It’s half term – nice, quiet roads; nice, quiet Tubes (with the exception of the District & Circle lines anywhere near South Kensington).
Where has everyone gone? Lots of them will be in the mountains, whooshing down the slopes and carving up the snow. Early reports indicate that this may been the comeback season, with lots of snow and tempting deals luring skiers back to the pistes.
But is it enough? Not for me. I’d still rather spend my time and money feeling the warmth of the sun (and not just on the patches of exposed face-skin around ski googles and hat) and hearing the roar of the ocean. While there’s something undoubtedly breathtaking about being way up in the sky under a cobalt canvas looking down on the sparkling white blanket of wintryness beneath you, nothing beats the salty tang of sea air and that life-enriching feeling of warm sunbeams on your limbs, and watching the sun nudge up from beneath the tin-foil waves in the morning.
Ten years ago, I camped on a beach in Puerto Morelos, Mexico. After cooking a tin of refried beans on a coconut-husk-fuelled barbecue, we put up our tent (which was more like a canvas coffin), then wedged ourselves into the hard-packed sand underneath for the night.
We didn’t get much sleep, so as soon as the darkness lifted we unzipped and dozily padded down to the Caribbean Sea to watch the sunrise. Pelicans rippled on the waves as the light peeked above the horizon, then leaked into the dull sky, bringing everything – including two grumpy campers – back to life again.