Every single time we go away on holiday, we forget to take the buckets and spades for the kids. Their sandpit at home is now jam-packed with all the ones we have had to buy, in every colour and size. This time I was determined not to forget, so asked both girls to go into the garden and choose a bucket and spade each, from their collection, and leave them on the doorstep; which they did.
Our first afternoon on the beach yesterday, we realised that we had packed the buckets but not the spades. 'This is progress' Tom said. I took Betty and Dolly to the carpark beach shop and they chose yet another spade each, and while we were there, on a whim, I bought a massive toy shovel for Tom.
For the next couple of hours, Betty and Tom happily dug and built, Dolly carried unnervingly large rocks around the beach, and I took photo after photo of them all without them even realising, with my large zoom lens - a purchase necessary to get nice photos of my kids, and my husband. Tom accused me of 'papping my own kids' and later when he looked back through the photos he despairingly said it was like watching the afternoon in real-time.
Towards the end of the afternoon, I put the camera away and took part in the beach activities. I noticed that when Tom wasn't doing his Tai Chi to the sea, he had been busy building an extraordinary sand construction- it was a large elevated star shape, totally symetrical,and with cleverly balanced rock towers at each point - a man with a large spade on the beach, and a personal rock carrier (Dolly) is unstoppable. He remarked on how much he loved his new spade. Meanwhile Betty had dug an impressively large hole.
I decided that as the beach was deserted, I would go for a 'run'. But as I headed off towards the shoreline, I heard two hysterical children (mine) running behind me, laughing at my 'funny running'; and they soon over took me, still laughing. The three of us stood at the edge of the sea in the soggy sand. Tom was drawing giant letters in the sand with his giant spade. A gentle wave came towards us, about an inch high, and while Betty let it ripple over her toes, I saw the look of panic on Dolly's face (normally the action hero). And instead of turning around and walking away from the wave, she just fell backwards into the water. A cross, soaked, fully clothed Dolly with a sea-drenched nappy hanging down to her knees, marked the end of our afternoon on the beach. When we arrived back at the holiday cottage, Dolly proudly produced the original spades from the washing machine.