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In many ways, the afternoon that I, my mother and my son, spent sunning ourselves on Climping beach was a highlight of my recent vacation.

Partly this was due to the weather which was almost uncannily fine for a south coast seaside visit. The Channel itself was as calm as could be, and as we arrived at low tide, we had the open expanse of the whole beach before us.

And not just us. There were plenty there, splashing, playing with their dogs, sunbathing, beachcombing. All in very good humor, perhaps aware, as we were, that this was special day.

Time seemed to slow down. Now, even thinking of that afternoon seems to uncouple my mind from the concerns of this moment and recalibrate it to a slower and calmer mode.