Wednesday, 3 October 2007

Beached Betty

Betty, Tom and I have recently spent a week in Tenby. On the afternoon that we arrived, I excitedly threw Betty into the pushchair and went charging down to the beach, whilst Tom was finding somewhere to park the car. I practically ran down the concrete slip-way leading to the beach, building up momentum as I went, and went whizzing off across the sand towards the sea, Betty squawking like a baby dinosaur all the way.

We got to the water's edge and watched the waves, and I pointed out Caldey Island, and told Betty how it was a very special place to me, as, coming from a Catholic family, it is where we used to stay as guests of the monks every Easter. I am in no way Catholic, but I did have great aunts/uncles who were nuns and monks. I went into a dreamy daze, and felt myself relaxing, breathing in the sea air, and feeling nostalgic and safe. Betty humoured me for a while, and smiled at the waves, and Caldey Island, but pretty soon she started sighing and giving me that ‘I’m bored with this malarkey’ look. So I turned the pushchair round and started heading back towards the café, which was on the edge of the beach.

Once we had gone across the hard wet sand and reached the dry sand we got stuck, and still had a good 25 metres to go. I frantically pushed, but the wheels just dug into the sand further and further. It wouldn't have been so bad, but there were lots of people watching me, who had also witnessed me thoughtlessly running onto the sand in the first place. I pushed, and struggled, and puffed, and sweated, and all with a false grin on my face so that people might be fooled into thinking that I was enjoying myself, and that I wasn't really stuck at all.

Betty started to fret, so I gave her a breadstick to try and keep her happy until we made it off the sand. Betty wolfed it down in record time, just leaving a tiny crumb that she decided she wanted to play with. Of course, she kept dropping this bloody crumb and each time, unless I found it really quickly in amongst her chewed holey blanket (that I had lovingly knitted for her when I was pregnant), she would have a massive tantrum. She kept this going for a good few minutes, but then unfortunately she decided to eat the crumb, and then got very upset because it was no longer there to play with.

At that moment, a big hairy tattooed bloke approached me and asked me if I needed help getting off the beach. For some weird, stupid reason I refused his help and told him I was fine. He gave me a slightly amused look and then walked away and sat back down next to his family, and they all continued to stare at me. I gave them a big smile and wave, and at the same time I noticed that they had a toddler sitting in the sand, drinking, what looked remarkably like tea from a bottle.

I bent down next to Betty and pretended to point out some seagulls to her, biding my time, and trying to work out a way out of this embarrassing situation, whilst at the same time trying to get over the whole 'toddler drinking tea' thing. I discreetly got my mobile out and tried phoning Tom, with the intention of telling him to get down here right away and rescue us, but his phone was turned off. I started to blame him for the whole situation.

Eventually I figured out that I should pull the pushchair backwards. This was slow work but eventually I got us off the sand, to the applause of the ‘tea’ family, and made it to the café. I was too stressed out to actually go into the café though, and instead I ran back to the holiday cottage, through the streets of Tenby, with an angry Betty, who had still not forgotten about her beloved crumb.