It may be well into Autumn but my brain is still in holiday mode. I still need some warm thoughts to get me through the ever shortening days! So I'd like to show you our favourite beach in Spain where Mr V and I always try to make sure we spend a day. It's in a part of the Andalusian coastline called the Costa de Luz. It is also where, on a clear day, you can look across the mouth of the Mediterranean and just make out the dark shape of Morocco in the distance. In fact here your mobile phone might suddenly start bleeping to notify you that it has switched to a Moroccan network provider, that's how close you are to North Africa.
This is Zahara de los Atunes and this is about as crowded as this little bay we often visit gets. The water is crystal clear, the sand so white it sparkles and there are great waves for body surfing.
The way down to the beach.
My beach basket full of beach snacks and err... clothes! I like to have options when we are spending the whole day out along the coast and may decide later to head impromptu into a town centre to eat. Despite it still being baking hot during the day in September it can be very cool in the mornings and evenings.
This is somewhere you can totally relax and forget about the world at large.
We noticed that Andalusian men of all ages favour swimming shorts in the hottest shades of hot pink. We spotted them on boys, young men, older men with families, even grandfathers. In a culture that is still very much defined by tradition, it was almost like the menfolk here have chosen to rebelliously express their joie de vivre while enjoying a day at the beach by bucking traditional ideas of what colour should be associated with masculinity. Mr V couldn't quite stretch to this unashamed embracing of fuchsia in male swimwear and stuck to bright orange instead.
Mr V also loves this beach because it is Great White shark free (we hope!). There has been a distressing number of fatal shark attacks off Western Australia's coast and near my home town of Perth with two horrible incidents in last couple of weeks. Distressing also is the Western Australian Premier pronouncing the government will consider mass shark culls without considering the ecological impact of doing such a senseless thing. When will we learn to live with nature? I think that had my life not turned out the way it had I might have been a marine biologist. I have great respect for the sea and its creatures and think it is the most awe inspiring, fascinating, unexplored and misunderstood place we have on our own planet.
Yes, human lives have been lost in an unfortunate and horrific clash with nature but I'm not sure that we as a species are at any risk of extinction from the shark. Biologists frequently stress humans are not what sharks like to eat and that many sharks remain endangered as species. The popular media is always worked up into a feeding frenzy of its own when it is thrown some blood and gore. If there is a perceived increase in the frequency of shark attacks it comes at a time when fish stocks are historically low and continually being depleted. How about passing laws to protect fish stocks so that the sharks have enough to eat and to ensure that future generations will too?
Onto cheerier thoughts - here is my favourite beach dress. This always makes it to Spain with me as part of the holiday wardrobe.
Fringed embroidered jacket: Kite and Butterfly; Bikini: Calzedonia; Cotton sundress: Kate Moss for Topshop
Mr V's shorts: Zara; Mr V's shark tee: The