Why Meco Boy, I hear you asking? Well until a few years ago, I had not been to the beach for a long time. As a child summer holidays were spent sightseeing and walking around monuments, castles, gardens or museums. We would spend maybe 1-2 days at the seaside, and lying in the sun, slowly cooking, seemed a strange thing to do. Later, the holidays I spent were mainly sightseeing holidays, or walking around London, photographing anything of interest.
Then I met my partner, who was the opposite. She lived life to the full and every year, without fail, would spend at least three weeks on the beach. Not any beach, mind you, she has a special beach, the Priai do Ria de Prato, near Meco in Portugal. Because Portugal has (or rather had, it’s been more cloudy and dull these past couple of years) great weather and fabulous beaches, most Portuguese spend their weekends, and any non-working moment getting a tan. Working in London this was never an option, and the prospect of using a solarium was never even contemplated, but once a year those valuable holiday days would be taken as a lump and spent on that special beach in Meco.
So when we got together, it was inevitable that we would be going on a holiday to Meco. For me this was novel for two reasons: First of all, I would be spending all of the time on the beach, no galleries, no museums, and the only sightseeing would be looking at the sand. The second reason was that these were camping holidays, something that I had not done for a long time.
The first year I only spent five days on the beach, having only this amount of holiday available. Everyone, myself included, was apprehensive. I had not been to the beach in many years, and the thought of just lying there, doing nothing, was strange.
But as soon as I got on the beach, I got right into it, lathering myself in factor 30 sun block (I’m doing to factor 15 now, factor 10 next year) and stretching myself out on a towel, turning appropriately and sitting in the shade when the sun was at it’s brightest so as not to burn.
I was a natural, everyone was really impressed (that I had picked up lying around doing nothing for hours at a time so quickly) and dubbed me a natural “Mecinho,” or Meco Boy. From that moment on, the name stuck, and although we now live in Portugal, and when we can spend 2-3 weeks at a time on the beach, I will always be Meco Boy.