• Simon O'Donovan

On The Beach

"Wave after wave, each mightier than the last Till last, a ninth one, gathering half the deep And full of voices, slowly rose and plunged Roaring, and the all the wave was in a flame."

Alfred Lord Tennyson, 1859


Boris Johnson is our new Prime Minister. We discussed what kind of a PM he might be and his intention to take the UK out of the EU with a no deal hard Brexit.

Thursday may be hottest day on record as 39c is expected in the Heathrow area. We discussed whether this was a sign of worse to come and whether with the climate emergency we might see more records like this being broken across the world.

Lightning storms struck across the UK on Tuesday night. Another unusual phenomenon, possibly linked to climate change.

A 5ft Barrel Jellyfish was seen in Cornish waters this week. Their sting is apparently not terribly poisonous, but nonetheless we all agreed you wouldn't want to bump into one in the sea when swimming.

India launched it's Chandrayaan - 2 moon mission this week. We discussed the apparent contradiction between spending billions on such exploration activity versus improving the lives of your country's people.

It was the Six Bells mining disaster 59 years anniversary this week. We discussed members who had family working down the mines and what life was like for them, and paid our respects to the 49 men that had lost their lives in the underground explosion that day. Also the coalman that used to deliver the coal and how things have changed in this respect.

It was also the 50 years anniversary of Ralph McTell's 'Streets Of London' this week. We remembered (and played) this song and agreed it had more relevance today than ever, given the increasing homelessness problem on the streets of our cities.


It is 'National Beach Day' is on 20th August, so this led us to focus our CST activities this week on 'On The Beach'.

We started our discussion by looking at the recent announcement regarding the '2019 Blue Flag Awards' for water and beach cleanliness. See here

We looked to see if any beaches in our area had won an award and indeed, Whitmore Bay at Barry Island had, along with Rest Bay in Porthcawl and most of the beaches in The Gower.

We asked members whether they liked visiting the beach and which were their favourite seaside places to visit.

We asked what people would pack in a beach bag if they were to spend the afternoon at the seaside. Here is a list of contents we could think of:

- floppy hat, - sunglasses, - beach towel, - beach ball, - bikini or bathers, - sun cream, - bottle of water, - picnic basket, with some sandwiches crisps and an apple - a beach blanket, - camping chair or deckchair, - parasol and windbreak - snorkel and goggles and flippers, - music player and earphones, - insect repellent, - a bottle of wine, - maybe a jumper!

We next remembered childhood visits to the seaside. Including:

- Miners week and bus and train visits to Barry Island - Staying at Butlins - Visiting the funfair - How dirty the water used to be!


Next, members completed the following phrases:

Big fish in a small POND

Drink like a FISH

Like a fish out of WATER

A whale of a TIME

The world is your OYSTER

Keep something at BAY

The coast is CLEAR

A drop in the OCEAN

Like a beached WHALE

A loan SHARK

Any port in a STORM


Plenty more fish in the SEA

Tip of the ICEBERG

Turn back the TIDE


Neither fish nor FOWL

Have bigger fish to FRY

Rock the BOAT

Run a tight SHIP



Make WAVES Packed in like SARDINES


We used the above photograph and powerpoint (click on photograph to download) to prompt further discussion and reminiscence.

Slide 1. Donkey ride What noise does a donkey make? IT BRAYS OR HEE-HAWS

(We discussed if it is fair to use donkeys in this way?)

Slide 2. Eat too much Very overweight people are called what? MORBIDLY OBESE

Slide 3. Get sunburnt What is the phrase taught to children at a young age to help prevent skin damage from the sun? SLIP, SLAP, SLOP (Slip - on a shirt, Slop - on factor 50+ sunscreen, Slop - on a hat)

Slide 4. Collect fossils (an ammonite is featured) Where is the ‘Jurassic Coast’, one of the best places in the UK to collect fossils? EAST DEVON TO DORSET

Slide 5. Rock pooling How many arms does a Starfish typically have? FIVE

Slide 6. Paddling How warm is the UK sea in the summer? UP TO 18C

Slide 7. Hire a beach hut How much is to hire a beach hut? (Barry Island prices) Small £18.50 A DAY Large £31.50

Slide 8. Surfing What do surfers usually wear? A WETSUIT

Slide 9. Swimming Which voluntary organisation helps keep bathers safe? LIFEGUARDS

Slide 10. Collecting sea glass What is the rarest colour of sea glass? ORANGE, FOLLOWED BY TURQUOISE, RED AND YELLOW (as so little coloured glass was made)

Slide 11. Collecting sea shells Ask members to complete this phrase ...


