What’s your favourite coastal sound? I only ask because the noise of gentle waves breaking on a beach in North Wales (the little known and hard to pronounce Trwyn Llanbedrog) has topped a poll of more than 1,600 online voters asked to register their favourite seaside sound.
I can only assume there’s not much else to do at Trwyn Llanbedrog, other than go online and say what a fab time you are having listening to the lapping of the incoming tide.
Still, who am I to argue with the fact that it beat off tough competition from recordings of seagulls, children playing, seals calling, birds nesting, Mersey ferries in the fog and the ghost train ride at Brighton Pier to scoop an impressive 35 per cent of the votes?
I have to point out here that those 1,600 pollsters were actually only given 10 coastal sounds from around the country to vote for – and that it was all part of the “sounds of our shores” project by the National Trust, the British Library and National Trust for Scotland.
Now people are being encouraged to record the noises of seashores across the UK to build up a “sound map” of the coastline, to be added to the British Library’s Sound Archive. The recordings will also be used to create a piece of music by Martyn Ware, of the Human League and Heaven 17.
Not wanting Blackpool to be left out of such a valuable slice of social history, here’s some suggestions about the contribution this part of the country could provide.
1Bingo calling. Surely the likes of “two fat ladies – 88” (very sexist but still quite an amusing image), “the key of the door – 21” (you should be so lucky!) and “77 - Sunset Strip” (for players of a certain age) deserve their place in the social history books?
2The mating call of the lesser dressed hen and stag parties competing for attention on a Saturday evening.
3All day karaoke bars featuring favourites by ABBA, Neil Diamond and Whitney Houston, delivered by tone deaf “performers” convinced they are just one song away from being discovered.
4The frozen looking guitar vocalist plying his trade outside the Merrie England Bar on North Pier all summer.
5The sound of chips frying. A tricky one this as some promenade ones look like they last saw a fryer at Easter – if ever.
6An old tram rumbling by and waiting until the last second to honk its warning horn (the new stealth monsters aren’t anything like as much fun).
7A collection of traditional promenade sayings such as “buy my lucky heather,” “which way is the Tower?,” “have you got 20p for a cup of tea?”, “a prize every time – you just can’t lose,” “of course it’s genuine” and “what do you mean you don’t want to buy a joke book to support the homeless – have you no sense of humour?”
8Mr and Mrs Day Tripper (or whatever their relationship might be) arguing about which one them was in charge of their offspring prior to popping for a pint and a Pina Colada and losing the entire family.
9Donkey bells and ice cream chimes on the beach.
10Or, for something much more peaceful, a home crowd at Bloomfield Road (just call it The Sound of Silence).
How do you like them apples?
I’ve mentioned before that I spent my formative years growing up in Bramley – which, for the unenlightened, is midway between Leeds and Bradford city centres.
It’s famous for three things – good Tetley pubs, a decent rugby union team and apples.
Actually only two of the above are correct. Despite boasting for years (before I drank beer or tried to play rugby) that I lived where the apples came from – they don’t.
Bramley apples were, in fact, first grown in 1809 from pips planted by a young girl, Mary Ann Brailsford, in her garden in Southwell, Nottinghamshire.
In 1846 a local butcher, Matthew Bramley, bought her cottage and garden and 10 years later was asked by a local nurseryman, Henry Merryweather, if he could take cuttings from the tree and start to sell the apples. Bramley agreed, but insisted they should bear his name.
I only bring this to your attention because the European Commission has registered “traditional Bramley apple pie filling” (first registered in 1883 at the National Apple Congress) as a protected historical delicacy in the European Union – putting it up there on a par with Italy’s mozzarella cheese and Belgium’s Lambic beer.
I knew I was right to boast about it.