5 things I hate about sea-side living

Yeah, yeah, I know. Whining about living close to the ocean is like those annoyingly thin women who use sugar substitutes. There are downsides to coastal living though, especially in winter.

Cold. Sea view houses in the southern hemisphere face south, the wrong way for any vestige of warming winter sunshine. Our house is old and the rooms are large and draughty, heating is a nightmare. Unless you perch on top of a heater it’s no use, and electricity costs a fortune in this country.

Damp. The sea mist drifting off the Indian Ocean is so thick some days that I can’t see the bottom of the garden. I can see it wafting across the lawn and I can feel it entering any open window or ventilation brick. Icy and instantly wet. Clothes in the cupboard are damp and cold, and don’t let me get started on what the sheets on the bed feel like when you get into them at night.

Washing. Summer is all about shorts and t-shirts and washing that dries in a couple of hours. Winter means triple the clothes and quadruple the drying time. If I use the line it takes two days to get things dry and the tumble dryer adds to that dreaded electrical bill again.

Beach sand and mud. Sea sand sticks to everything and the heavy dew and mist means constant mud. The boys mess around at the boats and will never remember in a million years to take their shoes off before running into the house. My damp sheets always have a layer of fine sand on them. Standing in arctic chill last thing at night, sweeping out your moist bed, is not a fun activity.

Windows. I have a great view from my house but you wouldn’t know it by looking out the windows. Truthfully, it’s sometimes hard to tell if it’s day or night looking out the windows. A mixture of sand, drizzle and mist blasted onto glass by gale force winds leaves a grimy film that is replaced as quickly as you clean it. I don’t bother removing it anymore; I just pretend I’m living in an igloo until spring.


6 Responses to “5 things I hate about sea-side living”

  1. 1 Mike July 23, 2010 at 10:06 am

    The washing wouldn’t have taken two days to dry yesterday? But I take your point about winter living. I have a DVD by Sting in which he says that winter is his favourite season. He can keep it.

    BTW, two nights last week were the coldest I’ve had in 15 years in Sedgefield. Minimum of 3 degrees at my bedroom window. What price global warming? All this can be tolerable in a country where houses are designed for cold weather.

    • 2 Jeannine July 23, 2010 at 10:20 am

      Berg wind days like yesterday are a blessed reprieve!

      It was very cold last week wasn’t it? I don’t remember ever seeing such abundant (and persistent) snow on the mountains before.

      You are so right about the lack of cold weather facilities in this country’s houses. We all act like winter doesn’t exist and bloody freeze for three months every year!

      Very pleased about the great rain we’ve been having though, my garden is looking fab.

  2. 3 oh July 25, 2010 at 4:22 pm

    Ah, sounds like you have winter-itis! But I’d have to agree with the sand-in-the-bed thing. Egads, I stand there and brush out my sheets even though we DON”T have sand here. (except from the construction of having the backyard/pool area completely rehauled.)

    But I hate anything in the bed. I feel every little grain, crumb, anything! like the princess and the pea story.
    So on that alone, I feel for you. I’m not sure how the male animal is so oblivious to sand, mud, muck and etcetera. We have a “mud” room at our house, between garage and kitchen, so one has all sorts of possibilities before entering the house to leave all the messy stuff behind. Even the laundry room! you can drop it all in there before entering the “proper” rooms. But no. The men (and the dogs) just can’t remember. They come trodding into the front foyer or the kitchen entrance and walk about and then suddenly remember and kick their shoes off , and well…

    And the mist that blurs your view of the ocean? wow. the stuff of a good stories. But likely I’d be wrapped in several blankets staring out the windows at it. I can’t imagine, but love your list-reportage.

    Hope you’re warm and cozy with a book, some coffee or whatever are your favorite things! and the next season is just around the corner!

    • 4 Jeannine July 25, 2010 at 5:07 pm

      Great comment oh (as usual!) and right on all counts. I do have winter-itis and there’s a direct link between testosterone and the inability to fathom the source of dirt.

      Grit in the bed. . . every now and then I think “it’s so godamned cold I’ll skip the frantic sweeping, how bad can it be. . .?”
      Yip, it’s always that bad.

      Is that a pic of your new pool? If you weren’t such a nice person I’d have to hire someone to kill you.

  3. 5 shoreacres July 28, 2010 at 1:50 pm

    Fall and winter are my favorite times to go to the shore – I like the absence of people, the migratory birds, the much better shelling. When I’m there I don’t mind the cold or the sand, but the damp gets to me. And you sure are right about what the salt spray does to windows!

    But of course “visiting” isn’t “living at”. I suspect my nearest experience to what you’re talking about comes from living on a boat in winter. It can be made cozy, but you’re going to have to work at it, and work all. the. time. Imagine a very large tin can with a few cute cushions and a couple of drawings on the wall. The basic wardrobe question always was, “One layer of long underwear, or two?”

    Plenty of sanding dust around my place, but no sand. On the other hand, there’s that kitty litter. Walking across the floors barefooted, I’m always reaching for the broom and thinking, “How DOES she spread that stuff so far?” 😉

  4. 6 Jeannine July 28, 2010 at 2:39 pm

    Gawd! As longs as it’s just the kitty litter spreading. I have dim memories of clumpy kitty litter – bits held together in an unbreakable, unspeakable bond by, well, by kitty emissions.

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