Which beach would you rather be on? Here’s a clue: the rocky one on the left is buffeted by a fierce wind, and strewn with seaweed. The one on the right is lapped by the aquamarine waters of the Gulf, with an ambient temperature at least 20 degrees higher.
Ask my sand-phobic children which beach they prefer, and they’ll say the one on the left: the Great British Seaside (I know!).
Actually, I’m rather fond of it too (for a day or so each year). There’s something about the bleak weather, the stony terrain, the ice-cream sellers – and the fact you need to wear a jumper, a fleece and the beach rug to keep warm – that’s rather refreshing after the high temperatures of the UAE summer.
Today, everything was just as it should be on the English Riviera: the weather was challenging; the seaweed was stringy and the sea was playful, with crashing rollers and white frothy surf.
We enjoyed 15 minutes of determined sandcastle-building before a fast-moving high tide swallowed up our patch of sand with ravenous greed (the effect of the supermoon, perhaps), and spent a pleasant hour wandering around the seaside mecca that is Littlehampton.
But the thing that sticks in my mind isn’t the windburn, the shingle, my win on the two-penny slot machines, or my boys’ love of rocky, cold beaches over the white sands of Dubai. Nor is it the discovery that crazy snooker is now cooler than crazy golf. Or the reminder that seeing happy, hairy dogs diving headlong into the waves is great fun (public beaches are off limits to dogs in Dubai).
No, the thing I’ll remember is this row of beach huts. Price tag: £12,500 each.