After school Monday at the beach

Summer is rolling towards us like a beach ball and today we enjoyed one (of hopefully many) impromptu after school trips to the beach.

Charlotte flying a kite 'to the stratosphere'

The back of the car is being transformed into a shrine of beach worship with all the essential ingredients for impromptu after school visits. Buckets, spades, towels, changes of clothing, hats, sunscreen, sunglasses, insect repellent… and then there’s all those optional extras; frisbee, beach ball, pocket kites, boogie boards.

Sand residue in the tub will become common place. The car upholstery will be covered in sand on an almost daily basis. The loads of washing will increase as towels become a must have commodity. I will become adept at packing an impromptu picnic of half healthy food and filling water bottles for every child at a moments notice (or risk them living off fish ‘n’ chips and ice-creams for half the summer).

Royal wave from Alice to Sophie

And there’s the unforeseen emergencies that a visit to the beach always presents, such as a kite suddenly being lost from a child’s grasp and flying over the seawall into oncoming traffic, risking a very upset child and a car crash! Thankfully Frances was on hand to help rescue Sophie’s kite today and avoid a collision. Sophie’s kite lives to fly into the stratosphere another day (yes I am channeling Mary Poppins as I write).

Pocket kites to the stratosphere

Sometimes the dramas can be on a smaller scale, but to the individual a mountain of emotion… itchy legs from sea salt, an insect bite, sandy chips, sand in the eyes, a sand-castle knocked down, sand art walked on, a special feather or pebble discovered… and then lost, a sharp shell trodden on, sand too hot, too windy, too sunny… someone needs the toilet, someone’s thirsty or hungry, someone wants to paddle, another wants to stay on the beach or head to the playground… it’s not always easy to please everyone all of the time.

Today though, was a great after school beach visit (apart from the momentary blip with the kite).

And baby Alice, at 9 months this week, was one very happy beach babe. She crawled around in the sand, with not a peep of complaint. She absolutely delighted in digging in the sand like a puppy dog making her mark. She had sand everywhere and tasted surprisingly little this time round (here’s hoping she’s a fast learner). She even had a dip in the sea with no tears, only giggles at what must have seemed like an awfully large (and cold) bath.

Alice, sand loving beach baby at 9 months

I’m proud to say we did get home in time to cook up a healthy dinner (but failed miserably in avoiding the pull of the ice-creams and chips – oops – must try harder!).

Very good news: The girls were so flaked out with all the fresh air that they fell asleep by 7.30pm!

I am heading off to bed now with the thought that I have a bag full of sandy towels that I really should have unpacked this evening… but hey ho, tomorrow is another day (and I must get my Christmas cards written and sent to the UK by 22 November economy air deadline!).