Of all the things the Queen, PD James, Keith Richards, Tracey Emin and I have in common, my favourite is that we love beach huts. The Queen used to picnic at hers in Holkham, Norfolk, before arsonists blazed it in 2003. James plans murders in hers at Southwold, and I like to imagine Keef jamming with the boys at his in West Wittering, knocking back Jack Daniel’s in matching deckchairs. Emin flogged hers in Whitstable to Charles Saatchi for £75,000. I’d planned to do the same, but it hasn’t worked out. So here I am at my hut in Clacton-on-Sea, Essex — sun blistering, waves ripping, salt on my tongue.
I love beach huts because they stand for a peculiarly British romance with the mundane. Only we could find glamour in huddling from the wind in what is essentially a painted garden shed. But they encapsulate five of our obsessions: modesty, weather, nostalgia, property ownership and tea.
I bought my hut on a miserable day in September 2011. The most brilliant, ridiculous thing I’ve ever done. I was down on the pier, scoffing candyfloss and playing slot machines, when I looked back and saw the coast defended by a proud line of pastel doll’s houses. I knew — instantly, idiotically — I had to have one.
Mine looks like the Wendy house I had when I was eight. Inside are yellow gingham curtains, tea-light holders, three ducks flying up the wall and a Calor Gas stove. It’s trapped in an era when Pat from EastEnders was crowned Miss Butlin’s Clacton — 1958.
My friends love it: I drank wine on the balcony with Nick in June; I played Jenga, shivering under blankets, with Will in April; with Amy, last October, I swam in the sea at 4am.
Reads the fill article here: http://www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/style/homes_and_gardens/My_Place/article1294489.ece<a