I HAVE been fortunate enough to travel extensively over the years, but when the sun shines, there is nothing to beat a good old-fashioned British seaside resort.

The other week, Mrs Hextol and I joined family members for a few days in a caravan park beside the North Sea. Now it may be heresy for an adopted Northumbrian, but I have to say that the Lincolnshire coast provides as unsullied stretches of sand as anything we have in the far North-East – and it’s that little bit warmer.

We stayed at Mablethorpe, which earned its own place in Hextol folklore many decades ago, when my younger brother was endeavouring to chat up a couple of attractive young ladies in a local pub. They were so stunningly well dressed and good looking that he opined that they must be particularly well off. With a withering glance, one of them famously remarked with asperity: “If we were rich, do you think we would come to piggin’ Mablethorpe?” Since then, the name Mablethorpe has never been mentioned in Hextol circles without its porcine preface, but I have to say I found the place utterly charming on what was my first visit.

The golden sands stretched to the far horizon, and the beach was littered with crunching shells scuttling crabs with pools full of darting fish. I frolicked in the sea with grandchildren – the first time I have immersed myself in English waters in decades – played rounders and helped Elise (7) make a sandcastle complete with tunnels.

The sun blazed down, and we ate Spam sandwiches and Pringles, and I managed to give myself just a touch of brain freeze by stealing a generous slurp of an unguarded cup of Slush.

We hired daisy bikes to trundle aimlessly round the caravan park, played bingo and ate shamefully enormous portions of delicious fish and chips, before being entertained by end-of-the-pier comic turns of great hilarity.

It was just wonderful, but one of the highlights of the trip was when we decided to travel a few miles down the coast to the fabled seaside resort of Skegness, the Midlands version of Blackpool. I had been trying to get to Skegness for more years than I care to remember, without actually getting there.

I nearly made it in 1966, when a friend and I decided to hitchhike wherever our thumbs would take us. We got to the outskirts of Skegness and set up our tent in a small field, where a family in a Bedford Dormobile took pity on two hopeless 15-year-olds and took us into their motorhome for a feed.

We were pathetically grateful, as funds for the trip had become sadly depleted by the third day of our adventure and we left without ever seeing the sea.

The second Skeggy quest came about five years later, when my brother and I and our respective girlfriends – now wives – set off for the East coast on our motorbikes in good heart. However, his BSA proved unequal to the task, and would proceed no further than Lincoln, before we had to turn round and head back to Macclesfield.

But this time, we made it, and Skegness did not disappoint. It was one of the best seaside resorts I have ever been to, with every element of what a British day by the sea should have. There were donkey rides, deck chairs, doughnuts, ice creams as big as your head, a ferris wheel, and a combined roller coaster and waltzer hanging over the prom. It also had more fish and chip shops than I have ever seen in one place before. How they all made a living I will never know, but the one we sampled was excellent and pleasingly cheap.

One memory which sticks in the mind is the vast number of mobility scooters plying the streets of the town. It was like being in an open air dodgem car ride, and I half expected a shower of blue sparks and a swarthy fellow appearing to demand sixpence from each rider, Another highlight was the life-sized statue of the Jolly Fisherman, the red-cheeked sou-westered fellow dancing with arms outstretched who has been advertising Skegness as being “So Bracing” since 1908.

He has been the butt of numerous jokes, but when a suggestion was made a couple of years ago by an eco warrior that he should be done away with as being an emblem of cruelty to fish, the locals were in uproar.