You may have gathered that I'm a big fan of the beach. I'm sure it's in my blood, what with being raised on an island and all. Most of my earliest and fondest childhood memories centre around time spent at the beach with my folks. I used to pelt along the sea front on my bike (with stablisers when tiny) and my dear mum maintains it was the best way ever to wear me out.
Then there was my dad and his amazing 'boat-digging' skills. Yes, he used to draw out a boat in the sand, and then dig it out for me. I would then spend many a happy hour pretending to sail it. I have the photos to prove this, but no I'm not sharing them.
And of course there were the days we spent trying to fly kites (I think this was more for my dad's benefit than mine) I don't remember much about this other than sand dunes may have been involved.
Anyway, the point I am getting to is that in these credit crunch, belt-tightening times, it's good to know that there are stil some pleasures in life which don't break the bank. You do have to pay a small fee to get access to some beaches in Dubai - and for a large fee you can visit the private beaches of some of the top hotels.
But there are some beaches which are completely free. And we discovered a new one this weekend. It was busy, but fabulous. You can drive the car right onto the beach (helpful when carrying an over-sized beach bag stuffed with books and magazines) althought this did elicit much squealing at one point when we thought the car was going to get stuck in the sand.
So anyway, we're on the beach. The weather is perfect (36 degrees). I'm sipping an iced mocchiato whilst catching up on news, celebrity gossip, Radio 2 podcasts and Cherie Blair's autobiography. The rain, wind and cold of a UK Winter seemed very far away. Call me shallow, but that's why I live in Dubai.