It's taken a while, but sand has finally arrived on Brighton beach...
And to think that just five months ago it looked like this...
When I took the above photo at the end of September, it was just a barren patch of beach with a mechanical digger. But five months on, and thanks to the tireless efforts of building contractors Integra, it's been magically transformed into a barren patch of beach with a mechanical digger and some sand. And a rock-climbing wall. And a small hut. Which isn't finished yet.
But give it another couple of weeks, and this will (apparently) be the UK training base for the 2008 Great Britain Olympic Beach Volleyball Team. That's if anyone replies to the ad in the Jobcentre window. If not, it's back to Eddie the Eagle. Not that I want to dismiss the team's chances of returning with gold, but when their first step on the road to Olympic success is to choose as their training base the only beach in Britain without sand, you do start to wonder who's in charge.
But the sand has finally arrived this week, and has apparently been specially selected for its colour and grain. According to the local news reporter who was tramping all over it on Thursday morning, owners Yellowave now have to send off a sample to the international governing body of Beach Volleyball (or Keith and Tony as they're known) to make sure it meets their exacting standards, and can be kicked successfully into the faces of seven stone weaklings by big men with balls. I'm sure it's just a formality.
Anyhoo, the earlier photo above was taken on September 22nd, the day of the Bicycle Ballet on Brighton seafront, which is slightly spooky as I was browsing YouTube on Friday night and came across a video of it which (brace yourself) features me in the background. I'm only actually spottable by people who know me intimately and are able to recognise my bored expression from a distance, but I am there, and at the very least it gives you a reason to watch the video. Because let's face it, you wouldn't want to watch it for the ballet.
In other news, it's the 2007 Sussex Beacon Half Marathon today. The organisers describe it as "a unique opportunity to run through the streets of Brighton", thus proving they've never been late for a Landscape by Lamplight walk. But as we speak, thousands of people are staggering towards the finish line, which might be 13.1 miles from the start, but is only five minutes walk from my flat. I was going to take part, but I regularly buy clothes in the Sussex Beacon charity shop, so I feel I've done my bit already.
Most interesting of all though, is that the Route Maps available on their website state "Design: Paul Collicutt", which is kinda spooky because, as mentioned here before, the man's a permanent fixture in my living room.