Having once begun, I went on to take photographs of other sandcastles, of children playing, of a tourist yacht crossing and re-crossing the bay, of the castle, of the spectacular cliffs opposite: maybe 40 photos, taken sporadically during that hour.When I reached one end of the beach, I sat and read for some 20 minutes.
Then I began walking slowly back, hoping the early evening sunlight would catch the cliffs opposite. A video record of me shows me looking like a middle-aged Fotherington-Thomas, strolling idly at leisure. Even by the standards of the best English summer days, this was an idyll. I remember them riding on donkeys, playing with tyres that were as tall as they were, making themselves dirty in pools, and fortifying or wrecking their many sandcastles.
Later, I had to recall everything that had and had not happened on that beach, many times. The police had activated a close-circuit television on the beach, recording my actions, and then they came to the beach to take action.
Years earlier, when first I realised how much travel a critic's life involved, I had started to take a camera with me to most places I visited.
I'm snap-happy: I fill albums with travel photographs.
Here, Alastair Macaulay relives the horror of that moment and of the years of pain and paranoia that followed These days, when I hear that someone stands accused of involvement in child pornography or of paedophilia, I feel as distanced from it as many thousands of others presumably do.