So it probably was a mistake to make ALL the rolls for our Family Beach Day lunch yesterday. What on earth possessed me to think it was a good idea to provide for 18 people, of all ages, sizes and taste in sandwiches when
everyone would have been perfectly happy to prepare their own?
Old habits die hard and I have been preparing the picnic ever since we started our Annual Family
Beach Day ever so many years ago. However this was our biggest turn-out yet so a re-think might have been called for.
Still I had two of my Little Welsh
Boys to help me. “We are Nanna’s Little Chefs!” Sam announced. He and James drew the kitchen stools up to the work surface and set to with a will to peel hard-boiled eggs, butter rolls, and fill them with cheese slices and / or wafer thin
ham. What they lacked in culinary skills and finesse, they more than made up for in enthusiasm.
With the help of my Little Chefs (great name for a restaurant,
that, I wonder if anyone has ever thought of it?) we were in the car by 10.15 a.m. and on our way to Littlehampton. Excellent timing, as it turned out, as two of the Darling Daughters arrived at more or less the same time, as did my lovely niece
and her family. After unloading the cars, it was off to the beach in a slow procession – slow because everyone was talking at once, sharing their news – as if we didn’t have the rest of the day to natter.
What a great day we had! The Water Babies – Hazel, Amy and Eleanor – had to contend with Hazel’s Dad, the aptly named Uncle “Dunk ‘em” Dave. The Sandcastle Builders did what they do best, and built
castles, boats and other sandy edifices. As the tide receded, we upped sticks and moved further down the beach where there was space a–plenty for a rip-roaring game of cricket. The England team would have done well to take a leaf out of our book.
For me, the best thing about the day was having all four of my own off-spring and seven of my eight grand-children all together on one beach. That’s no mean feat,
let me tell you – the last time we managed it was last August on our Family Holiday to celebrate my retirement.
Competing with each other for the prize of
Most Photographs Taken in One Afternoon were the Youngest of the Darling Daughters and my Brother In law, Baz. Whichever way you turned, one or other of them had a camera snapping away merrily. We will be thankful in the future that they applied themselves
so assiduously when we look back on their record of our perfect Seaside Day. From frolics in the sea, to our fish and chip supper sitting on the harbour wall at the end of the day, nothing, but nothing, was missed.
As the self-appointed Architect of Family Beach Day, I loved just people watching. My lovely sister Maggie chatting to the Eldest of the Darling Daughters, the Darling Daughter in Law, and Uncle Dunk ‘em Dave –
all people she doesn’t see very often. Hazel and her second cousin Amy wandering off for a catch-up chat and having fun posing with the hats in the seaside gift shop. Jack playing tennis with Amy’s brother, Young Jay – he clearly recognised
a kindred spirit. Katie helping the littl’uns collect stones in their sea-side buckets. Sam, James and Ben playing “Special Agents” – Ben was apparently the “baddy” which meant continually getting locked up in prison (a
sea-weed covered groyne.) Baby Faris refusing to go to sleep in case he missed a single minute of Beach Day.
You want to know, don’t you, if my picnic
rolls went down well. I have to say that they were well and truly trumped by my sister’s delicious flap-jacks. Then the Eldest of the Darling Daughters made the most spectacular ever arrival at a Family Beach Day, making towards us across
the sand, carrying two trays of Totally Delicious Doughnuts. As an entrance, it was pure theatre. There is no way a ham roll, however painstakingly buttered and filled by one of Nanna’s Little Chefs can compete with that.
Except that there is nothing competitive about a Family Beach Day. Just love and fun and being together.
I’ll settle for that.