Chapter 26 Naturists at Studland Bay
I was enjoying my retirement having got the apartments refurbished, and the rents were coming in regularly with my daughter living in the building I was able to take as much time as I desired on holidays and visiting family, Janet was living in Freshford a village near bath and working at the local school.
Donald at that time was working at bath technical college and they wanted to refurbish their bathroom so I volunteered to go over to Freshford and it do it for them, I had done many bathrooms whilst working on the hotel so the task presented no problems for me, as usual the biggest problem was getting the old cast iron bath out of the bathroom and down the staircase.
I would go off down to Dorset and stay at Swanage for weeks at a time going every day to Studland beach to visit the naturist section, sometimes I would rent a room and stay for a few months, I was well known on the beach there and I would try to keep fit by playing games with the children, when the tide is out there is an area of flat sand that is ideal for playing cricket and I also had what I called a pat-ball set consisting of two oversize table tennis plywood bats and the squash ball.
I am sure that all this exercise and outdoor activity with careful eating to make sure that I looked my best is one of the things that contributed to my lasting good health, very few of the parents wanted to do anything except lie in the sun and occasionally swim.
On one occasion there was a strong offshore wind and one of the young girls I used to play with was carried by the wind in her inflatable dingy some hundreds of yards out to sea, we ran down the beach and waded into the water, her father shouted to her to get out of the boat so she leapt out and started to swim for the shore, her father by this time was in some distress because he was suffering from epilepsy, so I looked after the father while my friend gathered the naked twelve year old in his arms and carried her to the shore.
She was suffering from shock so we wrapped her in a blanket and someone offered her some hot tea, her father was also in a bad way but after a few hours they were both OK, she was very reluctant to play in the dingy after that, but I picked her up and threw her in a few times and she was soon back to normal.
The children said they wanted to go to Weymouth Sea Life Park, so about seven or eight of them piled into the Mercedes one morning and we took a trip to Weymouth we swam on the beach visited Sea Life and went to the amusement park, the only strange thing about it was having to put swimming costumes on to go in the sea.
There was an elderly lady who used to regularly visit with her granddaughter called the Natalie, grandma was named Vicki was well into her sixties and had already lost one breast but undeterred used to visit the naturist beach everyday when they were holidaying in the area, Natalie was a very fit fourteen year old who would romp with me in the sea at every opportunity, unfortunately this poor girl developed ME one winter and was never seen on the beach again. Vicky reported that Natalie would just lie in bed unable to find any enthusiasm for anything except her music; I don't recall which instrument she played; I suggested to Vicky that it would be a good idea to provide her with a computer but I don't think the idea was ever taken up, I phoned Vicky a few times and was told that Natalie did not want to talk to me.
To this day in 2013 I don't think there have been any great improvements in the treatment of ME and I wonder how poor Natalie is today.
My favorite playmate was a little twelve year old called Zoe, she and I used to practice gymnastics, which was easy enough as she was a lightweight and very agile, I was quite strong and if I bent one knee she could climb from there up my back and stand on my shoulders in the soft sand, the spectators would encourage her to stand on my head but we never got to that stage, her mother became worried that she would be injured.Zoe
One of the ladies had the misfortune to step on a stone fish and the poison spines on its back pierced her skin, we struggled to get her back to the car parking area where I had in my car a box of bicarbonate of soda, with the aid of some hot water from the café we were able to sit her on the back of my car with her foot bathing in the correct treatment, my boyhood training in the St John's ambulance Brigade came in handy once again.
Another of the regulars arrived on holiday with her ankle in plaster she had some crutches But there were not much good trying to get across the soft sand as the car park was about a kilometer away from the naturist beach, we carried her down so that she could enjoy the sunbathing and as I had gotten to know the young lad that drove the ice cream trailer and tractor he very kindly allowed her ride back locked in with the ice creams.