Saving Lives in Second Hand: A Ridiculous Tale

July 19, 2017
Saving Lives in Second Hand: A Ridiculous Tale

 You know when you just want a quiet day on the beach and you end up rescuing an elderly couple from quicksand? No, just me? Let’s start from the beginning then.

Manchester. England. The year is 2017. Sam (boyfriend), Vashka (cat) and I awake from our slumber to sunshine streaming through the window. We luxuriate under the covers as it warms our bones but our snooze is cut short as the realisation creeps over us… Actual sunshine. In summer. Every single person knows what happens next: utter panic as you decide what the fuck to do so as not to squander this rare and magical gift.

Like 80% of the population, we opted to join the mass exodus to the coast. Sufficiently slathered in factor 50, we hopped in the car and told the sat nav to point us in the general direction of Formby beach. Unfortunately, when we closed in on Formby, the traffic metamorphosed into the seventh circle of hell, so we changed track and went to Crosby instead. Crosby beach is home to Antony Gormely’s ‘Another Place’ installation; one of my favourite pieces of public art that I promptly lowered the tone of with my incessant need to touch their butts.


For the occasion, I opted to wear a gingham top I found in a charity shop in Whitby a few years ago. It cost me £2.99 and  if we’re going to quanify cost per wear, I’m now in debt to that top to the tune of £1000s, so versatile is it. 

Paired with my top was one of my favourite vintage skirts. I attempt to wear in a non-beach context whenever the sun shines but it has yet to happen. Why do beach and city clothes feel like completely separate entities? We popped into Asda on the way back and I may as well have been wearing full Notting Hill regalia given how utterly over and under dressed I felt, simultaneously. I felt so, completely conspicuous; like I had a boob out or something. But on the beach, I felt like a child of the sea, all bare shoulders and skirt blowing open to the thigh in the sea breeze.

So, dressed for a beach setting and none other, we set off along the beach, munching on snacks discussing the pros and cons of building a house by the sea. About an hour in, Sam let out an alarmed-sounding ‘oh my God!’. The only thing that caught my eye was one of Gormley’s statues wearing a t-shirt so, although a little surprised at Sam’s overreaction, I gave a cursory ‘oh yeah’ and started to walk on. Sam didn’t because, nope, it wasn’t the particularly sun safe statue that caught his attention, it was the OLD COUPLE SINKING IN QUICKSAND, SHOUTING FOR HELP directly in front of us. 

We ran over as fast as we could to find them thigh deep in a particularly nasty brew of mud and water-saturated sand. Rendered completely useless by their instructions not to step in and help them, we stood around like a pair of damp flannels for a few minutes before I sent Sam off for a nice, panicked run down the beach to get the lifeguard. Anyway, it all ended positively except that, given that they probably reassured each other that no one would even remember the event in a few weeks, I’ll probably go to hell for telling the tail of their wet, sandy plight.

Dramatics over, we continued with our strolling and daydreaming, giving the soggier looking patches of sand a wide berth and here ends the ridiculous tale of saving lives in second hand.

Top: Charity shop, Skirt: Vintage, Bag: From a tiny shop in Berlin that I wish I could remember the name of, Sandals: Teva, Hair tie: Belt from a vintage dress

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