In 1995 beach huts at Mudeford Sandbank, Dorset, England, could fetch £120,00. I know, then I sold the one my family had owned since the 1930’s. Yesterday I went down there to upgrade the clock in the “land train” station with a new radio controlled model, and was greeted like the old friend I am by people with whom I have grown up in the fits and starts of an engine destined to do good. I have followed with a disinterested interest what has happened to Mudeford Sandbank beach hut prices ever since. Last year a good looking hut was on offer for £140,000 in a quiet sellers market and there were far more seriously interested buyers. So when 6 months later another nice hut came on the market it sold competitively at £170,000. A lot of gallic shrugging went on, and the demand.serious demand that made direct cash approaches, realised just recently in 2012 £260,000 for an old but well loved hut.
This included from the buyer the fee to the council..a transfer fee of £30,000, engineered to benefit the Council because the value is clearly in the land, and they want their “cut”, after a public spirited argument decades ago by the then local Christchurch Borough Council Chief Executive who today, a former much respected Rotarian, worries about local initiatives and global warming. I would learn from him but he has a fearsome reputation for hard work and commitment. And me, well, anyone attracted to beach hut life is looking at doing time gently.
I noticed a few months ago the old Fishermen’s huts on the beach had been purged and made conform to to better Health and Safety standards. One was demolished and I asked if I could rebuild it…a new simple fisherman’s store-style construction, 50 yards from the £170,000 hut and only £100 a year instead of the usual £2,000 a year that defeated me in 1995. A cheeky way to get back on the beach, without spending a fortune and trust me, I can achieve Grand Design style effects for a cheap, quick and dirty trawl of the regions waste merchants. Black bitumen-tar paint can make anything look like a retro-colour supplement shabby chic beachside palace just right as a Fisherman’s store. And a store in which my newspaper files and library would reveal to passers by the pleasures on f this spot captured in ink, film and digital resources that I have collected for decades. But in a climate which sees huts fetch over a quarter of a million pounds to “buy in” my suggestion was too much of a conceit. Never mind. I tried.
And for the record I was in negotiations to buy the cabin on the Sail Training ketch the “Kenya Jacaranda” which for reasons of purity of design the owning trust had decided to jettison. Now this ship now at Gravesend last I heard waiting for volunteers to make her good was the Red Sailed vessel that was the inspiration for the song “Red Sails in the Sunset”, something which, just as a song, saved a life recently according to a report.
I know it was the Torbay Lass then, but a Brixham Trawler that has seen out several masters (and Mistresses in WW2)
can change its name it seems whilst still possessing the energy and inspiration springing from the waves. Oh, and my father was instructing some cadets on how to goose-swing with the foresail and that same energy lifted him up and over the side, as a Man Overboard exercise that happily ended well.
So I now reside on my Island home…a British Empire Colonial style bungalow with after today, plantation shutters in the bedrooms..thinking how I might get back in the saddle of a beach hut. That would be without spoiling my retired status by having to pay for it. I now have connections on the Pacific Rim where a beach hut can be found for real, for very little, but I have learnt one thing in my little huts over the years….to be risk averse. People who know my battles with Monarch Programming will laugh at that, but we are what we are. Resistance is probably futile. Life in its liminal peek a boo sense keeps reminding us we never know if we are at the leading edge, the centre, or the trailing edge of what we encounter.
One thing is for sure, if you sell a beach hut you nearly always regret it, and if you buy a beach hut, you nearly always never regret it. I saw beach hut prices climb in league with each issue of my newspapers, the Mudeford Sandbank News, the Hengistbury Head Times, and the Christchurch Harbour Chronicle. The latest jump in prices whilst I was outa town doing research into Weltanschauungskreig, can have had nothing to do with me, as my http://web.mac.com/beachhutman/Beachhutman website….. which enlarged upon http”//www.msbnews.co.uk ………has been off line since May 2012. ( And this blog is an in-fill) .
I do OK, but I would do better if I had a beach hut, and I know there are thousands of you out there who know in a hostile world. This world is a world where our inputs of TV, film, cinema, reading material and radio are all contaminated sooner or later by Monarch Programming, and in a beach hut, you can don the cloak of invisibility and disregard for yourselves and your loved ones. Just as if you were sailing off with red sails, into the sunset.
It is still a free country, and a blogger posting from the beach can live, love, and leave a message for others without becoming a fatality just because it grazes a hidden world known only to a few.
If you think a beach hut costing £120,00 to £260,000 is a place reserved for the few, then think on this, whilst there I stumbled onto an open secret with link after link on the web. And yet so few people have joined the dots. In the poll tax riots that so worried a Government that a Chief Constable reminded everybody they only could see what they could see and so they couldn’t really comment. That is a Government in retreat. But I discovered in this subject the authorities are so confident in their capabilities dissent can be allowed because they have the antidote to dissent.
I have been able to join the dots because of a relaxed beach hut life. My relaxed discovery was protected because then I did not believe any of it. And someone hit on me hard so that I just relaxed some more and forgot about this time-b-mb for, well, a decade. Please read this story.