Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Singing in the rain

On Sunday it was my turn for a lie-in. And while Tom was getting it in the neck from Betty downstairs because he had offered her the wrong spoon to eat her porridge with, I was enjoying a peaceful Chocolate Orange breakfast in bed, and trying to decide on a plan for the day.

Half an hour later, Betty was armed with her bucket and spade, Tom with his book, and I with my four beach bags, and we optimistically headed for the seaside. I insisted that we cheerfully sing ‘oh I do like to be beside the seaside’ all the way there, whilst the rain thrashed down, and Betty threw raisins at the back of my head, laughed, and then got upset because I wouldn’t pick them up and give them back to her.

After a two-hour journey, we arrived starving and grumpy. We sought out some fish and chips, and being intent on doing the traditional British thing, I insisted we eat them on the beach. We huddled together behind the beach wall to shelter from the wind and rain and tried to eat them as quickly as possible, while being assaulted by seagulls. Betty excitedly squealed ‘BIR BIR BIR,’ whenever one swooped, whilst I completely freaked out and screamed: ‘They’re going to get us.’ I have a serious seagull phobia.

Meanwhile, Tom was hurriedly trying to eat his huge haddock which I had already given him a hard time about spending our last five quid on – there were no cash-points around and I had wanted to buy Betty something, anything, from the tacky beach shop. All the while I was trying to take photos of us all eating our chips together. I had a go at Tom for pulling an ugly face in every single photo. “I’m trying to eat my bloody haddock,” he hollered back, and with that he ordered me and Betty down to the sea so that he could finish his fish in peace.

It was Betty’s first proper paddle in the sea. I rolled her little dungarees up, put her down onto the sand and off she charged into the water. I was so caught up with taking photos of her that I wasn’t being very attentive and before I knew it she had decided to sit down, but seemingly not bothered by the freezing cold temperature, she was having a wonderful time splashing around. She then got up, and with her giant water-bomb of a nappy causing no apparent hindrance, she started running through the water, giggling and squealing. It was a truly magical scene – just like in the films.

Then Tom rocked up and I tried to get him to take photos of Betty and me holding hands and skipping through the waves, but he seemed more interested in taking photos of a jellyfish. So I grabbed the camera, balanced it on a rock, put it on self-timer and then chased Betty across the beach, hoping that we would be in the shot when the camera went off. Tom was half out of shot in the background, slightly embarrassed, prodding the jellyfish with a stick. I retrieved the camera to have a look at the photo and although both Betty and I were in the shot I was dismayed to see a fat haggard-looking dollop (me) running in a very ungainly manner. These days I am genuinely shocked when I look at photos of myself. I seem to be suffering from a serious case of delusion. 


After an hour of these beach frolics, I felt that it was only fair that Betty be relieved from her wet clothes and the three gallons of sea water she was carrying around in her nappy, and so we headed back to the car to sort her out. I was pretty annoyed with myself to find that in the four large beach bags that I had brought with us, I hadn’t put in a sensible spare change of clothes for Betty, or a spare nappy – only a pretty little summer dress, optimistically packed. But I remembered Betty’s nappy bag, which is normally wedged under the passenger seat and hasn’t seen the light of day for at least six months as Betty only ever poos in the comfort of her own home.

I found the bag and the only clothing I could find within was a t-shirt which had something intensely annoying like ‘Princess in training’ emblazoned across it, a pair of dodgy tan-coloured leggings and a badly knitted homemade cardigan, all of which had been shoved into this bag because I never thought we’d ever need to use them, and were now at least two sizes too small.

After cramming Betty into every item of clothing we could possibly find, including the dress, and squeezing her 20 month old bottom into a fusty size two nappy, we were ready to hit the windy cold streets of the bleak Welsh seaside town. As we walked along, with Betty in her pushchair, seemingly in fancy dress, loudly humming the theme tune to ‘In The Night Garden’ and waving a multi-coloured windmill that I had managed to buy for her from a £1 shop, Tom coolly remarked that he felt as if he was part of a carnival display.

Less than fifteen minutes later, we were back in the car and heading for home.

15 comments:

Suburbia said...

If you hadn't said you were in Wales I would have thought you were the family huddled next to us by the wall at the beach! Our wall was in Cornwall, same weather though!

The Dotterel said...

Same rain, as well. Didn't know you were an ex, Elsie, just like me. Feels great knowing you're not going back in September! And I've got ages to try and work out 'In the Night Garden', which Charlie's just discovered.

Louise said...

What a fantastic trip to the seaside. I was laughing out loud on several occasions whilst reading it. I can also relate to the delusional images. If that had been me, I would have looked the photo and thought... 'oh look, a beached whale on the sand' before realising it was actually me that I was looking at!!
Can I be nosy and ask what beach you were at??? (I am currently trying to find a beach that actually has sand and a half-decent sea that I can let Anna dip her big toe into!!!)

An excellent post... thanks for making me laugh!

Tara@From Dawn Till Rusk said...

You see, there are about four photographs that should be shared in that lovely post. Pretty little girl in a giant inflatable nappy. Pretty little girl in clothes two sizes too small. Grumpy dad eating haddock (I spat my cup of tea out at that one!)

Potty Mummy said...

Ah, those nappy water bombs. They are such a treat, aren't they?

Rose said...

Your photo could be on a vacation brochure--looks like an idyllic time. But I don't think they'd want the true narrative you've given:) Funny story; this is the way our family trips always seemed to turn out.

Mud in the City said...

Those are the sort of family days to remmeber! I'm sure a day of August sunshine, crammed on a beach with every other holiday maker would not be nearly so tangible when you look back on it.
Certainly made me want to be out of the office and on a rainy beach!

Beccers said...

Ahhh the british seaside, perfectly captured!

DJ Kirkby said...

'These days I am genuinely shocked when I look at photos of myself. I seem to be suffering from a serious case of delusion'...ah too funny. You've just described exactly what I experience when I look at photos of myself recently.

Sarah Brooks said...

Oh, I avoid looking at pictures of myself at all cost now! Past pictures I LOVE to see. Although at the time I thought I was hideous... compared to now, I'm a goddess!

I so try to capture "candid" moments that I set up and pose with my kids. Never works.

kirsty815 said...

I love the way you write it really sparks the imagination. I would've loved to see a few more pics..lol I sooo mis fish n chips, wrapped in newspaper, at the seaside on a cold day. YUM! Supposed to be getting a chippy shop here, but it's just not the same. :o(

My hubby growls, much like a dog hovering over it's bowl, if you come near him whilst he has food..lol well maybe not that bad. :o)

A Confused Take That Fan said...

Elsie B - Always love how you try and create a perfect little life for you and your family. I am just the same. Wish I could have seen Betty in her ill fitting outfit with a tiny nappy. Lovely post. Made me smile lots.

Sparx said...

Oh, that just made me giggle. Went out the other day without new clothes for the spud as well and found a paddling pool. When it clouded over and rained I was the Mum carrying the naked baby in the cold through the park. Actually, he was mostly wrapped in my shirt and I won't tell you what I was wearing.

Mom/Mum said...

Loved this blog elsie, but it has left me drooling because of two words - chocolate and orange. together in the same beautiful sentence. Send us one over here will you?!

French Fancy said...

I've discovered you just in time for your blogging retirement - shame. Good luck with the book