Monday, 30 April 2007

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


  1. Pipany, I am so envious! I love the sea and I do so love Cornwall so the combination is pretty magical. That was a lovely evocative descrition of your day. I spent all my childhood holidays on the East coast, lots of dunes but few rockpools, so I'm discovering the joy of them via my children! Look forward to seeing you and Isabella when the pic gets sorted! x

  2. Sorry, me again. I only just caught your blog from the other night - you are so right, it's so hard to take time sometimes just to appreciate what you've got. i am trying so hard to do that at the moment, when worrying about money and envying other lifestyles. Dave sounds a bit of a star!

  3. What a glam picture - fit for a magazine. What a joy to be so near the coast - we all want what others have dont we. We are all the same really. I now h ave beach envy with you - chair envy with Sally. Always someone richer and thinner my old mum used to say.

  4. Envy meter going crazy up here too! Lovely. Have taken a big happy sigh and imagined I'm there too!

  5. Pipany, what a lovely blog, the day sounded so perfect and your description was so beautiful. Good to catch up.

  6. fab blog, fab picture, fab day. used to camp with kids in cornwall and your blog brought it all rushing back.

  7. What a beautiful picture! Photographer (Dave?) did a wonderful job. It sounds as though you really appreciate your good fortune in living near the water, and know how to make the most of a lovely day.