The Youngest of the Darling Daughters has invested in a magnificent kit which promises to enable us to build a gigantic sandcastle with the minimum of effort. Tools included!
The younger ones - and the Young in Heart - set to filling the giant bucket with sand right up to the very top. Turning it out onto the sand, however, proves to be Quite Another Matter. Eventually someone reads the instructions
which accompanied the kit and points out that we were supposed to fill the bucket from the top down, through a hole secured by a screw cap. We all take turns at unscrewing the cap but it won't shift. We may have to leave it for Another Day.
Yes, indeed, there will certainly be Another Day for this is the Annual Family Beach Day when as many of us as can manage it gather on Littlehampton beach. It's all about family and
fun and going with the flow. There is no fixed agenda, no particular timing - apart from a general idea that we will gather between 11 and 11.30 a.m. and depart after a fish and chip supper. Some like Ben, who was taking part in cricket trials, turned up a
bit later; others like the Eldest of the Darling Daughters and Co, had to leave a little early. In between, well, quite frankly, Anything Goes.
The day started
badly for me when I couldn't coax my car to start. This meant a difficult decision for Mr B as I wouldn't be able to transport his Grandadmobile as planned. Would he be prepared to be without it? In the end it seemed just too much of a struggle so he decided
to stay home. I hated leaving him behind but he was insistent I mustn't miss out.
We were quite a crowd, even without Mr B and the Grandadmobile. All three
Darling Daughters, Our Boy, the Darling Daughter-in-Law and every single one of the Tremendous Ten grandchildren. Plus a couple of boyfriends, my Little Sister and her fella, their daughter and her Trio. I hope you are keeping up? Would it help if I drew you
a Family Tree?
Young Sam and Faris the Rascal bonded over the fact that they were both wearing the same shark crocs. It was the beginning of a Beautiful Friendship.
The older of the Twinkles, Tala, regular readers will recall, refuses to be categorised as a boy or a girl but stoutly declares herself a tiger. We were interested to know what the rest of us were and Tala was happy to oblige: it turned out that we were all
either tigers or “gee-raffs” (giraffes). Yes, I was a gee-raff - it must have been on account of my long neck…
We should, of course, have organised
a team competition - Tigers versus Giraffes - but it didn't occur to me until later. That's the other thing you need to know about Family Beach Day: sometimes we are too busy chatting, catching up, racing after Small Fry to get organised.
For the first couple of hours the sun shone on us. Perfect Family Beach Day weather, we congratulated ourselves, as we munched our sandwiches and passed round “sharing
platters” of chicken goujons, strawberries, eclairs and So Much More. We spoke too soon. As the tide turned, so did the weather. By the time we returned from a trip along the prom, prom, prom at Young Morgan’s insistence, to check our names on
the Longest Bench and to visit the Lion’s Den playground, it was growing distinctly chilly.
Well, we could have given in - but we are made of Sterner
Stuff. Off we marched to Harbour Park where Jack took Faris on his very first ride on the dodgems. “Look at his little face!” said the Middle of the Darling Daughters, “I'm so proud of him…” Jack, for his part, looked mightily
relieved that all had gone well. Mr B, in his absence, had provided the wherewithal for the purchase of sufficient tokens to give Pleasure A’Plenty to his Nearest and Dearest.
I left the rest of the family enjoying their meals in the Harbour Park Café so that I could head back to check that all was well at home. It had been yet another splendid Family Beach Day, I reported to Mr B but we had missed him.
Next year, I told him, whether Tiger or Giraffe, he would simply Have To Be There.