I’m working on a story partially set in the south of Wales, around the 1990s. I don’t have a specific location pinned down yet, so feel free to work with anywhere in the region.
There’s a family in my story, consisting of the parents and two kids. The father’s the sole breadwinner of the family, and holds a job at a department store (say, Debenhams or something); the mother doesn’t work and both kids are of schooling age. The son, Bill, has a tendency to Roam The Streets whenever he thinks he can get away with it.
I want to place their home somewhere near a beach (either rocky or sandy is fine). The distance should be such that Bill can conceivably get to and fro either by walking, or on his bike, quite frequently (it’s important for later in the story). It doesn’t have to be a particularly tourist-friendly type of place; in fact, the fewer people the better, as far as Bill’s concerned. Bill’s probably around ten when he starts going to the beach on his own (I can age him up a little if necessary).
So here are my questions. Bearing in mind that this is set in the 90s:
1) What would be a decent income for the family to have? The dad’s been working at the same store for at least a decade, so he’s likely at least had the chance for a few promotions. I need him to be earning just enough for his family to live in relative comfort – i.e. the kids can afford new clothes if they want them, but maybe not luxury items. Which ties in to the next question:
2) Does South Wales in general have affordable housing anywhere near a beach of any sort? There can be some travel involved, but not so much that the place becomes relatively inaccessible to a ten-year-old boy. Would the family be able to afford such a place?
3) What would the rules of behaviour, etc, on such a beach, be? Will there be a lifeguard? If so, is the lifeguard liable to question a kid running around without apparent parental supervision (even if he’s not going anywhere near the water)? Can Bill bring his bike right onto the beach without any trouble? What is/isn’t he allowed to do? The more details you’d like to provide, the better. =D
I’ve tried looking up things like “welsh beaches” and “living near beach in wales” – and Wikipedia-ed a list of beaches in Wales and then tried more specific searches. Except, I’m not sure which beaches would be appropriate, so then I gave up that line of enquiry. I’ve also had a quick flip through property listings, but again – not sure what the appropriate income would be, and how far things might have changed since the 90s. I don’t know where to even begin in figuring out an appropriate income.
Also, absolutely everything I’ve found on Welsh beaches has been geared towards tourists – which is making me really want to visit, but is of absolutely no use in helping me write from the perspective of someone who grew up there. And most things on living near beaches are geared towards Really Rich People, which is also of no use to me. Any help would be much appreciated. (At least tell me if this housing scenario is at all plausible!)