Monday 13 May 2013

Muslim Bhaji on the Beach: Trip to Clacton

Earlier this week we decided to make the most of the bank holiday and take the kids somewhere for the day.  Hubby had been busy all weekend, so he was up for doing something fun on the extra day off too.

As we have a National Heritage family membership, we were planning to go to Audley End House and Gardens which had a Victorian fair on for the bank holiday.  Tickets were £15 each, but for us they cost £4.40 for the whole family. 

At the same time my dad had the bright idea of going to Clacton-on-Sea in Essex.  He rarely accompanies us on day trips anymore, but one of his closest friends lives there and he was up for it.  So when he suggested it, we all dropped our plans and decided to go as a large group with my family, parents, sisters, sister Fashionista’s lovely in-laws and my brother and his gorgeous little family.  I don’t think I can recall a time when we all went together anywhere so was up for it.

The only thing that was bothering us was that we don’t tend to go to the beach during summer because we look a bit out of place with so many clothes on amongst semi-naked people.  There is also the issue of lowering our gaze so we don’t have to look at semi-naked people.  We decided that we would go and find something other than the beach to do there as there was a rose garden, promenade and pier.

We spent the morning at a boot fair looking for bargains (Little Lady ended up with lots of fabulous books) and then drove to Clacton only to get stuck in the holiday traffic.  We finally got there feeling hot and hungry and unable to find a park to have our lunch in.  We found a strip of grass overlooking the sea and settled down to eat.

In the end, the food we brought from home was probably the best thing about the day.  Mum made spicy lamb burgers and very tender tandoori chicken chunks and I made chicken wraps, chicken and cucumber sandwiches and channa chaat.

As a child we rarely went to the beach because my dad didn't like to go where there are people not wearing much.  As an adult I love going to the beach with my family but as practising Muslims we try to be modest and are encouraged to lower our gaze.  This means we tend to go when the weather is cooler and people are not lying around semi-naked.

This bank holiday was fairly sunny, so it was probably not the best time for us to go.  We ended up avoiding the beach and looking for other things to do.  This left us with a visit to the pier which was dominated by gambling machines and a few fairground rides.

In the end, I enjoyed lunch, I enjoyed the sun on my face and I find being near the sea incredibly soothing and calming for my soul.  I enjoyed the company of my gorgeous sisters and sis-in-law and it was fun having the boys (my brother and Fashionista’s hubby and brother-in-law who is great fun) along.   However I don’t think I will be visiting Clacton-on-Sea any time soon as I didn’t find much to do there and I found the other visitors there a bit rowdy.

You can see Fashionista's pics and write-up here (complete with pics of the backs of lots of peoples heads  - and you can spot Gorgeous' missing tooth).  You can see Kooky Little Sisters pics here.  Also, a beautiful picture by Shutterbug Sister here.

Being lovely May as it is, we have another Bank Holiday coming up, so I am planning our next trip as we speak insh’Allah.

Any suggestions within and two hour drive of London?  I’m thinking old buildings, beautiful nature and lots for the kids to do.

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