We are standing on the doorstep, Mr B and I, with Team Baldwin, aka Jack and Hazel. This is to be the last of many photographs documenting our Two Centre Holiday 2013 – two and a half days with the Youngest of the
Darling Daughters, followed by the same at our place.
It is only as we are arranging ourselves on the doorstep that I realise I am wearing my slippers. Combined
with my long shorts and manic hair, this is not going to be A Good Look. It is a very good thing that I no longer suffer from the Sin of Vanity.
It was not always
thus. I refused to wear my glasses for years, despite being as blind as a bat. This meant that I frequently walked past close friends in the street without so much as acknowledging their presence. It’s a wonder I had any friends left. It was not
until my mid twenties that it occurred to me how much I was missing. The world came alive as soon as I started wearing my specs full-time.
Over the last
five days, the Youngest of the Darling Daughters has been snapping away and, as usual, the combination of sea breezes, unsuitable headgear and an inability to compose my features means that I will look A Right Mess in almost all of them.
Today we went crabbing. We stole three chipolata sausages from the fridge as bait and, boy, did they go down well with the Crab Fraternity living in the River Arun. We captured
no fewer than 17 crabs in the space of about three quarters of an hour. If only we had snared the dozen or more “jumpers” who escaped our clutches by hurling themselves off our sausage-bait, kamikaze style, just a matter of inches before being
netted – it would have been even more. Jack and Hazel perfected an admirable Crabbing Technique. The man next to us said we would have had better luck had we gone crabbing nearer the sea, where apparently the crabs more or less give themselves
up. “How many did you catch?” he asked Team Baldwin, “Five or so?” He was visibly impressed by our total. “Good crabbing,” he congratulated them. Me, I put it all down to the sausages.
Actually the sausages looked quite gross after being in the water for a while. Because I had been the one to fill the crabbing net with sausage, I felt somewhat unclean. While everyone else tucked
into their Smartie Cookies, the Youngest of the Darling Daughters had to feed me mine in small pieces, as if I was a baby starling or some other small feathered friend. Heaven only knows what passers-by thought of me. The photographic memory of our successful
crabbing expedition shows Hazel proudly displaying a bucket full of crabs, Jack triumphantly brandishing the fishing net - and me, holding up the net containing the frankly obscene-looking remains of our chipolata sausages with a look of extreme
distaste on my face.
After All the Fun of the Fair at Harbour Park and a round of Crazy Golf (the Youngest of the Darling Daughters scored four Holes in One)
we spent our last hour just strolling along the beach at low tide. A man with a fork was digging madly in the wet sand. I thought he was digging for bait until a quite amazing sandcastle rose from nowhere as a result of his endeavours. We were tempted to stand
nearby and take a photo so that people might think we were the architects of this sandy edifice – but, I am proud to say, we restrained ourselves.
of the Darling Daughters took photos of Hazel running out of the sea. Then she took a photo of me, running (sort of) along the sand. What on earth was I thinking of, agreeing to this? No gazelle, me. More like a penguin, if truth be told.
But, hey, does it matter what you look like? Really, truly? We have had a fabulous Two Centre Holiday, and added to our store of Priceless Memories. One day, many years hence, my
grandchildren will show their grandchildren the photos from today.
“That’s our Nan,” they will say, “Just look at those slippers...”