I went off to the camera shop to see if it could be repaired. The shop was staffed by two very young men who were Ant and Dec dopplegangers. I failed to get their names so I'll call them A and D for the sake of simplicity. This is how it went:
A: And what can we do for you, madam?
M: I hope you can repair my camera. I think it has sand in it.
A: Sand in it, you say? Oh, and it's a Sony.
D: Sand in a Sony, did you say?
A: Sand in a Sony!
D: (looking at said Sony) I can see grains of sand in it.
M: Yes, that's what I said. I had it on the beach.
A & D in unison: Sand in a Sony!
Pause for a little dance around the store - no, I made that up but I was expecting it!
D: Do you want the bad news?
M: I think you have already given it.
D: Well, sand is a Bad Thing and Sony cameras can only be repaired by Sony. There is not much hope for it and it would certainly cost at least £180. You see what I'm saying?
A: Yes, it is an old camera.
M: Yes, I suppose four years is old. Although my father's box Brownie is still going strong after 80 years.
A: You could put the money towards a new sand proof camera.
M: Indeed I could. Thanks for your help. I'll go and see what Amazon has to offer.
D: Well you could always try an old sock.
D: Take your vacuum cleaner and fit an old sock over the nozzle, then gently run it over the
camera. It might work.
Here is a picture of the old sock, taken with my ancient but now sand free Sony Cyber Shot camera.
Moral of the tale
Head for the exit without making a purchase and you may well get some good advice!