"'It was an awkward business, my dear, your spending the autumn at South End instead of coming here. I never had much opinion of the sea air.'
'Mr Wingfield most strenuously recommended it, sir, or we should not have gone. He recommended it for all the children, but particularly for the weakness in little Bella's throat - the air and the bathing.... Oh my dear sir, her throat is so much better that I have hardly any uneasiness about it... the bathing has been of the greatest service to her.'"
- Emma, Jane Austen
I have always been intrigued by the way books have portrayed people's hopes and fears about air and water. In some works, from Shakespeare to Laura Ingalls Wilder, there was great suspicion about air quality, particularly night air. By contrast, mountain air and sea air were widely recommended to those suffering from any number of ailments. When all else failed, moving to warmer, coastal climates was often tried when it could be afforded.
Maybe it is those old books or maybe it is how little time I have spent at the sea in my life that make for my fanciful notions of the shore. Either way, I had my heart set on an afternoon at the coast now that it is relatively close by. We ended up at Felixstowe, known for its spa and 'convalescent home' for those seeking therapeutic advantages the local coastal breezes afford. Even today there are wheelchairs pushed up and down the length of the promenade. Such a difference from our hospital rooms with their sterilized air and tightly secured windows which allow patients to see, but not feel, the air outside.
Anyway, although local opinion seems to be that it is not the loveliest coastal area to visit, I found it all magical.