Off to check out the vegetable patch.
It is busy with things that don’t seem to mind drought, weeds doubling in size every two days, lettuce going to seed, and hidden courgettes morphing into marrows. So much to do and it is too hot for doing it. Time to head to the beach.
Lots can happen at a beach, so here are some tips.
This is Budleigh Salterton. Home to millionaires, and a beautiful pebble beach. It is calm because the millionaires don’t need tourists so there are no amusement arcades, only one fish and chip shop, and nothing to do but sit, stare, and paddleboard peacefully.
That could so easily be me, if I only had a board.
Imagine my joy when somebody else hired one and said I could borrow it. And then, my horror when I tried the effortless kneeling position, and years of not doing yoga came home to roost.
I tried to be supple, balanced and effortless, but then the thing wobbled. I remembered that paddle boarding is about floating on water, which can be scary if you don’t like that kind of thing. So I got off and wandered back to the shore, towing the stupid board behind me.
Then it attacked. Like a shark.
6 inches of water, a four inch wave, and the board rose up and slammed into my leg, crunching against bone and trying to break it. More years of not doing yoga kicked in, I wobbled sideways, made it to 4 inches of water, and it had another go. I fell onto hard pebbles, already feeling sick from the nearly broken bone, and the bastard board pushed me under the water. Now I was about to drown in 3 inches of water, underneath a paddle board whilst friends around innocently thought I was having fun.
I made it out in one bruised bleeding piece and had to sit on the beach eating paracetamol for 20 minutes before I could hobble back to the water and have a normal swim. Yeah. Don’t bother with paddleboards.
Don’t Drive there in the Daytime
In Devon you get the Dover Port experience if you try to get to the beach between 11am and 3pm. It is best to cycle, so you can glide smugly past cars full of dying dogs and screaming children. Or, if you want to take your own screaming children, go in the evening, when the wind has dropped and the water is warm, and everybody has gone home because they have fallen out with their entire family in the queue.
Pretend there are no Jellyfish
It is jellyfish season so you have to swim like they are not there. But it is hard at high tide when excited children are catching them in buckets and bringing them to show their parents. Try to look away.
If you haven’t got any, find somebody else’s. It is more exciting than lying around getting burnt, trying to focus on a book, or wondering what to do next. If you find a child, this can happen.
Me to child. ‘Hello I have come to watch you play’
Child. ‘We are pirates and this is our pirate ship’ Gestures to mound of sand ‘and we are going around in it.’
Me. ‘Oh good. Can I be in it? I love playing pirates. What sort of pirate shall I be?’
Child. ‘Yes you can and you can be the, um, the, um, the. You can be THE COOK! And this is your kitchen’ Shoves me into the galley which is to the left of the mound of sand ‘and you have to be in it and you have to make all the food. So hurry up and make the food because we is all hungry.’
So I set about making some salad and quiche out of sticks and pebbles, which is not easy because it has to look right, and pirates are as fussy about their food as the next child. Then another adult gets jealous and comes to join in.
Other adult. ‘Right what sort of pirate shall I be then?’
Me. ‘Dinner’s ready. It is pretty good dinner actually. Look Salad and quiche.’
Child. ‘I will have dinner in a minute. You can be, um, be, um be be be The CROCODILE!’
Things cranked up then because the crocodile attacked the child’s little sister so everybody was screaming, and nobody wanted dinner, and it was just beginning to get right out of control when things took another turn.
Child. ‘Look look, I found some treasure. Here it is and we have to dig it out. It is a huge chest full of chocolate coins. Hurry up everybody come and help.’
So the crocodile, the half eaten little sister, and the child set about digging up the 300 year old chocolate coins and I realised it is quite hard work being with children because the games go on for hours and hours. I thought it would be 5 or 10 minutes and then they would lie down or something. So I sloped off…
Organise a Synchronised Swimming Team
Boscastle harbour has sparkling water in the finest shades of blue. You can dive straight off the harbour wall, or crawl over jagged rocks to get in slowly. But if you are not a rock climber, diver, or a confident swimmer, it is best to stay out of the water and organise people instead.
This is my team. It took a lot of shouting to get them into this position and you can see that one is not paying attention. I would have to move to Boscastle permanently to get them up to scratch. But at least they tried.
Camp by it
Find a field on the cliffs on a sunny day.
Forget about paddleboards, jellyfish, traffic and pirates and just sit and stare at the sea, or your neighbour re-arranging her tent, or stars at night. Stay as long as it takes to clear your head, or until the weather turns.
You will know when the weather has turned because the driving rain goes straight into your tent, just before the sudden gale blows it away. That is the only problem with cliff camping. But that’s OK because heads clear even more quickly when they are working on packing up in a storm.
Appreciate Getting Home Again
After happy days by the sea it is nice to get back and take a relaxing shower.
Then you will be all ready for whatever project you were half way through before you left.
We still have a bit of renovation going on, so there is always plenty to fill heads if they are empty.