Slide 12. Making sandcastles Name some UK castles on or near to beaches? BAMBURGH, TINTAGEL, DUNSTANBURGH, ST MICHAELS MOUNT, CAERNARVON, DOVER ETC

Slide 13. Having a picnic What would members ideal picnic consist of?

Slide 14. Having a stick of rock What is a stick of rock traditionally flavoured with? SPEARMINT

Slide 15. Eating a bag of chips How many calories are there in an average cone of chips? 840

Slide 16. Eating shellfish In the song ‘Molly Mallone’, what shellfish did she sell? COCKLES AND MUSSELS ALIVE ALIVE O

Slide 17. Eating a pasty and hoping not to be ‘mugged’ by a seagull What is the life expectancy of a seagull? 10 TO 15 YEARS

Slide 18. Eating candy floss What do Americans call ‘Candy Floss’? COTTON CANDY

Slide 19. Watching a ‘Punch And Judy’ show Why was this entertainment brought into disrepute? BECAUSE IT PORTRAYED DOMESTIC VIOLENCE (between Mr Punch and his wife Judy)

Slide 20. Hiring deck chairs Which fabric is traditionally used to make a deck chair? CANVAS

Slide 21. Going to the funfair Name some traditional fun fair rides? DODGEMS, LOG FLUME, ROLLER COASTER, CAROUSEL, HELTER SKELTER, FERRIS WHEEL ETC

Slide 22. Going crabbing What group of animals do crabs belong to? CRUSTACEANS

Slide 23. High tide Where in the UK would you find the UK's largest and the world’s second largest tidal range? SEVERN ESTUARY (15 METRES / 49 FEET AT ITS PEAK) (The Bay Of Fundy in Canada is the largest at 16.3M/53.5FT)

Slide 24. Littering What is the maximum fixed fine for littering in the UK? £150 (If not paid within 14 days you can be taken by the Council to Court and the fine increases to £2,500)

Slide 25. Dog ban Dogs are allowed on most British beaches when? 1ST OCTOBER - 30TH APRIL

Slide 26. Getting stung by a jelly fish True or False. You should pee on a jellyfish sting to alleviate the pain? FALSE - IT CAN MAKE IT WORSE

Slide 27. Wasp sting True or false. Bees die after stinging you, wasps survive? SORT OF TRUE - ONLY HONEY BEES DIE AFTER STINGING

Slide 28. Red flag What do these colour flags mean? Red - UNSAFE TO SWIM Yellow and red horizontal stripes - SAFE TO SWIM BETWEEN FLAGS / LIFEGUARDS ARE ON DUTY Black and white quartered flag - ZONE FOR SURFERS AND BOARDERS

Slide 29. Blue flag What does a blue flag on a beach mean? CLEAN BEACH, CLEAN WATER, GOOD FACILITIES EG. TOILETS AND RECYCLING

Slide 30. Taking in the view What is the view from Cold Knap, Barry? NORTH DEVON COAST

(The nuclear power station we can see is - HINKLEY POINT)


Next we moved on to some quiz questions, as follows:

1. 'The Mumbles' is a beach and promenade nearest to which city? SWANSEA

2. The 'Tate Gallery' can be found in which Cornwall resort? ST IVES

3. The 'Surf Capital of the UK' is where? NEWQUAY (FISTRAL BAY)

4. True or false. You are only 75 miles away from the sea anywhere in the UK? TRUE

5. What is the UK's longest pier? SOUTHEND

6. In which holiday camp did TV celebrities Shane Richie and Bradley Walsh start out in? PONTINS


8. Which TV comedy series was partly filmed at Barry Island? GAVIN AND STACEY

9. What was the name of the character that said 'Hello Campers!' in the hit TV comedy series 'Hi De Hi'? GLADYS PUGH, PLAYED BY RUTH MADOC

10. What is the name of the hotel in the hit TV comedy series 'Benidorm'? THE SOLANA

11. In which city would you find the famous Copacabana Beach? RIO DE JANERO


13. Where would you find Waikiki Beach? HAWAII

14. What about Bondi Beach? SYDNEY

15. Which 1990s US TV series starring David Hasselhoff and Pamela Anderson was set in Los Angeles? BAYWATCH

16. An outdoor swimming pool is called what? A LIDO

17. Where would you find Caldey Island? OFF THE COAST OF TENBY IN WEST WALES

18. Where would you find Holy Island, otherwise known as Lindisfarne? OFF THE COAST AT BERWICK UPON TWEED

19. What soap was named after a lifesaving device you still find on every boat and ship that sets sail? LIFEBUOY

20. What men's aftershave featured an advert with a man surfing to the words, "... ....., The Mark Of A Man"? OLD SPICE

21. Which brand of cigarettes featured an image of a sailor and lifebuoy on its packet? PLAYERS

22. What was the survey ship now called 'The Sir David Attenborough' originally called by a public ballot? BOATY MCBOATFACE

