Matthew Munson: Changing times and appreciating our coastline

Matthew and Bryan

Crikey, this has been a busy week, hasn’t it? I’m not talking about locally at Casa de Munson – although that’s been busy enough – but we’ve seen one or two changes just lately.

We’ll have another new Prime Minister very soon, and who knows where that will lead us. All of these goings on have made me think about how I saw things change as I grew up, and what children – mine included – must be thinking about politics now.

I became an adult (in the legal sense) in 1998, a year after the Labour government got into power, and in the first eighteen years of my life, I grew up under three Prime Ministers, Maggie Thatcher, John Major, and Tony Blair. In fact, up until my son was born when I was 29, I had known five PMs (add in Gordon Brown and David Cameron to that list).

In the past eleven years, since Bryan was born, he has lived through four PMs and, by this time next week, he’ll have seen another one as well. In eleven years. I can’t quite wrap my head around that. We’ve both seen the rise of a new monarch, but we understand that the succession plans for royalty come about in a different way than political successions.

I try and keep up with the news, and I try to share the comings-and-goings of politics and history with my son, but by god, it’s getting tougher to keep up with everything right now. Knowing that there’ll be a general election within the next two years will guarantee that things won’t quieten down any time soon.

I mentioned last week about the sponsored walk my lad and I did around the coast of Thanet, and one thing it let me do was see the coastline up close for the first time in ages. We really do live in a place with some beauty (alright, I know Southern Water does its best to make the water mucky from time to time); we walked across the beaches at Margate, Cliftonville, Kingsgate, Broadstairs, and round into Ramsgate, and we were both transfixed. The cliffs are incredible, with more coves to explore than there was time to explore them (at least in one day), and we walked past families playing on the beaches all the way round the coast. A part of me wanted to stop and just play as well, but we were both on a mission, so on we went.

A day like that allowed me to remember the opportunities in Thanet to be a part of nature; the parks, the beaches, and just the open spaces. Some parts of my home – our home – are timeless (Broadstairs sea front has barely changed a jot since my childhood, I’m sure of it), and other parts have seen massive changes. As a child, I spent summers with my nan and granddad while my parents worked; they lived up by the-then Co-Op hypermarket, and everyone used the Pierce Signs roundabout as a marker for which direction to go in.

Now we have Westwood Cross and the surrounding areas; the inhabitants of the shops might change (Clip & Climb is great fun for both kids and adults, by the way), but the structure of that entire area is so different than it was when I walked that way with my nan. I don’t say that critically, merely as an observation; things change, perhaps whether we like them to change or not, and that’s the nature of life.

My word, how very profound of me. I’ve been quite reflective this past week, and I’m looking forward to having a weekend that I spend with my family to rest and recharge. That, I’m sure you’ll agree, is the best kind of time off.


  1. At least the sea is always there, whatever the politicians are up to! Broadstairs was the first holiday I remember, apparently I had to be dragged screaming off the beach, I didn’t want to leave. No wonder it was my ambition to live by the sea ( 18 years now ). I love any part of our coast and who would have guessed two of my grandsons would be born on Thanet. Never take living on the coast for granted.

  2. Beautiful as our coasline is Thanet is still controlled by NIMBYS and if Matthew wants to have a working career then he will have to leave Thanet at 18 and only return after retiring.

    All attempts to bring industry to the area are repeatedly thwarted by idiotic decisions by small minded politicians as they desperately try to stop Manston reopening as an airport and all they achieve is to ensure Thanet remains a ‘deprived area’.

    I left at 18, returned at 70 and the only significant change was to 52 bus from Ramsgate to Margate and the 53 in reverse order had been renamed ‘The Loop’

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