WITH the sun finally making an appearance the summer is now truly upon us, and with it, the tourist invasion locals must endure with gritted teeth and abiding patience every year.
We accept it with tolerance and understanding, sweetened by the slither of pride that other people want to enjoy this humble paradise we live in.
The financial benefits to our delicate local economy are well publicised and beyond debate: without tourism, Eastbourne would fold.
However, although we may be indebted to visitors financially, it’s not part of the deal we turn a blind eye to their bad behaviour and lack of respect.
I am, of course, talking about the armies of elderly tourists bussed down for week-long beanos, usually from the North of England every summer.
I have seen my favourite tea shops drowned by the stampede of out-of-towners quarrelling over tables and drinks, embarrassing the waitresses with their discourteous demands, usually barked out with a snarling Lancashire dialect.
I have witnessed the pandemonium caused by the convoys of rented mobility vehicles tearing through the Arndale centre.
Jumped queues, blocked pavements, foul language: it’s all there. Sometimes accents are so strong I can’t understand them.
I feel like a stranger in my own town. Many of them pour down from other English cities and think they can behave loutishly and without respect, swearing in our pubs and ordering locals around like they own the place.
If only they could learn from the respectful and educated European students that also come to enjoy Eastbourne, things would be so much more pleasant.
I have worked as a teacher, chef, hotelier and tour guide in Eastbourne for both European students and elderly British visitors, and can honestly say the worst instances of bad behaviour I have witnessed have been from the latter.
Based on numerous overheard conversations and cases of boorish behaviour, I feel a certain portion of these people represent everything that is dragging our society down today - grumpiness, pessimism and a lack of respect for others.
Contributors to this newspaper regularly enjoy jabbing a misaimed finger at young people, accusing them of many offences I see exhibited all the time by elderly visitors. Many British guests might do well to learn from some of their younger, Continental cousins.