23. What would you call a yacht with two hulls? A CATAMARAN

24. What in an inflatable bed that floats on water called? A LILO

25. 'Captain Birdseye' is a popular brand of what? FISH FINGERS

26. Tom Hanks starred in a film about a man stranded on a desert island. What was it called? CASTAWAY

27. Kirsty Young presents which BBC Radio 4 weekly 'life and times' music playlist show that was originally presented by Roy Plomley? DESERT ISLAND DISCS

28. What radio station is the 'Shipping Forecast' broadcast on every night? BBC RADIO 4

The shipping areas are:

Viking North Utsire South Utsire Forties Cromarty Forth Tyne Dogger Fisher German Bight Humber Thames Dover Wight Portland Plymouth Biscay Trafalgar FitzRoy Sole Lundy Fastnet Irish Sea Shannon Rockall Malin Hebrides Bailey Fair Isle Faeroes Southeast Iceland

29. Which is your nearest area? FOR US IN CARDIFF IT IS LUNDY

30. When a ship approaches the coast what devices warn them of nearing rocks? LIGHTHOUSES AND FOGFORNS (AND MORE RECENTLY GPS)

31. The TV drama 'Poldark' about smuggling, is set where and when? 18TH CENTURY CORNWALL

32. What was the name of Robinson Crusoe's best and only friend? MAN FRIDAY

33. What was the name of the pirate in 'Peter Pan'? CAPTAIN HOOK

34. Which TV advert had a husband and wife watching a yacht sink through binoculars, with the husband saying “Oh look Petunia, he’s waving at us!” HM COASTGUARD

35. Which TV chef is associated with Padstow? RICK STEIN

36. What is Lavabread? EDIBLE SEAWEED (Anyone tried it?)

37. What is Calamari? SQUID

38. Which sauce is used to make a Prawn Cocktail? MARIE ROSE

39. What year was the historic ship ‘The Mary Rose’ raised from the Solent? 1982

She was one of Henry V111’s Tudor Navy warships, launched in 1511.

40. Where would you find ‘The Cutty Sark’? GREENWICH

41. And Brunel’s ‘SS Great Britain’? BRISTOL

42. Which Fahrenheit maritime explorer had a ship and underwater camera called ‘Calypso’? JAQUES COUSTEAU

43. Which is the world’s single biggest structure made by living organisms, visible from outer space? THE GREAT BARRIER REEF

44. What is 'The Severn Bore'? A SPRING TIDE TIDAL WAVE (THE VOLUME OF WATER ON THE INCOMING TIDE IS FUNNELLED UP THE BRISTOL CHANNEL AND AS IT NARROWS INTO THE SEVERN ESTUARY A WAVE OF UP TO IS FORMED - The largest recorded bore was on 15 October 1966, when it reached a height of 2.8 m (9.2 ft) at Stonebench


Spotify Playlist link here

1. Surfin' USA - The Beach Boys. Who was the founder and multi-tasking leader of The Beach Boys? BRIAN WILSON

Where did The Beach Boys find fame? CALIFORNIA SURF SCENE (Initially)

2. Under The Boardwalk - The Drifters. Can anyone name any famous piers? BLACKPOOL, BRIGHTON, WESTON-SUPER-MARE, CROMER, SWANAGE, BOURNEMOUTH, PENARTH, CLEVEDON

Who likes a stroll on the pier?

3. Wind Beneath My Wings - Bette Midler. Where was 'The Divine Miss Bette Midler' born? HONOLULU, HAWAII What Bette Miller film was this song used in? BEACHES

4. Beyond The Sea - Bobby Darin. Can anyone name any seas or oceans in the world? ATLANTIC, PACIFIC, MEDITERRANEAN, INDIAN, IRISH, NORTH, RED, DEAD

Which of these is the sea which you can flot in, due to high salt content? DEAD

5. Copacabana - Barry Manilow. What are Barry Manilow fans called? FANILOWS Where is this beach? RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL

6. Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Pole Dot Bikini - Brian Hyland. Which children's TV 'star' later re-recorded this song? TIMMY MALLETT

Who likes to go swimming? Does anyone wear a bikini?

7. When The Boat Comes In - The Fisherman's Friends. Where was the TV series Doc Martin filmed? PORT ISAAC (OR PORT WENN) Who stars as Doc Martin? MARTIN CLUNES

8. Orinoco Flow - Enya. Which Irish family band did Enya sing in before going solo? CLANNAD

Where would members like to 'sail away' to?

