it was high tide, and I hadn’t seen saltwater up close yet!

We packed food, reading, and our folding chairs. As usual, Anita took a coat and wore several layers of clothes. I went outside and decided that the sun was strong and the temperature was warm. I was going to the beach — I was supposed to wear shorts and sandals.

At Sandycove, near the Joyce Tower, we found the famously rocky Forty Foot and a sheltered cove of shallow water. Children were playing where the water met the sand, and jumping into deeper water from a series of rock walls.sandycoveswim.png We fetched our chairs from the car and set up on a grassy patch overlooking the cove.

Several kids were wearing wetsuits, which seems to be the norm. The seawater isn’t dangerously cold, but it’s also not LA or the Gulf.

For me, the problem wasn’t the water. It was the cold air. There was a steady breeze of moist sea air, which was bracing. When the sun shone on us, it was even pleasant. And the idea of an afternoon at the beach is supposed to be about sunbathing.

The sun was shining on many parts of Dublin: on the island of Howth, on sailboats in the distance, and on the townhouses along the Dun Laoghaire Harbor. It was beautiful — as scenery.

Sitting on our chairs, just south of Dun Laoghaire, we didn’t feel much sun. seatsandycove.pngAnita read her book, satisfied with the temp in her black fleece zip-up. I tried to read a local political magazine …but I spent most of my time watching the clouds and hoping that the next patch of blue sky would bring me some warmth.

The wind shifted time and again, as if the clouds were conspiring to keep my patch of the world in the shade. The one time we saw the sun in all its glory, it rained. I felt like a cartoon character with a perpetual cloud over my head.

I was cold, and miserable. Eventually, I stopped toughing it out, and I convinced Anita to go home. cloudssandycove.png Here it is, mid-July, and I can’t get warm outdoors! We sleep under two blankets and a comforter. We run the furnace from time to time. This is absurd.

To be fair, the cool weather is worth it, overall. I’m sure those of you in 90°F aren’t sympathetic to my tale of woe. It’s comfortable to wear ordinary, nice clothes. Today, we went biking in the sun and didn’t break a sweat. Also, Dubliners tell us that this weather is unusual this late in the year.

PS – “Dun Laoghaire” is pronounced approximately like “Done Leery”.

1 Comment to “A Cold Afternoon at the Seashore”

  1. Keely said...
    11 July 2007

    Will, I knew as soon as you said you wore shorts where you were going with your story. tsk tsk :)

    p.s. thanks for the irish pronunciation of dun laoghaire. we’re all learning along with you