WELCOME to our back garden – Weymouth Bay.
Shingle shimmers in the heat. Jetskis and dinghies skim the green-grey water. The beach is dotted with sun tents and windbreaks. Waves crash loudly on the shore. There’s hardly a cloud in the sky.
I’m light-headed from the smell of suncream and salt blasting off pebbles. Stones curl warm beneath my feet. It’s like sitting in the middle of a postcard.
Squatting on the edge of Bowleaze Cove is the Riviera Hotel (formerly a Pontins – I wish it still was). We’re at Greenhill, where locals prefer to wince up the shingle than fight grockles for space on the golden sands further down.
Next to us a red, blue and white striped beach hut sells ices, teas and hot dogs. Down to our left, the Regency frontages of hotels and B&Bs segue into the treetops of the Nothe Fort. The long fingers of the Portland breakwater stretch out a goodbye to booming RFA ships.
The land train toot-toots down the prom. Coastguard helicopter Whisky Bravo performs a lazy fly-past, winchmen waving down to holidaymakers before banking off towards their Portland base.
King George III launched Weymouth’s career as a seaside resort after making it his summer residence in 1789. What would he make of this three-mile stretch of beach now, peopled by shrieking kids on bodyboards, couples strolling hand-in-hand in the surf, canoeists paddling past?
Amid a happy tangle of flip-flops, sun hats, chick lit and Sunday papers, we barbecue chicken, Black Farmer sausages and mini-burgers.
The tide is coming in. The sun has shifted right across the sky. Shadows from the wooden white beach huts behind us have reached the waves. It’s time to go home. Hard to believe we’ve been here six hours.