Friday, 25 May 2018

Beside the Seaside #2

Lately I seem to have become a rather infrequent contributor to Sepia Saturday, partly because I've been busy doing other things and partly because a number of recent photographic subjects seem to have been covered previously and my source of old family photos that I haven't already used in blogs is sadly coming to an end. This week however I’m posting for the first time in few weeks. I've called it Beside the Seaside # 2 because I have posted on the topic before, as you can see here. 

The Sepia Saturday prompt is of the scenic railway at or near Venice Beach California. It was demolished in 1920 to make way for a big dipper, which also no longer exists. We spent a few hours at Venice Beach in 2005, filling in time after our flight to Washington DC was delayed for most of the day following a bird strike. I don't remember seeing any kind of funfair activity, but I do remember lots of inline skaters and volleyball players, as well as well tanned beach goers.

Here in Australia we don't generally associate donkeys or side show alleys with beaches. Our beaches are simply places where people go to enjoy the surf, sun and sand, but one possible exception to this general rule here in Melbourne is Luna Park in the bayside suburb of St Kilda. It's not quite on the beach like the one pictured in the prompt, but is only only a short stroll away, and has been operating almost continuously since 1912, which makes it  the world's oldest roller coaster still running. Both the Face of Luna Park and its Scenic Railway are heritage listed. Here is a Youtube clip which gives you an armchair virtual ride, plus good views of Port Phillip Bay and surrounds. We go to St Kilda and nearby beaches year round, although often it is just to walk rather than swim, and have often walked past and occasionally through the Luna Park grounds. I’ve never been inclined to ride the Scenic Railway myself but am always amazed how the brakeman standing between the two cars looks to be barely holding on. If he or she were to somehow lose control it would not be good! Apparently there are only three rollers coasters worldwide where brakemen like this are still required.

If you want to read about the history of Melbourne's Luna Park, click here.

I'm sure I must have some of my own photos of the Luna Park Face, but I can't locate them right now, so instead here are several models of this Melbourne icon, one made in Lego, one in sand and one in gingerbread, made by some very clever people. I just took the photos.

Back in December 1992 we caught a ferry from The Netherlands across to the UK and the children had their first experience of seaside piers on both sides of the Channel. The weather in Schveningen was bleak, damp and cold and there were very few people about. The sign on the tower says OPEN but I'm pretty sure it was not. Here are a couple of family photos of that visit.

A few days later, about a week before Xmas, it was a much brighter day in Brighton England, but again seagulls were our main companions on the Brighton Pier. No doubt it is bustling with both tourists and locals at this time of  year, but it's not my kind of fun.

 I much prefer my beaches and piers  to be unadulterated with such attractions, so I'll finish with a photo of my favourite beach at Hawks Nest New South Wales, where we are lucky enough to have owned a holiday unit for the last twenty years now, We don't manage to get up there very often but when we do it's always a relaxing break, summer or winter. In fact we will be up there for a couple of days next weekend. Looking forward to it!

For more blogs prompted by this week's Sepia Saturday image, click here.

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