Sunday, 5 August 2012

The Beach Myth

A visit to the beach is supposed to be an enjoyable, exciting family day isn't it? Holidaying close to several beautiful beaches last week, I had the opportunity to make some beachy observations.

1. Sand is not always fun. Sandcastles, hole digging, the hilarity of burying people (especially if you give them boobies) is clearly not for the faint-hearted. One particular boy (who will remain nameless) spent at least an hour of the beach trip attempting to keep his hands sand free. He would not play in the sand or even sit on the sand. If, by dreadful mistake, he managed to attract a few snippets of sand onto his hands he would sigh, shrug those shoulders of attitude and make the long journey back to the sea to wash the sand off his hands. I discovered that ignoring was the best policy, and soon enough he was playing with the others again.

2. Wetsuits are a necessity. Unless you happen to be on the beach during the week long yearly heatwave, British beaches are windy, chilly places. At what other time would you dress with so few clothes on and expect to be warm? Once the wetsuits were wet and the boys had left the icy seas, they became rather cold. The cold turned to moaning, blue lips, shivering, goosebump covered bodies and eventually grumpiness. It took all of our efforts to keep up their spirits and all of our clean towels to drape around their apparently hypothermic bodies.

3. Children continue to be themselves, despite our expectations of a lovely day out.
Here is a conversation between a nephew and his mother which took place within an hour of arriving at the beach(and if you know them, you can try to guess which nephew):

Nephew: I've finished playing now Mum, I want to get dressed again.
Mother: No, not yet. If you get dressed you won't be able to go in the sea again, or play in the sand again.
Nephew: Well, I don't want to go in the sea again or play in the sand.
Mother: What if you decide that you do want to?
Nephew: I won't. I'm definitely not going to be playing in the sea again or in the sand. I want to get dressed.

This conversation continued for a good hour, while said Mother ignored the protestations of "Muuuuuum, I won't play in the sea again. I just want to get dressed!"

And it's a good job she did ignore them, because a couple of hours later the child who had decided they weren't going to go in the sea again picked up a body board and, with glee and relish, spent another half an hour splashing, body boarding, smiling, laughing, jumping and playing the sea.

4. The sea air that is so good for us, is also rather windy. Despite having erected a windbreak, the aforementioned boy (point 1) spent a great deal of time attempting to create windbreaks with dinghies, body boards and other beach paraphernalia. Unfortunately, for his windbreak to remain upright against the hurricanes blowing in from the ocean, he had to stand in the wind to hold it in place, thus defeating his object.

Having said all that, we did manage to have alot of fun and make some great memories. Just be warned, trips to the British beach are not the idyllic family day out that we all believe. Or perhaps it is just my family who don't sit eating their sand filled sandwiches in the sunshine, radiating smiles and joy.

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