Monday, 30 April 2007

Isabella and me.

Isabella and me.

A blissful beach.

So the grey skies have returned and brought fine, intermittent rain in their wake. Gone for now is the balmy blue of yesterday, with its hairdryer breeze ruffling the trees and fluffing up the waves as they rolled relentlessly towards us on Castle Beach.

Castle is a local beach backed by an imposing granite wall and covered with rockpools beyond which the sea glistens or glowers depending on the weather. Yesterday the waves were lively, scooping up armfuls of seaweed as they built to a fair height for the South Coast, the gleaming crests almost hurting the eyes with their whiteness before crashing onto the rocks beneath. We had arrived clutching pasties (groan- I SO hate sounding like a stereotype, but of course the Cornish eat pasties!)and the tide was already almost full in. The wall behind means that if the tide is high we are generally washed off and so it looked as though we only had an hour or so before it would be time to leave. Off came the shoes, children donned costumes and in to the waves our mer-children went!

All the kids are at home in the sea having spent so many hours either in it or by it. Both Dave and I love to chill out on a beach reading, sketching, snorkelling or just playing with the children, and because the shoreline is so sandy, the sea is generally quite clear which makes it perfect for spotting shoals of fish as you swim. Snorkelling is great, particularly over the rockpools where we duck-dive down to peer under rocks in a race to see who can find something to point out first. The finds are usually quite varied: spiky spider crabs, so pretty with their peachy-orange shells; anemones flowering gaily in the gentle ebb and flow of the tide; a myriad of fishes from tiny sand eels glittering as they dart here and there to larger sea bass or grey mullet which tend to make me jump as they suddenly appear in the perameters of my mask.

However, yesterday was too rough for such things and the waves begged to be jumped over or run away from. Isabella and I played at the edge, the icy water making her shriek as I dipped her toes in and out. We all walked to my favourite part of the beach where the sands narrow down to a tiny strip and the shells stack up where the tide unceremoniously dumps them against the rocks. Our house and garden are full of this shore treasure collected by us all over the years, every room having saucers and jars overflowing with little yellow and orange flat-winkles, bits of sea-smoothed glass in many colours and a huge variety of shells of all shapes and sizes. In amongst the gravel in the garden lie yet more shells, the broken edges mingling with smooth pebbles and bits of driftwood, and pieces of smelly seaweed drying out till I can stand it no more and relegate them to the campfire. I watched as Lucy stuffed handfulls of 'bits' into her trouser pockets and mentally made a note to remember this when they went into the machine later for washing.

As we headed for home and a lovely roast dinner I thought how lucky the children are to live in Cornwall where a trip to the beach can be an off-the-cuff outing such as today's. Nowhere in this county are you ever more than thirty miles from the coast and usually it is much less, which means that a visit does not need to be an all day experience with the attending hassle associated with such trips. We often pop down for a swim after school or meet Dave there after work for a picnic tea, lighting a small driftwood fire to warm ourselves by as the last of the sun slips away and we are left in the shadows watching the sky unroll its night-time blanket. What could be better?

Have a lovely day all x

PS. The piccy is of me and Isabella yesterday x

Saturday, 28 April 2007

Just a quickie!

Hello everyone - just a quick blog to say hi and goodnight! It's the first chance I've had to nab the computer since posting my blog on Friday, the one that appeared like some egotistical, self-important piece of drivel on the main page by accident.

Well, the trip to collect my gorgeous stepson, Elias, went better than was expected. Yes, the sun blazed down and the drive was slow due to the huge numbers of people descending on Cornwall for the weekend; yes, Isabella did sleep for a bit on the way up, thus ensuring she screamed for most of the drive back; and yes, I was ready to kill the apparently long-suffering Dave when I finally got home a good four hours of hellish motoring later only to be met at the door by said Dave dressed in the apron I made him for Christmas (out of extremely high-quality ticking bought at a bargain price from a market) - he had not only made the dinner for the gang, but had a bath run for me complete with essential oils and candles, towels warming on the heater and a large glass of cider close to hand. Bliss!

While I wallowed in the warm, scented waters clutching my glass in one hand and Wuthering Heights in the other, I listened to the muted sounds emanating from the rest of the house: Dave chatting in baby-babble as he fed Isabella her tea, she giggling delightedly and he relaying the events of his day in the same sing-song tone he uses to sing nursery rhymes; Sam, Elias and Lucy playing in one of the bedrooms, Lucy shrieking hysterically at whatever nonsense the boys were telling her and ACDC playing in turn with Frank Sinatra on the CD player (an eclectic taste in music, our bunch, due to us I'm afraid - they can sing along to Louis Prima, are best friends with Billie Holiday and can share a tune with Dean MArtin as well as they can with Nirvana!

I listened to this mixture of sounds, the edges taken off by the barrier of walls and doors, and thanked God, the fates or whatever else it was that saw fit to give me the life I have, full of these wonderful, if sometimes annoying, people. I had been indulging in a little envy on the journey home, the lengthy waiting in slow-moving queues affording me plenty of opportunities for thought as Elias dozed beside me, his gentle snores providing a pleasing counterpoint to Isabella's frequent shrieks from the rear. His mum had been telling me about her plans for the weekend, all of which had sounded easy, restful and carefree to my tired ears (yes, they truly are tired as I have had problems with ear infections on and off for weeks). Somewhere in the back of my mind a tiny, envious voice whispered about how long it is since I had had a break with Dave, how long it has been since we had only ourselves to think about and how easy it is to be fun when you don't have to deal with so many others' needs. How shallow is that? Sitting in the bath and hearing the day-to-day goings on of the family, I knew I wouldn't swap with anyone.

The rest of the weekend has been relaxed and restful, but I truly am too tired to write more for now (plus I know I am sounding smug when I don't mean to. I'm sure it won't be long before I am moaning about life yet again!).

Night all xx

Tuesday, 24 April 2007