Scorcher Sunday - 27 degrees, which is about as hot as we can hope for on this grey little island - and a rare day without plans, so we decided to hit the nearest beach. Left it too late to go anywhere famously lovely like Southwold or Whitstable, but felt brave enough for a trip to Southend-on-Sea, and despite the horror movie traffic on arrival it was worth the hot car journey. The beach down by Thorpe Bay was lined with a pretty rainbow of beach huts which provided convenient shade, and not at all crowded with big sunburned bodies. Pablo quickly made friends and found an impressive haul of big crabs and little jellyfish to net and bucket. After we'd had all the sun, sea & strawberries we needed, a scuttle back up the coast brought the pier and it's impressive funfair (Pablo's first roller coaster, which he loved), plus some compulsory fresh fish and chips.