We do ourselves harm by supporting the myth that EVERYONE is
And now for a letter from Ron Kermode in South Wales.
After taking us to task for not asking enough for copies of the full legal
advice, Ron puts his money where his mouth is by enclosing £1 for a copy
(thanks Ron!) and then goes on:
I would be willing to take part in a protest walk but firstly I live so
far away - I haven't even been to Studland but support you on principle; second,
I'm in the throes of moving house; and thirdly, my arthritis is so bad I must
use a stick and can no longer walk over soft sand, which means my own beach
recreation is stymied as all the local nuddy beaches demand this ability - as I
believe do most others.
I'm no closet nudist though, all my neighbours know - even the bin men
have seen my picture in the local paper writing about nearby Cefn Sidan, which
has not been 'approved' but 'left as things are' which I prefer as without
'warning' (= attraction?) signs we are not bothered by voyeurs and if anything
says anything we can quote the Council's decision that "the present
(long-standing) position (that we use the beach) continue". Barry Freeman
will be happy to hear that I not only declare my way of life 'if the topic comes
up', I take opportunities to bring it up.
Although Wales has no official beaches there are at least two more I
know of on the Gower and one some 25-30 miles down the coast, all well known
locally and ACCEPTED by all except the bigots. Certainly I get no odd looks from
my neighbours. So much for the crap talked by closet nudists! (And also for
Barry's statement that picnicking textiles would 'flee in hysterics' if a
wandering nudist stumbled on them!)
To be fair to Barry, I think that was his worst-case scenario.
Perhaps textile beach-users in Wales are more tolerant or phlegmatic that their
English counterparts? Certainly I've had verbal abuse on English beaches - most
recently at Camber, where I was sunbathing on the top of the dune at the eastern
end, miles from any textile concentration. On the other hand, several years ago
I had a brief spell of detached duty at Cardiff and managed to find a nice
little sunbathing spot down on the coast not far from the city where I spent
several evenings sunbathing nude on the rocks. Although many people saw me
making my way out of their sight, no-one bothered to follow or harass me - Ed.
Ron goes on:
I have walked in Yorkshire with Coast & Country where we stood
around chatting with a farmer whose field we were crossing, and passed the time
of day with an elderly couple having a rest. Climbing in the Lakes we found
ourselves passing and being passed by a group of textile girls, with a 'leader',
who when they saw us splashing happily in a pool, did the same nearby - but
wearing clothes, with the inevitable pornographic appearance to which they
seemed oblivious! Folks ARE weird. When I inadvertently wandered naked round a
campsite before the time we nuddies were due to take over I couldn't find anyone
to accept apologies - they just smiled or laughed 'that must be why the dog was
barking at you' or 'each to his taste', and a woman with young daughters was
happy to accept help in loading her car.
We really do ourselves harm by supporting the myth that EVERYONE is
against us! Barry's right of course that the English and Welsh (I don't know
about the Scots and Irish) are the great hypocrites and interfering busybodies,
but WE should stop being shrinking violets.
Looking at the abridged legal advice, I wonder whether sitting next to
you and saying nasty things or giving nasty looks in such a way as possibly to
cause you alarm and distress may be an offence under the Public Order Act 1986?
Could this not also be viewed as conduct likely to cause a breach of the peace? (Worth
a try, I should think! -Ed.)
So vice squad officers visit the beach for plain clothes surveillance?
I would seriously suggest that they might be more effective carrying out NO
clothes surveillance! Of course, this suggestion is unlikely to be taken
seriously by them; of they insist on wasting police resources this way (as seems
to be the case in this so-called 'free country' where sticking a prick into
someone is apparently far worse than sticking a knife into them) it might be a
feather in OUR cap if some thoughtful investigator took my suggestion to heart,
thereby undermining any argument that nudity per se is objectionable.
Maybe SUN members who are not members of CCBN (I currently am as a
requirement for membership of SOC) might donate the equivalent of the CCBN
subscription each year to Coast & Country or SUN to help things along? If I
leave CCBN - which I might well do as I now have problems with club membership -
I shall do just that.
How we are being overtaken! When I was in Majorca in the 1950s women
had to sit FACING THE SEA if they had swimsuits on, and men weren't allowed in
town in shorts! (Don't tell the National Trust or East Yorkshire DC
- they'll love the suggestion, and think of all the extra wardens they can have
roaring up and down on quad bikes enforcing it! - Ed.)
I don't see Mary Smith's letter as being all that controversial, just
advocating what we all (I hope) believe: if someone does something to harm you,
like breathing smoke all over you or disturbing your peace with a radio, then
you have reason to complain - you can't AVOID the problem. But if what they do
only reaches you by your own actions in looking at it, or going specially close
so you can hear it, then you've no more right to complain than have the textiles
who choose to walk in nudist areas when they have EXCLUSIVE right to most of the
SUNny side up!
Thanks to Ron for a long and interesting letter. That's an
unusual and attention-grabbing suggestion about the CCBN subscription. Of
course, it could be argued that SUN and C&C members already give their
subscriptions of £3 and £15 respectively, so why should they give more? Well,
if you can afford it how about this point of view: you're not a CCBN member so
you're not giving £30 a year (or whatever it currently is) TO CCBN but on the
other hand, apart from the SUN/C&C subs you're not giving anything AGAINST
CCBN. I can see that this would be particularly useful at the moment to C&C
to whom every donation equal to a CCBN sub can be argued effectively to
neutralise a CCBN sub, thereby weakening CCBN's power base. This could be an
interesting debate - what does everyone else think?
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