9. Stranger On The Shore - Acker Bilk. What instrument was Acker playing in this classic instrumental? THE CLARINET

Can anyone play a musical instrument?

10. The Dock Of The Bay - Otis Reading. What was Cardiff Bay formally known as? TIGER BAY (BECAUSE OF FIERCE CURRENTS OFF THE COAST)

Towards the end of the song there is a whistled section. Ask members to whistle along and see who has the best whistle.

Who is known as 'The Girl From Tiger Bay'? SHIRLEY BASSEY

11. Yellow Submarine - The Beatles. What was the name of Captain Nemo's submarine in the Jules Verne novel 'Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea'? THE NAUTILUS Another question would be, Where did The Beatles first perform in Liverpool? THE CAVERN (So did Cilla Black!)

12. Banana Boat (Day-O) - Harry Belafonte. What was the name of the banana company which used to deliver to Barry Dock? GEEST (TAKEN OVER BY FYFFES)

Who likes a banana? What about other fruit? Do we all get out 'Five a day'?

13. Islands In The Stream - Dolly Parton & Kenny Rogers Name some islands? ISLE OF MAN, ISLE OF WIGHT, ISLE OF SKYE, FLAT HOLM, STEEP HOLM ETC

And the nearest island? SULLY (For us!)

14. Main Title Jaws - John Williams. What was the name of the boat in which they hunted the Great White Shark? THE ORCA

Who wrote the book? PETER BENCHLEY

15. The Beautiful Briny Sea ('Bedknobs and Broomsticks') - David Tomlinson & Angela Lansbury. What TV Detective did Angela Lansbury later play? JESSICA FLETCHER (MURDER SHE WROTE)

16. Mr Heart Will Go On - Celine Dion. What shipping company operated the Titanic? THE WHITE STAR LINE

Debate. At the end of the film was there or was there not enough space on the floating door for Jack Dawson (Leonardo De Caprio) to be saved alongside Rose De Wit Bukater (Kate Winslet)?

17. Aqua Marina - Barry Gray. What children's puppet show did this song come from? STINGRAY

Gerry Anderson produced this puppet show, along with 'Joe 90' and 'Thunderbirds'.

18. Onedin Line - TV Theme. What type of shipping vessel did this series feature? TALLSHIPS OR CLIPPERS

Much of this series was filmed in or around Dartmouth in Devon.

19. Sailing - Rod Stewart. Let's name as many types of seabirds as we can? SEAGULL, ALBATROSS, CORMORANT, GANNET, PUFFIN, PELICAN, PENGUIN, SHAG

Or how old is Rod Stewart? 74 - he was born 10th January 1945

20. Captain Pugwash - TV Theme. Can anyone remember the name of the Pirate Ship? THE BLACK PIG

Other characters were Master Mate, Tom The Cabin Boy, Barnabas, Willy and Cut Throat Jake (Not the rude names as some believe!)

21. On The Beach - Chris Rea. Go around the room and ask members to state their favourite beach and the reasons why.

22. A Life On The Ocean Wave - The Band Of H.M. Royal Marines

What bath-time product was this tune used to advertise?


23. Oh I Do Like To Be Beside The Seaside - Phil Kelsall. A Singalong to finish. What were the old organs you would find in seaside theatres called? WURLITZERS


We brought in some seashells an modelling clay, for members to make vividly coloured shells of their own to take home.

We played some relaxing sounds of waves and seabirds whilst doing this.

Suggestion for for refreshments ... Fish and Chips, of course!

About Me

Simon O’Donovan MBE has worked in NHS Wales for most of his adult life, supporting people with dementia, their carers and families and developing and improving services to benefit this client group. 

He recently retired from working as a Community Mental Health Nurse within a Young Onset Dementia Service and continues to contribute to weekly CST 'Friendship Group' sessions as a volunteer co-facilitator.


He has been keeping a weekly 'Young Dementia CST Blog' to share and archive tried and tested activities resources, with the ultimate aim of providing an 'off the shelf' resource library of weekly themed CST sessions which can be used on rotation throughout the year. 


The main aim of this website is to share experience and resources freely, in order that others can dip in and out and use some or all of the materials provided in their own CST work. Thus it is hoped, facilitating and supporting the provision of uplifting and enjoyable sessions that optimise people with dementia's quality of life.

This site is not owned by or affiliated to any organisation. It’s a personal commitment, a not for profit exchange of ideas and a resource library which aims to enable more widespread use of CST approaches for people with dementia. 

To this end, 'Guest Blogs' are VERY welcome, but bearing in mind that no images of clients are to be used without their express written informed consent.

Please note that some images are reproduced on this blog from the internet under the 'fair use copyright' principle, in that they will only be used for educational purposes with disability groups and in no way will be linked to profit making activities.


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