Since moving to Brighton I’ve insisted that at some point during the summer I would go into the sea. I didn’t expect to enjoy it. After all, this is the British sea we’re talking about, notorious for being freezing cold even on one of our somewhat rare hot days. But I saw it as a rite of passage that someone who lives in Brighton should go through; I didn’t want to be that man who lives for years by the sea without ever going in.

Yesterday, a group of us – me, Jules and @4pawsnexus, plus a friend of Jules who’s staying with us and her daughters – set off for an afternoon on the beach. I’d put on my swimming shorts, determined that this would be the day where I’d lose my “Brighton Beach virginity”. The sun was shining, 4Paws was displaying the intensity she always does when you get her on her beach, and the sea was…

Breath-stealingly cold.

But you know what? If you just stay in, and especially if you get yourself submerged right down to your neck, you get used to it within about a minute, and then it’s really nice. I loved it so much I went back in twice more, and then again today.

This isn’t a rite of passage you do the once, just so you never have to do it again. This is a really nice way to spend an afternoon. And of course, if you live by the beach you can round the afternoon with a barbecue, using your handy-dandy BBQ-in-a=bucket.

There is just one problem though. Brighton has a pebble beach. That’s fine when you’re in, because the water takes 95% of your weight, allowing your toes to dance across the pebbles. But it’s bloody painful on the way in and out: although on the plus-side, it does encourage you to not linger on the way in, but to instead get right in and submerged up to your neck – anything to take the weight off your screaming soles.

And getting out’s even worse, because it’s a pretty steep beach with a fierce undertow. In the end, I could only figure out one way in which I could get back out and up the beach to my towel without experiencing extreme pain.

I’ve gotta get me some Crocs.

Because backwards on your arse is no-way to make your way out of the sea and up a beach. (And no, I don’t have a picture of that).