We have just spent a great week on a beautiful welsh headland, but we were completely unprepared for the freak fantastic weather that we had all week. I had only packed waterproofs, furry bear suits, fleece blankets, and woolly hats, none of which we needed. For the glorious days spent on the beach we could have done with, at the very least, some beach towels, and some un-knitted attire.
Betty delighted in building sandcastles, flying a ridiculous postage stamp-sized kite, and trying to catch the fish in the rock pools. She would run around saying ‘where are all the fishes mummy?’ I would say ‘look, there are hundreds just here!’ So she would scream loudly with excitement and go galumphing through the water towards them wielding her little pink net, and then wonder where they had gone. This cycle went on for half a day.
I was desperate to go in the sea but I felt it would have been disrespectful to Dolly to get my boobs covered in sea salt and sand in time for her next feed. So whilst Betty and Tom were jumping through waves I took the opportunity to do some power walking across the beach with Dolly in her pushchair. Although this felt relatively good at the time, that night I realised that as my feet had been pounding the sand, my sunglasses had been pounding my nose, and it looked and felt like I had been punched. My nose still really hurts and I think I may have to see my GP. ‘Injury by walking whilst wearing sunglasses doctor’.
We also went on lots of walks along the Pembrokeshire coastal path, and Betty’s eyes almost popped out of her head when she saw how many blackberries there were. I think Tom, who was carrying Betty on his back, began to get a little weary of having to pick every single blackberry in Betty’s view, give them to her, and then hear an: ‘Ut-oooh Daddy’s purple neck’ from behind. Betty has decided that she doesn’t like ANYTING apart from blackberries at the moment. Throughout the holiday she kept saying: ‘I don’t like the sea. I don’t like lighthouses. I don’t like you. I don’t like cheese. I like blackberries’.
One morning we took a walk down to a little cove which is supposed to be a haven for seals. And sure enough Tom spotted a baby seal lying on the beach. I edged towards him with my camera, expecting him to scurry back into the water, but he just lay there looking at me with big expectant eyes. With my maternal hormones still in overdrive, I felt that he was giving me the same look that Dolly gives me when she needs something. This was a very strange experience for me, because I am not an animal lover, in fact I normally hate them. But this Dolly-esque seal really got to me and I was genuinely upset because I thought that he was injured or had been abandoned by his mother.
Later that afternoon, after the seal incident, Betty and I went on an ‘Aquaphobia’ boat trip around Ramsey Island. Unbeknown to me at the time, of all the boat trips I could have taken her on this was probably the least suitable for a nearly three year old. But the lady in the ticket office gave me a desperate and very hard sell and even told me that the trip would be suitable for a baby ie. Dolly. Thankfully my mother’s intuition kicked in and I sent Tom off for a nice lunch with Dolly as his spectator, on dry land, whilst Betty and I boarded the boat.
The ‘boat’ was actually a pretty insubstantial dingy which had a very powerful engine and motorbike style seats to sit on. Life jackets were thrown our way by the skipper as the boat sped out of the harbour and did a few stunts to amuse the sunbathers on the beach. Betty spent the first half of the hour long trip staring at her feet in total silence. When I asked if she was ok, praying that she wasn’t going to be sick, she gave me a very clipped and brave little ‘yes’. Thankfully during the last half of the trip she had come to terms with being thrown this way and that, and excitedly started pointing out buoys and other boats. It seems Betty follows me in her disinterest of animals - when we saw a little cove with hundreds of baby seals all basking in the sun she was completely unimpressed and got back to pointing out a big red buoy instead. She showed mild interest in a porpoise jumping beside the boat but again quickly got back to her buoy spotting instead.
The trip turned out to be pretty exhilarating and fun but if I had taken Dolly on this boat I would probably have lynched the woman who sold us the tickets afterwards. I also realised that it was perfectly normal for a baby seal to be lying on a beach and would have looked like a complete mentalist townie if I had raised the alarm on the one we had seen that morning.
We only had one bad day where it was windy, rainy and grey all day long. By lunch time, after being cooped up in the small cottage all morning with Betty running riot, we were at the end of our tether. Betty must have overheard either me or Tom saying to the other that we needed a break from her, as she later announced that she needed a break from us!
Apart from that one awful day, we were so unbelievably lucky with the weather and we all had such a amazing time. However, now that we have found our dream destination, I always have to have something to worry about and am paranoid that the owners won’t want us to come back. Maybe because we didn’t do enough hoovering, or because we left pin holes in the window frames, or because we left 7 minutes after the designated departure time?
Tom says I am being silly and of course he is right. I hope.