Enjoying the sun on Worthing beach

Worthing beach
Worthing beach

To mark the first anniversary of this series of articles about postcards of Worthing, we are this month not “looking back” as far as we usually do, so much as looking in a different direction.

On March 1, 2006, Beryl sent Hermine Cuss, of Reading, the postcard of Worthing beach that appears at the top left of this article.

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“It really is just like this,” she writes. “Turquoise sea, white sand like talcum powder, little fish swimming by, and palm trees swaying in the breeze.”

Palm trees swaying in the breeze…?

Ah. Let me explain.

The Worthing beach that features on these postcards is 4,277 miles to the west of the one with which we are familiar – at the south-west corner of the Caribbean island of Barbados, and about three miles from the capital, Bridgetown.

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It is only in this one corner of the island that beaches have names that derive from counterparts in England.

Just to the north of Bridgetown there is a Brighton Beach, and the beach to the east of Worthing Beach is Dover Beach.

Almost all the other beaches on the island have local names: Batts Rock Beach, Gibbes Beach, Morgan Lewis Beach, Walkers Beach. There is, however, a Miami Beach.

Beryl’s vivid account of her holiday continues: “The sun has been very hot and I have got a bit of a roasting despite the suntan cream.

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“Had a wonderful day today when H. hired a car and we drove around the island. Have seen 10 beaches in all now, each one so spectacular.”

The third card was sent by Ruby and Bruce to Mr and Mrs MacPherson, of Ontario, Canada, on January 16, 1975.

“Hi folks,” they begin cheerfully. “How’s the snow? Around 85 degrees here.”

Helen and Philip, who sent the fourth card, on June 2, 1980, to Mrs Allsopp, of Yarnton in Oxfordshire, also commented on the heat: “It’s very hot and I’m slowly turning from lobster red to brown.

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“The sea is warm but rough and we’ve been swimming about six times a day.”

Needless to say, no Worthinger would dream of swapping his familiar seaweedy Sussex beach for the shallow delights of the Bajan version.

However, it is just possible that the postcards that illustrate this piece may provoke a brief, if treacherous, temptation to do so...

• Antony Edmonds is the author of Worthing: The Postcard Collection (Amberley, 2013).