Yesterday, with the amazing weather we are having, we decided to go to the beach; Camber Sands to be exact. Our trips to the beach usually involve a HUGE amount of katundu in a bag so big that I could climb into, should I want to smuggle myself over a border at any point.
Once camp is set up, I usually implant myself on to a beach chair in the shady bit by the windbreak and Husband gets all ‘manly’ and digs a Freudian trench and enormous sandcastle with the kids. This suits me fine. I like the idea of the beach and I know the kids love it, but adept as we are at getting all our crap together in a matter of minutes, it’s the slathering myself in sun-cream finished off with a sand crust that drives me squirmy. I have very pale skin and burn in a gnat’s sneeze so I have to wear the kids’ factor 200, consistency of sudocrem type stuff which is the equivalent of wearing a sticky wetsuit. Then, because I would never subject the beach to much of my bare flesh, I cover up anyway with a T-shirt and shorts.
Talking of bare flesh, there was an awful lot of it on show yesterday….much of it voluminous, in a bikini/speedos and lobster-red. I hesitate to make further comment, but I am sure that what you are picturing in your mind right now is wholly accurate. And yes, it’s not a pretty sight.
Another beach ‘thing’ that always makes me chuckle is how territorial everybody gets. It reminds me of the scene in ‘Far and Away’ where ‘Irish’ Tom Cruise rides onto the plains of Oklahoma* to stake his claim to a piece of land. Ah, is it just me who remembers that film? Anyhow, you get the idea – Brits laden with pop-up tents, buckets and spades and huge inflatable boats trooping through the sand to get the best pitch. Then (and we do this too) the mallet comes out and the windbreaks are triumphantly secured into the hot sand to peg out our ‘area’. Sometimes I think the men should just pee around the perimeter to properly mark their territory. Should you stray into another’s patch whilst en route to ice-creams, sunglasses are lowered and a glowering stare comes at you suggesting that if I should flip my flop any further I might be set upon by the beach police. The panic of the lady next to me yesterday when her son picked up one of our spades and started digging and the confusion when I said he was welcome to use our stuff and join in was bemusing, but a bit sad really. She was lovely, but clearly my act of ‘share and share alike’ was a new experience for her. Which is a pity.
One thing we always dig on the beach, out of habit rather than necessity these days, is a naughty hole. The beach equivalent to the naughty step. We used to put my son in it after he repeatedly bashed my daughter with his spade/kicked over her sandcastle/stole her shells and buried her crocs so we couldn’t find them for a good hour. It was just deep enough that he couldn’t get out without a bit of help, but not so deep that the beach patrol was dialling the NSPCC. Worked a treat. But never so well as the threat of no ice-cream.
Our day was finished off with a quick trip to the nearby town of Rye for refreshment and a climb of the tower. The sign that tells you to ‘mind your head’ is displayed in various languages. The German literally translates as ‘Make like a turtle’ which always makes me chuckle. Then it was home to shower off the day. There was certainly no need to exfoliate with the amount of sand stuck to my legs and Littlest’s car seat seems to now have it’s very own eco-system going on, but it was worth it for the look on my kids’ faces throughout the morning. There was no place they’d rather be.
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